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Mel furrowed her brow, any semblance of a smile disappearing off her face. Her mostly eaten banana shifted from her left hand to her right, and then found its place back in her backpack again, in a pocket where it was less likely to smear over everything. If she thought really hard, or even not that hard at all, she could guess why Maxim had left. They all had different priorities. The guy was nice enough, but he had just wanted to read his book in peace, or go somewhere he'd forgotten to go, or avoid being witness to a murder. She wasn't much confused or annoyed about that. All it did was provide her with a few more opportunities.

"Whatever it was, I must've missed it too. No... wait a sec." She locked eyes to eye with Astrid. "I bet it's some sort of lesson - trying to show you that everyone will vanish from your life one day. They'll graduate, move across the country. They'll stop responding to your texts. They'll go and build a colony on the moon."

"And the worst part is, like him, they probably won't even tell you when they're gonna-"

Mel hopped off the table, dipped to grab her backpack, slung it over her shoulder, and made for the door.

But only to wheel around a couple seconds later and plop back into Maxim's vacated chair.

"Except for people who you aren't getting rid of that easy," she said. The smile slid back onto her face. As far as her mind and mouth were concerned, she could do this all day, nudging at the alternating, rising tides of confusion and indignation that Astrid was prone to. "What're you reading, anyway?"
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The Dynamo of Volition · Beale Library