(2021-02-14) Canoodling ... FOR SCIENCE!
Canoodling … FOR SCIENCE!
Summary: Karina and Marcus decide to do some very science-y research together.
Date: IC Date 2021-02-14
Related: 2021-02-16: Maybe the Opposite Sex Isn't So Terrible After All
Scene Runner: N/A

(OOC Warning: It gets a little mushy at the end.)

Ares/Athena Lobby Coral Springs
Sun Feb 14 10:18:51 PM, 2021 — Sun Feb 14 19:18:51 2021

This is the lobby of the Ares/Athena residence hall. The walls are nearly 2 meters (6 feet) thick, and that there are no windows wider than 10cm (about 4 inches). For all that, it's cheery and bright inside, lit with high-quality LED lighting. The travertine floor is covered with warm rugs, there's a fireplace with holographic fire when it's on, surrounded by comfortable La-Z-boy overstuffed sofas. At the other end of the room is a hallway leading to the girls' halls, and stairs and an elevator leading to the boys' halls upstairs. There's also a counter, staffed 24x7 and post office boxes. The defensive turrets in the room are carefully hidden, as are the blast doors that can close to protect the residents. There are rumors of defensive turrets, too, but if they're there, they're cunningly hidden. The lobby's cream paint is accented with Ares blue and Athena red trim, and the emblems of both teams are prominently emblazoned on the wall.
So, it's Singles Awareness Day, and Marcus has been feeling like quite an ass for most of it. He'd avoided being in public for pretty much the entire day. Except, he /had/ to clean the lobby after the little Valentine's Party somebody decided to throw, cuz that was part of his detention. So, he sat quietly, all by himself, sitting on a sofa against the wall, staring out the little slit that counted for a 'window' in the lobby and generally sulking, obvlivious to the world.

As for the rest of the lobby, there are a handful of students about. A pair of couples, sitting together and talking. Others who are not so lucky (or are they!?), simply taking advantage of the opportunity to eat chocolate and drink punch at a table that is adorned with such. There's also a smattering of Valentine's decorations all hung quite properly around the area; a clear sign that it was probably an Athenian who set it all up. Way too organized and orderly for anything from Ares.

The lobby is perhaps a space that Karina has avoided thus far through the day. It's Sunday, and she's stayed at the school through the weekend. It's only once evening has passed that she's ventured bare foot down the stairs and into the lobby. She's wearing a pair of jeans, and a purple sweater. She pauses at the bottom of the stairs, lifting her left hand to place it against the wall as she starts to head further into the lobby. A red envelope is in her right hand, along with the bundle of rods that make up her cane. She's ignorant of the decorations since she's unable to see them, though she can smell the chocolate and the punch that sit out for folks to help themselves to. She doesn't head for either of those. Lowering her left hand from the wall, she moves the envelope to that hand before flicking her cane to have it snap together so that she's at least less likely to bump things that have been moved for the festivities.

Of course, since Karina's not the only one in the area, there are other people who could also move things out of her way, or offer her directions, or whatever. In fact, at least one of the kids calls out a hello to her and asks how she's doing, but otherwise, the kids seem rather focused on their own situations tonight. Marcus, notwithstanding, who doesn't budge or even seem to register hearing a name he's been avoiding to the best of his ability. Nope, just staring out the window at the snow falling.

It's always possible or others to help her, though she hasn't come to know a lot of the other students as of yet. At the greeting called out to her, Karina smiles as she stops, calling out a light hello in turn, answering that she's doing well and politely asking after them in turn. She doesn't hear the familiar voice that she was hoping she would. And past experiences have led her to the presumption that he would make himself known to her as he's always done so. It's only after that first question is answered that Karina will ask about who else is here.

She's given a brief rundown of the kids present, though Marcus is not in the list given. Nope, nobody's paying attention to the kid who's not being sociable for a change. Marcus shifts on the soft, turning sideways and putting his feet on the couch like his mom never let him do, as he pulls his knees up to his chest so he can rest his chin on them. He sighs, quietly, lost in his own thoughts, largely ignored by everyone. Until the kid who'd been talking with Karina adds, "Oh, and I guess Marcus is here, too, but he's being weird and sitting by himself over there. He didn't even grab any snacks!"

Karina tilts her head a bit to one side at the rundown that's given to her, giving a small nod afterwards. Her brow furrows a little bit when Marcus isn't in the initial list, and she thanks the other student. Her ears catch the sound of someone moving on the sofa, but she's not able to tell who it is that's there. When the student who'd been helping her adds Marcus to the list, her expression clears, and a smile comes to her features before she gives a nod. "Oh! Thank you, that's who I was looking for," she admits, a bit shyly. Since she doesn't hear other voices from the direction of the sofa, she starts to head in that direction, hoping that her hunch is right. Though it's only once she's near to the sofa that she stops, then brings a hand to rest on the arm of the sofa. "Marcus…?" she says softly. She can't see that it's him, so… she aims for verbal verification.

"Yeah?" Marcus replies as he turns around. And as soon as he sees it's Karina, he starts, flailing a little and then almost falling off the couch, before catching himself and scrambling back a little, towards the other side of the sofa. "Oh! Um … /hi/, Karina! Shoot. I mean, um … I … uh … oh hey, it's getting kinda late, huh? Where did the day go? I probably have some homework I should get done …." Lucky for Marcus, Karina can't see the fact that he's looking around frantically for an exit, and his hair doesn't make nearly as much noise when he moves now that he's taken the cornrows out.

There's a smile that comes to her features as she hears Marcus's voice, and she brings her cane closer to herself. She rests one of her hands atop of the handle, and she tilts her head a bit at hearing him scramble a bit. "Hey," she offers with a smile. "I didn't catch you at all during the day, so… umm… here, this is for you," she says softly, ducking her chin a little bit. She offers out the envelope towards him. His name is written in the top right hand corner — it's not the neatest printing, but… it's her own, done by feel. "It's okay, if you have to go… I understand," she adds, though she sounds a bit… disappointed?

"… for … me?" Marcus asks, bewildered. He stares at the envelope for several seconds before he reaches out and takes it carefully. "… what is it?" he asks, because he's an idiot, as he stares at the awkward writing of his name. "… did you …? … how did you even …? … did Keyson …? … you're not … mad at me?" Finally, with the last question, he looks up at Karina's face, his own still full of shock and awe. He was not expecting to see her, let alone to receive something besides a good tongue lashing from her. And she /wrote/ his NAME!?!? To Marcus, this, most definitely, is A BIG DEAL(tm).

"Mmhmm, it's for you," Karina repeats, a smile touching at the corners of her lips. She waits for him to take the envelope before she brings her other hand to rest upon the one already atop of the handle of her cane. Boys can be so oblivious sometimes! "You'll have to open it and find out," she comments, a touch of amusement to her voice. One of her eyebrows quirks up at his onslaught of questions, and she giggles softly. "I have an app on my phone that will scan things like that and read back what they say. I'm not mad at you. Why would I be mad at you?" she asks, curiosity to her voice. Then she slips a hand into the pocket of her jeans, taking out a small piece of jade that's been shaped into the form of a kitten sitting with its tail wrapped around it. "This is for you, too," she adds, reaching her hand out towards him to offer it so it's sitting on her palm.

"… well … because! … Keyson was upset … I figured you'd be mad at me for upsetting her," Marcus says, still amazed that he hasn't had lazers pew-pew his brains out yet. And then she has … a … cat? Marcus blinks some more, staring, until it's maybe a little uncomfortably long, before realizing he should reach out and take the gift. So he does. And then he's staring it in /his/ hand. "… a cat?" he asks, confused. "… what's all thi- …," he trails off, as a glance around the room tells him the answer to his question before he manages to finish it. "… ah shoot," he says, drooping and smacking his forehead. "You really wanna give me all this, after I was a jerk to Keyson?"

The girl considers that for a moment, and then she gives a nod. "Keyson was upset, that's true. But that was because you said Sebastian was stupid. And I understand her being upset for it. She likes him. Like if someone said that you were stupid then I'd probably be upset because you're my friend," Karina says in a thoughtful tone. "I'm not mad at you for it. You should apologize for it, but I'm not mad at you. And she was better before she and I parted ways," she adds, a smile coming to her features. She was almost to the point of asking if he didn't like the little cat, but then he did take it. "Mmhmm. Just a wee one, though. It's not much. I… thought it felt cute and that you might like it. It's a stone of some kind," she says softly. She bought it simply by feel. Lifting a hand, she brushes a bit of hair from her face. "I really want to give you these things, yes. You weren't intentionally a jerk. You weren't trying to hurt her. You just… maybe need to filter a bit," she comments with a bit of amusement, a smile coming to her features.

"… but Sebastian /is/ stupid," Marcus stresses, frowning. He settles back a little, making room if Karina wanted to sit down. "I know she likes him, but that doesn't change the fact that he's a dummy. And I wouldn't want you to get mad if somebody said something about me, if it was true. Like, I know I'm weird, and rowdy, and …," Marcus pauses, realizing he could probably go on quite a while about the things people would say about him. "Well, anyway. I just don't understand how she /like/ likes him, when he's not very friendly and thinks he's smarter than everybody and knows more than everybody." And, withouth consciously knowing it, Marcus has been staring at and fidgeting with the jade cat the entire time he was talking.

"I'm not saying he is and I'm not saying that he isn't. I don't know Sebastian well enough to argue the point, I've only met him once," Karina says, tilting her head a touch to one side. She moves a bit towards him, reaching out one of her hands to feel the couch before she sits on it, tucking one of her feet beneath her as she does. "I don't think you're that weird. And you are a bit rowdy, but that's not a bad thing," she says, raising an eyebrow slightly and looking sort of towards him. She moves a bit, then starts to fold down her cane in order to bring it to rest in her lap. "Maybe she just likes him. That's as much as she said, anyways," she says in a thoughtful tone. She reaches a hand out towards his knee, to give his knee a bit of a pat. "It would make me mad if someone said something about you that wasn't nice, that was negative," she says in a soft tone.

Marcus glowers and sulks, messing with his cat some more. "Well, /I'm/ saying his dumb," Marcus insists, harumphing a little. He watches as Karina sits, making sure he's not in her way at all. "And I'm pretty sure she like likes him. I've got a bunch of notes about it in my first adventure notebook. Though, I haven't seen them together as much, since I haven't been hanging out with Sebastian." When Karina reaches out to touch his knee, he looks down at the affectionate pat and then back up at Karina. He frowns a little, considering, then moves to open the envelope she gave him. And he's /very/ careful not to damage the part where she wrote his name.

"Mmhmm, I know that you're saying it," she says softly, a gentle note to her voice. She gives his knee a bit of a squeeze, then withdraws her hand back to her lap, letting it rest atop the bundle of rods that make up her cane. "She might, she might not. I'm not sure. I decided not to make a thing out of it or press her about it. I hope he liked the coupon book that she made for him," she says, a thoughtful tone to her voice. Other than the spot where she'd written his name, the envelope is plain red and it's blank. It's not sealed. Inside the envelope is a Valentine's Day card. She wrote at the top 'For my friend, Marcus ~'. And it has a non-mushy card message inside of it that's probably fairly typical for Valentine's Day. And she signed her name (it ended up on a slant), too, and marked the year in the bottom right corner of the card.

After looking at the card, Marcus relaxes and smiles softly. Then, he blinks and his eyebrows go up. "Oh shoot! Daggone it," he exclaims, frowning again and shaking his head. "I didn't get you anything, Karina. I'm sorry. I guess I didn't even think about it." Yeah, he's not happy with himself over that. "… what would you like? What should I get you? I ain't never really done Valentine's Day on purpose, before. Just, like, when we had to make cards for /everybody/ back in elementary school and stuff."

There are sounds of the envelope being opened, and Karina presumes that he's looking at the card that she'd chosen for him. She'd intentionally picked one that was aimed for 'friends'. Lifting one of her hands, she brushes a bit of hair back from her face. Then she raises an eyebrow slightly at his revelation, and she giggles softly before giving a shake of her head. "It's okay, Marcus. You don't have to get me anything. You've probably had a lot on your mind, what with the detention and all," she says softly, a smile touching the corners of her lips. "I've… never done Valentine's Day intentionally either. I mean, other than being in elementary school and the teacher saying everyone has to, but I figure that doesn't count. This is more the first time that I've actually had a choice," she says, ducking her chin just a little bit.

Marcus nods in agreement quite usefully when she shares a similar memory as his. And when she mentions it being the first time she has a choice? He gets a goofy little grin and chuckles like a dope. Yuk yuk yuk. But, that last little chin duck, the way she only kinda-sorta smiles …. Marcus goes from looking goofy to looking suspicious. He peeeeeeeers at Karina, since she can't see him do it, then looking down at the cat, and the card, and her hand, which was just ever so recently touching his knee …. Marcus squints for several seconds, then hmphs. "Time for science!" he announces and starts to rearrange himself on the couch. He explains, "You can't see TikTok, but there've been all kinds of videos today and so now I'm curious and I'm gonna do a little experiment." Within a couple seconds, Karina will be able to tell that Marcus is moving MUCH closer, one hand on the back of the sofa as he leans in, getting all up in Karina's personal space ….

All elementary students have likely been through the mandatory Valentine's Day cards situation. She tilts her head a little to one side, looking towards him at that dopey chuckle that he delivers, a flicker of curiosity showing in her features. One of her eyebrows quirks up, sincehe's being a bit on the quiet side, and that's sometimes a suspicious thing where he's concerned. Then there's the announcement he makes, and she blinks a little bit. "What science are you studying today?" she asks, curious. She can hear him shifting about there on the sofa, near to her, but she's not sure what he's doing. "Okay…? What sort of experiment are you doing and why do I have a feeling that I'm part of it?" she asks, curious and a touch amused at the same time. Her tongue flicks out, brushing over her lips, and she doesn't seem to mind him being in her personal space, interestingly enough. "Am I allowed to move if I want to, in this experiment?" she asks, giving a little giggle.

"Yes, absolutely. You should move however you feel compelled to. /That/ is the point of the experiment," Marcus says. Once he's gotten himself shifted so he's on his knees and able to lean in, he'll close the distance and move close enough that his nose just barely almost bumps hers. And then, he will much more quietly (since he's closer!) say, "… experiment begins … now." And then, he'll stay there, watching her reactions, trying to catch anything he possibly can. … in all reality, it /does/ look like Marcus is actually experimenting, even if it's terribly unscientific. But he's apparently intent on catching her reaction.

"Mmm, okay, that's good to know," Karina says, quirking a smile. She might not be able to see him, but… she has a sense of his closeness. And though he might not bump his nose to hers, she nudges just that little bit in order to bump her nose to his. It's intentional, but she might not admit it! And she gives a small nod, when he deems the experiment started, a smile quirking at the corners of her lips. She shifts just a touch, to lean just a smidge towards him whilst still not touching (unless he moves too!), and she tilts her head a little to one side. "Have you tried this experiment with anyone else?" she asks quietly, curious. Her breath has a bit of a minty smell to it, in case he notices or is inclined to notice.

"… nnnnnnoPe!" Marcus replies. The nose bump makes him crinkle his nose a little and look down at hers, but he doesn't pull away or move closer. After a moment, he frowns just a little. "Crap. I think there's supposed to be a song playing …," he realizes, but then shrugs and shakes his head just a little, which causes him to bump her nose back. "Oops! Sorry." And then he starts focusing again, this time so he can actually count in his head. Gotta know when to stop the experiment, after all! But she does smell nice. And this is as close to her as he's ever gotten. But wait a minute, she doesn't know how to kiss, either. Does that mean the experiment doesn't have a point? And he doesn't know how to kiss, so he's definitely not going to try. Wait a minute, how long had they been like this?

There's a giggle at his answer, and then she gives a nod. "Fair. No one's ever had me help with experiments before," she says, a flicker of amusement to her voice. "It's okay that there's not a song… it means I can hear you," Karina says quietly. It might be a strange thing to say, but… she listens not just to what he says, but how he says it, the rise and fall of his breath, and the sounds of him moving in those little ways he has. She lifts a hand from where it had been resting on her lap, with the intention of lightly touching one of his cheeks. If he lets her, she'll find her hand to be soft and warm, her touch light. She won't let it linger before lowering it back to her lap, though. But she'll let a moment or two pass before she nudges forward to give his cheek a kiss, unless he moves or stops her. Entirely intentional, and her cheeks pink afterwards.

Yup, he lets her. In fact, when her hand touches his face, Marcus nuzzles it /juuuuust/ a little. Mostly cuz there's not space for more nuzzling with her face RIGHT THERE. But, then the hand is gone and it's just their faces again and Marcus fighting valiantly to keep his mind focused on the science and his mind valiantly losing in a landslide to the overwhelming signals being bombarded by his body. And then she kisses him on the cheek! He lets it happen, then stiffens a little, then moves back to a more comfortable position. He stops, considering, watching her blush, and then looking up to the ceiling as he contemplates. "… /huh/," he finally decides, impressed by his discovery slash realization.
(New BB message (5/126) posted to 'Cookie Notices' by Cookie System: Top Cookie Earners For 02/14/2021)

The fact that he nuzzled a little against her hand is an experiment all it's own! There's a smile that tugs at the corners of her lips after he does, but she doesn't say anything. After the kiss to his cheek, she tilts her head a little to one side, studying what she can sense from him, and she half bites the inside of her lower lip a little bit. And one of her eyebrows quirks up at his 'pronouncement' that is… entirely unenlightening! She blinks a little bit, then reaches out one of her hands to poke his leg. "What are you 'huh'ing about?" Karina asks quietly, curious. "Is the experiment over?" she asks, having noticed that he moved.

Marcus grins like the cat that ate the canary. Then, he reaches over to poke her in the leg, teasing, "Did you want it to keep going?" He then giggles a lot, stupidly, rocking against the back of the couch a couple of times, before trying to wipe his face clean of the smirk. "Okay, okay. We can try again …," he tries, but he can't stop the grin. "Okay, okay, for real." And he at least manages to stop the giggling. … for a few seconds, anyway, because as he moves closer, the giggles are gonna start again.

The grin might not be seen, but she can hear it in his voice. She tilts her head to one side, and then she draws up her other foot to be beneath her so that she's sitting cross-legged on the couch. She scoots a bit, ending up a touch closer to him. "What was the experiment to determine?" she asks, curious. "And… well… that depends? Did you have the experiments answer? It's result?" she asks, wondering. He didn't say what the experiment was for, after all. Her tongue flicks out, damping her lips, and she gives a small nod when he agrees that they can do the experiment again. "Why are you all giggly all of a sudden?"

"Oh, /totally/ got the answer," Marcus says, snickering. And then he ahems and tries, once again futily, to wipe the smiles off of his face. "You kissed me on the cheek!" he states. As if that were meant to be an explanation or something. But then Karina's shifting to sit cross-legged, which would make him leaning in even /more/ invasive, and he hesitates, settling back again. "I got /my/ answers …. I just thought it wasn't fair if you had questions still if I just quit. That's all."

There's a blush of colour that creeps to her cheeks after he states she kissed his cheek, and then she gives a nod. "I did do that, mmhmm," Karina admits, almost a little shyly. "Was that a bad thing to do?" she asks, raising an eyebrow slightly. "I mean… that wasn't… weird or anything, was it?" she asks quietly, ducking her chin a touch. She shifts a bit, setting her cane aside on the arm of the couch, and she tucks her feet beneath her so that she's kneeling instead, her rump settled on her heels. Then she reaches out a hand to poke his leg again.

"… what? … I MEAN! No! … er … no, it wasn't /bad/. I just … I mean, I didn't expect it, is all," Marcus tries to explain. And now that he doesn't have cornrows in, she can hear him nervously scratch at the back of his head. He looks over at her, and her blush, and the way her cheeks dimple when she smiles, and he can't help but snicker again, which frustrates him so he lets out a little growl and swipes his hands over his face multiple times. "Sorry, I'm trying to stop, honest. I don't know why I keep laughing. I'm not laughing at you, I swear."

"Oh! Okay, so long as it wasn't a bad thing, then," Karina says, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips. She lifts a hand, catching a curl and tucking it away behind one of her ears as she ducks her chin a touch. "You're being very giggly," she says, quirking a bit of a grin. She lifts one of her hands to one of his cheeks, if he lets her, giving a light pat there before her fingers move towards his hair, which has her leaning a little closer to him. "Mmm, I believe you that you're not. Though it does make me wonder just what's put the giggles into you," she says, amusement to her voice.

Marcus will once again lean into the hand, which he also allows to move to his hair. "Hmmmmm," he wonders aloud, managing to keep the giggles at bay for the moment. "You're the first girl whos ever kissed me outside of my family. Like, /ever/," he expains. Maybe that's why he' giggling? As she leans in, he shrugs his shoulders up helplessly, but then relaxes, totally watching her as she leans closer. Nope, he's not gonna close his eyes, especially since neither one of them know what they're doing and he wants to make sure at least somebody is there to see it. Whatever "it" happens to be.

Maybe that's why she's blushing, too? "You're the first boy… well, the first person… outside of my family that I've ever kissed the cheek of," Karina says softly, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips. Her fingers lightly move over his hair, to get a feel of it, then move along the side of his head, past his ear, and down the back of his head. To get an idea of the length of his hair, simply because she wants to and… he seems to be letting her. She'll catch a bit of his hair between her thumb and first finger before giving it a bit of a tug. "Your hair is longer than I thought," she says softly, a bit sheepishly.

It's also curly and tight and much longer than it naturally rests, when Karina pulls on it. Normally, it's a small afro surrounding his head. But there's actually several inches of hair there, and it feels like he probably takes decent enough care of it, too. No kinks or knots rapidly discovered. Marcus sits still while she feels his face, his hair, his ear, the back of his head. "Well, it's gotta be at least a little long to braid," he admits, quietly. He then smiles and reaches his own hand up to touch the bottom of her jaw, his thumb gently stroking to the side of her lip. "You don't ever smile all the way, your lips just twitch like you /wanna/ smile, but you're holding back. … you shouldn't," Marcus says, completely and totally just meaning her smile, even though it could possibly be misconstrued in other ways.

It's different than her hair. It's a thing that she had been curious about, before, but never done anything about. "Why did you take the braids out?" she asks, curious. She notices the lack of kinks and tangles and such, and she notices that it has the feel of healthy hair. "From what I can tell by feel… you have nice hair," Karina says softly, the blush in her cheeks renewing. "I… imagine short would be hard to braid. Braids put in by feel can turn out a little bit quirky," she says, a smile returning. When his hand lifts to her jaw, she's momentarily caught off guard by the touch, but then she leans into it a little bit, her way of indicating that she doesn't mind his touch. The blush in her cheeks deepens, and she raises an eyebrow slightly. "Mmm… I'll have to try to let my smile out more often. At least when I'm around you," she comments, giving a soft giggle.

"They were coming out, so I undid them. And … with detention and everything, I haven't really felt like putting them back in," Marcus explains. Then, he chuckles softly, grinning. "My pops says I got that 'good good hairruh,'" he quotes, adding an extra syllable to the word hair. And then he gives her jaw an affectionate squeeze before letting it go. "You should. You're cute when you smile. Plus, I might smile big enough for the both of us, but it makes me look funny when I"m the only one doing it," he teases.

Karina tilts her head slightly to one side before she gives a little nod to him. "That makes sense. Is it very unruly, when you leave it free?" she asks, curious. Her fingers lightly slip from his hair to softly brush the nape of his neck before she withdraws her hand in order to bring it back to her lap. "Sounds like you got lucky with it. I inherited curls," she says softly. Not that he couldn't see the curls on his own! She leans a little into his touch, exhaling a breath over his hand in the moment before he releases her. Then she ducks her chin, her cheeks blushing even more. He thinks she's cute! "Then maybe I'll have to see about doing it more. Even if it's just so you don't look funny," she teases in turn, giggling.

"I mean, not being covered in mud or with my clothes all ripped to shreds would probably also help," Marcus admits, grinning. "And if I don't pick it out and put in the leave-in conditioner, yeah. My hair can be a mess." Then, he reaches up to pull one of her curls out of her face and to tuck it behind her ear like she always does. "Curls that always get in your eyes," he comments, smiling softly. And then she's turning pink, and Marcus can't contain his snicker. "Your blushing. It reminds me of how you looked after the tickle fight. You were so red. But, you were smiling, then."

Karina giggles at his words, and she gives a nod. "That would help! Though I can't see any of that, anyways," she comments, grinning. "The bane of curls," she adds, lifting a hand to poke his leg. "Mine just gets a little poofy, sometimes," she says softly. When he catches up one of her curls, she lets him, and the blush renews in her cheeks. Again. "Mmhmm, they do that. Or they tickle at my cheek or my jaw. Sometimes it feels like they have a will of their own," she says softly. There is, at first, a little quirk of a smile at first, but then more of one at his comment about the tickle fight. "The tickle fight was fun, I enjoyed it," she says in a warm voice. Lifting a hand, she pokes his leg. "Maybe it'll happen again," she adds, giving a little giggle.

"Pft. /Maybe/ she says," Marcus quips, rolling his eyes. And then, because she practically begged for it, he reaches forward with both hands to tickle at her sides. He won't attack as mercilessly as normal, this is just a brief volley to remind her to be careful what she wishes for. But, he'll at least try to get in some good tickles in the meantime, since she's sitting on her legs and not able to use them for defense. Although, so is he, so it's not like he's got any tactical advantage there.

There's a giggle from her, and she pokes his leg again. "It's probably more than just maybe," she says with a grin. When his hands come forward to find her sides and tickle her, she gives a squeal and a squeak and then giggles. Karina leans back, ending up bumping the arm of the couch, which causes her cane to roll off the couch to the floor. He does, it would seem, get in some good tickles on her. Even though he can't get to her feet. She tries to fend him off a bit with only one of her hands, and then she uses her other hand to try to reach for his side to tickle him back.

It was only a little tickle, and Marcus is content to yell, "Truce!" before she can get him back for his sneak attack. Of course, that's if she lets him, since it's already been determined that he is definitely weak to tickles. But, if she doesn't press him, he'll lean forward instead and retrieve her cane from the floor, bringing him /that/ much closer to her after she leaned back. He then presents the cane back to her, mentioning, "this fell." Did he /mean/ to get that close to her when he was grabbing the cane?

Karina gives a little giggle at his call for a truce, her smile bringing dimples to her cheeks. Then she gives a nod, lifting a hand to aim for lightly patting his cheek once. "Truce," she agrees, giving another giggle. She doesn't press him with any further attacks, and she raises an eyebrow with a bit of surprise when he leans over her to reach past the arm of the couch to the floor to retrieve her cane. It brings him very close, and each breath is touched with the scent of him. Her cheeks blush, and she lifts a hand to lightly touch his side — not tickling, just letting her hand rest there. And she's quiet a moment, even after he's retrieved and presented her can, which had her lift her other hand to lightly brush her fingers as she accepted it from him. "Thank you… I didn't hear it fall," she says softly. Then after a moment, she adds, "You smell nice."

Marcus settles back, after he's retrieved her cane, setting it back on the arm of the couch again. And she says he smells nice? That makes him smile and preen just a little, even though she can't see it. And it takes him maybe a couple moments too long before he realizes that he's laying on her and she's kinda folded backwards and can't possibly be comfortable! "Oh shoot, my bad," he says quickly, as he scrambles off of her and back to his side of the couch. His brow furrows a little, as he tries to figure out why the heck he stayed there so long, when he was probably making her uncomfortable. In fact, he realizes, he's done a /lot/ of goofy, dumb things since she's been around. His brow furrows a little worse as he looks to the floor, as he becomes aware that any type of higher brain function, in general, is just so much harder when she's around. Now why the heck is /that/ happening?

It's a true thing, he does smell nice, even if it's not intentional. She doesn't seem uncomfortable at all, and she doesn't try to get him to move, so it's possible that she didn't mind him being leaned over her as he'd been. She giggles softly, then gives a little shake of her head. "It's okay. If I'd needed you to move then I could have tickled you, truce or no truce," she says softly, amusement in her voice. She waits a moment after he's scrambled off of her, and then she easily sits up. Her cane is tucked between herself and the arm of the couch, and she lifts her hand to brush a bit of hair from her face. And then he's turned quiet, and she tilts her head a little bit to one side before leaning forward to lightly poke his leg nearest to her. "What're you thinking?" she asks softly, curious.

"Huh!?" Marcus asks, snapped out of his reverie by her 'sudden' question. "… what? Thinking? Nothing! Nothing …. I wasn't really thinking about anything," Marcus says, scratching the back of his head and trying to compose himself. And then, once he's done that, he frowns again and decides to just ask. "Karina … … … do you find it harder to think or concentrate around me?"

His initial response makes her blink and tilt her head a bit to one side, looking towards him. Her tongue flicks out, damping her lips, and she raises an eyebrow slightly. "Oh… okay, it just seemed like you might have been. You were being all quiet again," Karina says, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips. She can hear him scratching at his head, and she shifts her position a bit, settling more comfortably. She half bites her lower lip at his question, which makes her now turn quiet whilst she considers if that does, in fact happen. And her brow furrows a little bit. "Umm… well… I hadn't really thought much about it, before… but… it does seem like it's a thing that happens," she admits, ducking her chin a little bit. What it means, however… well, that's something she starts to puzzle on now that he's pointed it out!

"So it's /not/ just me!" Marcus declares, relaxing. "I mean, I didn't even realize it until just now and I was worried maybe it had something to do with my alien stuff. But I'm /so/ glad to hear I'm not the only one," he says, breathing a deep sigh of relief and smiling. "See, /that's/ why I wanted to do that experiment! Because in the videos online, when the two people got super close like that, they almost always started kissing, but we didn't. Well, I mean, you kissed me on the cheek a little, but that's different. … kinda. Well, I mean, it's not like, full on making out or anything. Which is what they do in the videos. But, being close to you like that /definitely/ does something!" Then, he pauses and considers, before shaking his head. "I still don't get it. I dunno why so much stuff with you feels funny or feels different than I'm used to." Then, he grimaces and glances over at Karina. "You don't think we've got a crush, do you?"

"Well… I didn't realize it was thing that was happening until you asked and made me think about it. It… had somehow ended up escaping more immediate notice," Karina says softly, chewing a little bit at the inside of her lower lip. "I… hadn't thought about it, before. Does your alien stuff make you distracted?" she asks, curious. She raises an eyebrow slightly, listening as he speaks, and she blinks a little bit. She licks her lips a bit quickly, ducking her chin a little bit, and she reaches out a hand to bring her fingers to rest on his knee. "Marcus…?" she begins, a bit uncertainly, perhaps a little bit hesitantly, "When you were that close to me… during the experiment… did you… want to kiss me?" she asks. The dangerous questions that teenagers can get bold enough to ask! She tilts her head a little bit to one side, and then she lifts one of her shoulders in a bit of a shrug. "I don't know…? I mean… I know what a crush is, but… I don't know what one feels like. I've never had one before," she says softly, a bit shyly.

Blink. Blink blink blink. Uh-oh. When Karina asks if he'd wanted to kiss her, Marcus's brain BSODs. He'll need a moment to reboot. Which totally means he misses the last bit she says about being unsure if she has a crush or not. /Did/ he want to kiss her? He'd been so focused on the experiment …. … did he? /Did/ he? … did /he/? No matter how many ways he repeats the two words in his mind, the answer isn't forthcoming. And so, once the operating system is back up and running and he's logged back in and everything, Marcus blinks again and looks down at the hand on his knee, and then over at Karina. And then he ducks his head way down between his shoulders and feels his cheeks get super warm. "Um … I … don't really know. It was … an experiment. … I was focusing really hard, so … I dunno?" he offers, sheepishly.

The stalling of his brain is practically audible. But she doesn't push at him, and she doesn't poke him to make with giving the answer faster. She gives him the time that he needs to suss out the answer to the question. She tilts her head a little to one side at the tone of his voice when he finally does answer, and she gives his knee a gentle squeeze of her fingers. "Not knowing is okay, Marcus," Karina says quite softly, a little smile tugging at the corners of her lips. "You were running the experiment, so… it makes sense that you'd be focused on it. On what I was doing, rather on what you wanted to do yourself," she says softly, a thoughtful tone to her voice. She slips her hand back from his knee, bringing her hand back to her own lap instead.

Marcus looks down as her hand withdraws, then up as she settles back, thoughtful. And now she's not saying anything, and that sets Marcus's brain into panic mode. Did she want to run the experiment again? Did she want him to want to kiss her? Did she /not/ want him to want to kiss her? WHY ISN'T SHE SAYING ANYTHING ABOUT IT! She's fine with just not knowing? How could she be fine? Marcus wasn't fine! He suddenly realizes that he doesn't know, either, and now there's another thing he doesn't know! He hates not knowing stuff! There's a slightly audible smack as Marcus facepalms and shakes his head, and then he flops backwards on the couch, sighing. GIRLS. Feh!

The truth would be that she doesn't know. She doesn't know if she wants the experiment to be run again or not, and she doesn't know if she wants him to want to kiss her. There are a great many things that she doesn't know. She looks down for a moment, to where her hands rest on her legs, even though she can't see them, and then she lifts one of her hands to brush a bit of hair from her face. When he facepalms, she lifts her gaze towards him, and she tilts her head a bit to one side. "Why did you smack yourself?" she asks, curious and leaning towards him a bit. Boys aren't any easier for her to understand than girls are for him to understand!

"/Because/! I totally thought the experiment was a success and it turns out it was the complete and total /opposite/," he whines, leaving his hand covering his face. He sighs again, shaking his head. But, then the tiniest of smiles forces its way onto his face. "You know, I'm really glad we're friends, Karina. I think … I'm pretty sure … well, I just don't know anybody else who wouldn't be peeved at me at some point by now. So … thanks?" he says, looking across at Karina from between his fingers, before covering his eyes with his hand again.

Shifting her weight, Karina scoots closer to him, until her knees are touching his. Then she reaches out a hand, placing it upon his thigh, just above his knee. And she leans closer to him, leans over him where he's flopped backwards. "So… when an experiment isn't a success, is it given up on?" she asks softly, a smile tugging the corners of her lips. "I'm glad that we're friends, too. You haven't done anything to make me peevish, but… I promise to tell you if you do," she adds. She lifts her other hand, reaching towards his face and finding his hand there, which she gives a gentle squeeze to before gently pulling aside, if he lets her. Her fingers move from his hand then to his face, and she lightly moves her fingers over his cheek, to his lips, where one fingertip traces his lower lip. She keeps her hand there on his face, and she lowers closer to him, until she can feel her breath on her hand there. At that point, she gives a small nod. "Close your eyes," she says softly, a whispering hint of amusement to her voice.

When Karina shifts on the couch, closer, then touching him, Marcus moves his fingers so he can see again. Then, she's coming even closer! His eyes get wide, as she does have a point, but …. "… well … /no/, but … it's … you already know …," he trails off, growing quiet. He lets her squeeze, then remove his hand, which hesitates a second before going back to her side and resting there gently. She's got every last bit of his attention, now, as he watches her, feels her hand on his face, her thumb gently stroking his thick lip. And then she wants him to /close/ his eyes!? But how is he supposed to see what's happening!?!? IT'S SCIENCE! After a hard swallow, he just nods and actually does as she asks, closing his eyes even though he's /so/ tempted not to. His heart has started racing again, pumping fast enough that a normal person might be concerned. But, his breathing is stilled, just barely enough as he waits to find out what she's going to do. … well, other than drive him crazy, anyway!

As his hand moves to rest at her side, there's a small smile to find the corners of her lips. She can sense that the full of his attention focused on her, and her attention is as equally upon him. Her thumb lingers on his lower lip, and she moves her hand from his face in order to place it on the couch next to him. And she moves her face just a little bit closer to his, her breath warm and soft on his skin. "You don't need to see for science. You can feel. You can listen," she says quietly, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips. "With your eyes closed, you're in my world now. In the darkness where I live," she adds, her voice still quiet. And she's quiet for a long moment, half biting her lower lip. She can hear and feel the beating of his heart, and she doesn't seem concerned at all. "So… your turn… move or not… it's up to you," she says quietly, her breath still having that hint of mint scent to it. Her turn to run the experiment, so to speak. "Keep your eyes closed," she whispers, close enough that her nose nearly touches his.

When she gets close to /him/, Marcus tenses up. He's frozen for several seconds, as his breath catches and he doesn't move. Move? Or don't move? He does finally unfreeze, biting his own lower lip as he smiles, his other hand coming up to stroke the side of her face and into her hair. "Who wants to move? This is kinda nice," he murmurs as the hand on Karina's side slides up to her back, gently running over the fabric. "You smell purdy."

That his breath catches is a thing that she hears, and she tilts her head just a touch to one side. Just enough to put her nose on a slant from his rather than directly opposed to his. She holds herself still, above him, so very close. Warm and soft, shifting a touch to be leaning a little against his chest. She softly presses her cheek to the touch of his hand against her face, her eyes open and unseeing, her world made up of darkness and of him. "As nice as after the tickle fight?" she asks quietly, a small smile tugging at the corners of her lips. Her cheeks blush at his compliment, and the tip of her nose very lightly touches his cheek.

There's a very soft 'mmm' that sounds deep in Marcus's chest as she lets herself lean down on him. He's quiet for a second, then murmurs, "Different nice." His hand on her back traces slowly, very softly, up and down the fabric of her shirt. As her nose brushes his cheek, he smiles again and takes in a deeper breath, shifting just a little. And, as he shifts, his lips brush dangerously close to her skin, which makes him bite his lower lip again, keeping it out of the way. … his lips are kinda big, after all. Gotta be careful with them in close quarters! The hand that was in her hair gently snakes in further, the silky feeling of her curls brushing over his knuckles, soft and full.

Softly, she remains there atop of him. It's not entirely unlike when he was doing his experiment, and yet… it is different. "Different nice is good," she says quietly, her voice near a whisper in volume. The touch of his hand to her back feels different than touches she's familiar with, but it's a different that's nice. He's… warm beneath her, comfortable, and she can sense the strength that is within him. While one of her hands remains resting upon the couch next to his side, she moves her other hand to rest at the front of one of his shoulders, her fingers lightly brushing along his collarbone. Will he kiss her? Karina doesn't know! Does she want him to? This, she also doesn't know. She holds close to him, without moving to kiss him, for this is her experiment of him. There is a little sound that comes from her at the feel of his fingers in her hair, her curls tumbling over his hand like black silk, and though he'll not be able to see it if he still has his eyes closed, she closes her eyes.

Well … he won't /not/ kiss her. As Karina settles her hand on his chest and seems to enjoy the gentle touchings on her back and in her hair, Marcus stops chewing on his lip. Instead, he decreases the distance between them even further, brushing his lips along her skin. And, since it's already been established as permissable, he plants a soft, but slow kiss on her cheek, his lips lingering for a second before he settles back. And, because it's Marcus and the need to know is killing him, he cracks one of his eyes open so he can judge her reaction. HE HAS TO KNOW!!! But he doesn't say anything, and, after spying her reaction, he'll close his eye again. He just needs to confirm the look on her face afterwards and he'll be good. Has to be good.

When he closes what little distance there is yet between them, to lightly brush his lips to her skin, her cheeks flush with a warm blush. The blush deepens when that touch of his lips becomes a kiss to her cheek, and she half bites her lower lip for a moment before a warm smile comes to her features. Still blushing, she ducks her chin a little bit before drawing back a bit to be able to rest her head at the front of his shoulder. She… isn't entirely sure what to make of the kiss that he put on her cheek, but… she didn't -not- like it. Karina's breath falls at the side of his neck for a moment, and she lingers there. "I… think you might have taken around the same amount of time as I did, but… I wasn't counting. I might have been a little bit distracted," she says quietly.

There's a low chuckle and Marcus tucks some curls behind Karina's ear. "It was a hard decision to make!" he says, quietly, grinning. "But, you already kissed /me/, and it was nice, so I thought the /least/ I could do was kiss you back, since you got me a card and a cat and a kiss." And then, he chews his bottom lip for a second, before nudging her softly with his shoulder. "So … since we're such good friends and everything … do you wanna try, like … an /actual/ kiss?" he asks. And then he quickly adds, "As an experiment! An experiment, I mean. Cuz … like … we're both into investigations and science … and stuff?"

"Mmm…. I know. It wasn't an easy decision when it was my turn and I wasn't even sure what the experiment was to prove," Karina says softly, quirking a grin. She lightly pokes at the outside of his shoulder, giving a soft giggle. "So you were just paying me back, eh?" she suggests with a good amount of amusement, giggling again. "It was the cat that did it, wasn't it?" she adds, teasing him. She shifts a little bit, moving just a touch so that she's more laying on her side sort of on him and between him and the back of the couch. One of her eyebrows quirks up at his suggestion, and she half bites her lower lip for a moment as she considers it. "So… just to find out if kissing is or isn't actually gross and eww?" she adds, lifting one of her hands to brush a bit of her hair from her face. They did talk about kissing not that long ago, and make certain determinations about it. "You forgot to mention adventures. I checked the bushes, by the way. Nothing was different than the last time we were out there," she says softly. Her tongue flicks out, damping her lips, and she lifts her head from his shoulder, to look roughly towards him. Then she lifts one of her hands, her fingers lightly brushing over his chin first before one of her fingertips softly touches his lower lip again. "You would… really want to?" she asks quietly, a bit shy and sheepish.

Marcus chuckles at the mention of the cat and rolls his eyes. "Oh yeah, it was totally the cat," he teases, sarcasm through and through. She reminds him of their previous talk about kissing and he swallows. He starts thinking about it …. And then she mentions the bushes and he blinks. "Oh man, you did? Really? Aww man, that's awesome! Thank you! See, now we know that nobody is tending them, so the next thing we need to do is find out if there's like a secret bunker underneath or a hangar or …," he trails off, as she gently touches his face, his lips. He got distracted, and now he's distracted all over again. As her fingers play over his lips, he puckers them, kissing her fingers gently, letting her feel them. "… I mean … I dunno," he says, his shoulders raising again, likewise sheepish. It would seem that now he's chickening out, too. Jumping through the trees at full speed? No problem. Man-eating dinosaurs? No problem. Kissing a girl he's finding he likes? Absolutely terrified, apparently.

"Well, my Mom always said that it's the little things that count, so it had to be the cat," Karina says, a teasing note to her voice. Then she gives a soft little giggle. She gives a little bit of a nod to affirm that she did check the bushes. "Mmhmm. I didn't have to get all up close and personal with them to check, either. It was a pretty easy thing to do," she adds, a smile tugging at the corners of her lips. "You're welcome," she says softly, smiling. She tilts her head a bit to one side, one of her eyebrows quirking up. "I don't think there is one, but… we can check! I have an idea for how we can, too… maybe. Unless you're claustrophobic. Then it's not such a great idea," she says, ducking her chin a little bit. And there's a smile that tugs at the corners of her lips as he kisses her fingers. And she keeps her hand there, shifting a bit and moving so that her face is above his, again. "Do you still have your eyes closed?" she asks softly, curious. Her fingers lightly brush away from his lips then before withdrawing her hand to his chest before she softly touches the end of her nose to his nose.

"Nope. I'm not scurred of nothin'," Marcus assures her, contrary to recent evidence. He watches her and smiles at her reaction, watching the way her lips refuse to go into a full smile again. He chuckles again, softly, and then it's his turn to quirk an eyebrow as she shifts. "… I didn't, but I can close them again," he says, doing so. And then her nose is bumping up against his, and he smiles, flexing his nostrils, making the tip of his nose move /juuuust/ the slightest bit against hers. "What do you not want me to see coming?" he asks quietly, licking his lips and settling back on the couch, supremely comfortable with a Karina comforter draped over him.

"Mmm, good. Then I'll show you a little something that I can do, the next time we're out in the back field," Karina says quite softly, giving a small nod. It's not just bits and pieces of the earth that she can move or throw around, after all. "You don't have to close them again if you don't want to, but… it seems sort of fair, in a way? I can't see anything that's coming," Karina says softly, a bit of amusement to her voice. She wiggles her nose a little bit after touching her nose to his, a soft giggle escaping her. She tilts her head a little bit to one side, half biting her lower lip. "Are… you nervous? That I might do omething you might not like?" she asks softly.

"… I know, but!" Marcus whines about closing his eyes. He sighs again, shaking his head minimally. And then she asks if it's cuz he might not like something and he shakes his head again, bumping their noses together. "No! No, I just …. … ugh. You know me. I wanna see everything. But you asked real nice, so I'm keeping them closed. Promise. … besides. You haven't done anything yet that I haven't liked, so I'm just gonna trust you."

There's a soft giggle from her when he whines, and she moves one of her hands to trace a single fingertip along the shell of his ear. To be able to feel what his reaction is, since she has no way of seeing his reaction. "Mmm… you know, sight is over-rated," Karina says with some amusement, winking at him. "You don't need to see everything. And your other senses will work better when your eyes are closed, y'know," she adds with a smile. She trusts that he does as he says and has his eyes still closed, not that she'd know otherwise! And she fidgets just a smidge, chewing a little bit at the inside of her lower lip. "I trust you, too," she says quietly. Then she goes quiet for a long moment. Waiting? Perhaps! Another moment passes in which she's quiet, and then she nudges towards him just enough to give a chaste little brief kiss to his lips. And then she blushes, half biting her lower lip and ducking her chin.

The light touching of his ear causes Marcus whole body to shudder, as he shifts a little. "Sorry. That almost kinda sorta tickles," he explains, sheepishly. And then she tells him why he should keep his eyes shut and he doesn't argue. He lays there, one hand running up and down Karina's back, just snuggling for a moment. … and then it happens. Karina's lips are touched to his. And, of course, he opens his eyes, but then he squeezes them shut right away cuz he promised! There's several seconds after the kiss where Marcus just does nothing. And then his megawatt grin returns. "That … was actually nice," he murmurs quietly, settling back on the couch again. "Can we try it again, maybe a little longer? Just cuz I wanna make sure I know what it feels like," he asks, sheepishly.

"Mmm, sorry… I didn't mean to tickle, that time," Karina says softly. Other times, she totally meant to tickle him. And she might try to remember it for future tickling attempts. She has no way of knowing that he peeked, but… since he did, he may have noticed that she didn't think to close her eyes. She can't see, so… it's not a thing that crosses her mind to do. She gives a little bit of a nod, shyly quiet. "It… was," she admits quietly. She hadn't been expecting that, perhaps. Kisses sound eww and gross on pretty much every tv show or movie that they happen in. Then she tilts her head a little to one side before giving a little giggle. "So… for science, eh?" she asks softly, sounding a touch amused. She goes quiet for a long moment, which might make him doubt for a moment if it will happen again let alone for longer. But then, she lightly touches the end of her nose to his, very briefly, before bringing her lips to meet his for a still brief but not as quick as the first had been, chaste kiss.

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