Although rather less than happy at having to stick by someone like a shadow, Jess made sure to remain close to Roxy as she hauled one of the bags in. From what she'd heard, they'd only have to be like this for a month or so, then their bond would strengthen, allowing both of them a little more freedom.
Just their luck that the only thing they seemed to have in common was that they both valued freedom - which, right now, they were taking away from each other.
Once inside, she looked around, taking in the open area. "Well... This is quite a change," she commented, heading towards the stairs in the centre of the main room. "A welcome one." She instantly knew she'd spoken without thinking again. She'd just gone and hinted at how distressing her time in that tiny little cabin had been. Roxy probably already saw her as some helpless weakling, and what she'd said wouldn't change the anchor's view any. Lapsing into silence again, Jess began her way up the steps.
Jess looked away. So much for not being a nuisance. She'd only known Roxy for a few hours - just around two, in fact, the clock on the dashboard revealed. Was her sense of time really that skewed? In any case, from the short amount of time she'd spent with her, she already knew it was next to impossible not to annoy the other woman.
She remained quiet as Roxy drove along the lamp-lit street. Memories of how overwhelming the city had once been came back, but with the anchor around, the difference was remarkable. She was sure she still felt flickers of emotion from passers-by, but nothing unbearable, nothing bombarding her from all around. Roxy's steady seething, though, set her on edge as it crept into her mind.
As the van pulled up, Jess looked out in surprise at the garage. This wasn't what she'd expected - and certainly wasn't something her family would approve of. Even so, it was a welcome change from that tiny little hut.
"Thanks. I'm alright getting most of it, though," she said, climbing out of the van and stretching out her cramped legs before heading over to the back and hefting out a suitcase.
"Alright then, if you're brave enough!" Sophia stood up, trying not to grimace at the flares of pain. She forced a smirk. "I'll prove that battle earlier didn't mean anything! And quit fussing, I'm just fine." Despite her words, she swayed a little as she left the room to find a suitable one for a battle. The injuries from the ambulance wreck were acting up, and she still had a slight headache from yesterday, but she refused to show any more weakness.
Despite the bravado, her stomach tightened with nerves. She had to win this. Otherwise, there'd be no end to Oscar's preaching. And that would be three losses in a row.
It was time to show him who she was supposed to be.
Say something, Jess nagged herself as minute after wordless minute passed. She'd never been this awkward before, but back then she hadn't lived in seclusion. Besides, Roxy wasn't exactly the easiest person to talk to.
It was Roxy who broke the silence as the lights of the city came into view. The city, a familiar sight even though everything had changed. As the purple-haired woman mentioned food, Jess thought it over. "Uh... I'm ok with just a sandwich," she replied. Maybe she should be having more to celebrate her first day back in society, but she figured Roxy would want to grab something quick so as to get the journey over with, and she wasn't going to be unnecessarily demanding.
She wasn't all that hungry, anyway. A mix of excitement and nervousness fluttered in her stomach. After all these years of being cut off from the world, she could now re-enter it - but adjusting to this new life wasn't going to be easy for her or Roxy.
"I mean, not right away!" Jess hastily added, as soon as she felt the twinge of anxiety from the other woman at the mention of driving lessons. "Maybe once we're, uh, more used to this. To living this way."
Her gaze drifted to her knees. Was she going to say anything that didn't sound stupid, or that wasn't going to piss Roxy off? Those jeers from school replayed through her mind. Jess the mess. She couldn't let herself be a mess any more. Raising her head, she looked out through the windscreen at the road stretching in front of her and Roxy, leading back to society. This was a chance to make a new start, and she had to take it - in a way that the anchor would be alright with.
"Oh, hey Nyxx!" Amber called as the red-haired girl trudged past. "Yeah, feel free to come along." It would be understandable if Nyxx just wanted to sleep, but the option to explore was out there in case another of her sudden bursts of energy happened.
Amber turned back to Rachel. "You're the first person to say that, people usually say I spend too much time around fossils. But yeah." She could easily shrug off such comments. Coral, on the other hand... That was a different story.
The researcher looked over at Aedre. "Togepi, huh? Cute little Pokemon there - and one that not much is known about, considering how rare it is," she said, watching the little Fairy type toddle along. "Said to bring good luck. I wonder what kinds of gems and fossils we'll find with her around?" She was half-joking, but it would be an interesting theory to test, if the Togepi and her trainer were ok with it.
Her expression became pensive as she returned to the subject she'd brought up just now. "Anyway... I just wanted to know. If a loved one wanted to know how you were doing, and things hadn't exactly gone smoothly, how would you word it? Especially if you didn't want to put them off being a trainer themselves?"
She couldn't take away the dream Coral was holding on to. She just couldn't.
"W-Why would I be afraid of them?" Sophia straightened her back, wincing as a bruise on her shoulder made its presence known. "But we did say we'd help each other out... So I guess we'll have to."
As Lan left the room, Sophia turned to face Oscar. "And... And besides! It'll be a chance to remind you what a skilled battler I really am!"
She immediately wished that, in her eagerness to compensate for the weakness she'd just shown, she hadn't let the words slip. She'd just gone and challenged him. After two consecutive losses, no less. Was she about to make the situation even worse?
No. She wouldn't. She'd shut up that smart aleck. There was no backing out of this.