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Beware Of The Boys
Topic Started: Nov 19 2012, 10:36 PM (1,717 Views)
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Naomi was a teenage girl. An obvious statement to most, but she always tried her best not to act like one. At least not the typical image associated with teenage girls. Giggling and obsessing over lipstick and terrible literature.

But there was one part of the teenage experience that, unfortunately, Naomi couldn't avoid. Infatuation. Annoying crushes that she didn't want nor need, but they were certainly there. Looming and waiting to catch her off-guard when some pretty, charming guy asked for help on some Math work. In this case, it was Paris Ardennes. It had just... happened. One moment they'd been discussing calculus and the next they were set to meet in a coffee shop.

Which was where she was now. Sitting in a coffee shop called 'One Of A Grind,' waiting for Paris to show up. How had this happened? Oh, right. He was charming and not a moron. Also pretty. Very pretty. ...Not that Naomi was that shallow, of course. But she'd checked around a little to make sure she wasn't walking into anything horrible, and by all accounts Paris seemed to be normal. No inclinations to go to loud parties, consume chemicals or hump anything that moves. The closest thing she'd heard to negative was that he was very religious, but she could handle that.

Naomi sipped her coffee and flicked through the book she was reading, A Clockwork Orange. It was one she enjoyed immensely. She'd read it before, but she hadn't wanted to bring anything new. If it was a good book, she would have difficulty putting it down during this date, and if it was terrible she'd be bored until the date started.

Plus, reading something that was a piece of iconic literature (okay, the film was probably more iconic, but she preferred the source material) was a lot better than reading the latest story about a soppy and/or creepy romance with a mythological being. Made her look more intelligent, because she was. And if she had to have these ridiculous crushes, then she at least wanted to make a good impression on them.

Naomi sat there, holding the book with one hand and turning to the page where they started the treatments, all the while trying to maintain a picture of detached coolness. The only nervous tic she was displaying was that her other hand was absently fiddling with an empty sugar packet.
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Naomi looked up when she heard the door open and saw Paris strolling in. On time, as well. Punctuality was always a plus. Naomi brushed some hair away from her face and smiled as he sat down.

"Paris. Glad you could make it."

Naomi placed a bookmark at where she was up to and shut the book. She placed it neatly to the side, still in reach in case she needed to entertain herself. She brushed the cover with her finger tips lightly before saying, "It's an interesting book, A Clockwork Orange. Have you ever read it? Or seen the film, either one."

It was a better icebreaker than 'how's the weather,' she supposed. With both hands now free, she started shredding the empty sugar packet she'd been playing with.
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"No, I haven't been here long at all." It was a lie. Naomi had gotten there half an hour early just to make sure that she didn't keep him waiting. She disliked keeping people waiting, it made her feel sluggish even if she was on time. She returned the smile, taking care not to giggle or avert her eyes in a nervous manner or anything that would ruin her dignity.

She raised an eyebrow slightly when he said he didn't know what the book was about. How could he not know at all? It was an iconic piece of literature, he must have at least seen mentions or homages to it. Still, she supposed it was preferable to admit ignorance of a topic than to try and bluff through it. Naomi wrinkled her nose for a moment, thinking over the best way to explain it.

"You likely would have at least seen a homage... it's about a teenager who is eventually arrested for his horrific crimes, and they try injecting him with medicine that makes him ill while showing him footage of the crimes he used to enjoy, so that he gets ill whenever he even thinks of doing bad. Then they release him back into society, but of course society wouldn't accept him because he was still the same kid that tormented otheers for the fun of it, and even though he was forced to behave through psychological blocks, he was still a horrible person inside. There's a lot that can be taken from it, really."

It was about that point that Naomi realised he'd done the same trick that she often did on others. Show brief interest in a subject that she didn't know or care about, and the other person would plow on ahead, babble for several minutes and then come off with the impression that the other person was easy to talk to because they didn't tell the babbler that they were being dull.

Was she being dull? Of course not, but others might not perceive it that way. It depended on interests and intelligence. Maybe Paris really was interested, but... well, she couldn't know for sure, without hearing his opinion on classic literature. Well, at least she'd realised that she was dangerously close to going on a sermon about the qualities and flaws of classic literature.

"Do you read much? A Clockwork Orange is only one book out of billions," Naomi said, picking up her coffee as she spoke.
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Naomi shrugged. "Maybe someone less monstrous would have done better. But seeing as the treatment only failed to stick after the main character had attempted suicide, I very much doubt he was happier being 'good.' Of course, he stops his psychopathic ways in the final chapter of the original, but I never liked that chapter. It was too sudden and optimistic compared to the tone of the rest of the book. They don't even include it in the American version, nor the film."

And off she went again. Why did she have to bring a book she could talk about at length? Maybe a terrible romance novel would have been better, after all. ...No, her dignity couldn't have suffered that blow.

But she was feeling fairly comfortable right now, or else she wouldn't be slipping into rambling so easily. And then he just had to bring up the Bible. Not in a way that suggested he was about to talk about it, but still. Naomi did not want to go near that conversation. She didn't mind other people believing in it. But she also didn't want to give away the fact that she was an extremely stubborn atheist.

Naomi sat up a little straighter, moving her coffee mug to the side. She quickly zoomed in on the part of the conversation that wasn't connected to the Bible at all.

"The Alchemist, hm? I've heard of it, but I have yet to read it. I hear it's rather similar to one of the tales from 'One Thousand and One Nights,' isn't it?"

Naomi watched to see if he'd notice she was trying to avoid talk on religion. She couldn't pick up much from him, which was unusual. The few boys she'd gone this far with had been more obvious in intent. Paris was subtle and polite, but beyond that wasn't giving away anything. Naomi wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not.
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Naomi chuckled lightly at the joke about Scheherazade. Other than that, though, she quietly listened to Paris' explanation of the tale. She inwardly twitched at the word 'faith,' wary that he was about to bring it back to the Bible, but he didn't. At least for now. This sounded like a story about destiny and fate and such things, however. Naomi wasn't a fan of that, either. She didn't like the notion that she had no control over where she'd end up. If it were true, she might as well just lie down on the floor of the coffeehouse and slumber until life brought it to her.

"Yes. Comforting," she said lightly, trying not to give away that the idea made her rather uncomfortable.

She kept listening, nodding a little at his opinion. Personal happiness didn't matter much compared to the greater good of society, this was true. When Paris threw in a quick compliment, Naomi went very slightly pink and smiled wryly. She knew flattery when she heard it. ...Didn't mean it wasn't working, but at least she knew what it was.

"Optimism is fine if it makes sense. In that case, I don't feel that it did," Naomi said. She didn't continue beyond that point. Naomi sipped her coffee, and took a biscotti when Paris offered her one. "Thank you," she said, smiling politely back. As she nibbled on the biscotti, she wondered what would be a safe topic of discussion beyond books.
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"No trouble at all," Naomi said lightly. "If I hadn't wanted to be here, I would have refused. Politely, of course, but refused nonetheless." She smiled a little at his dramatics, but the next compliment he brought up made her wary again.

This was getting difficult. Paris was charming. Possibly one of the most polite, flattering boys her age that Naomi had ever met. She knew it was all flattery, but that didn't stop it from working. And she didn't mind it too much. The issue was that was the second time -- third if the mention of faith counted -- that he'd brought up the Bible in a completely irrelevant context. Yes, there was someone called Naomi in the Bible, but he could very well have left it out.

At the moment, it wasn't too intrusive. Naomi would be very pleased to see him again. But she had to know, before this went any further, what sort of religious man he was. If he was the sort to let others believe what they wanted to believe, that would be fine. Naomi personally thought religion was a silly thing to believe in, but she didn't begrudge those who did.

If he was like the sort that came to her door wanting to talk about Jesus, however... well, Naomi would just have to put her foot down. She had to know now, when it would be easiest to break things off if they were clearly heading in a terrible direction.

"It would be awkward, yes," Naomi murmured, tersely brushing off the compliment. "You bring up the Bible a lot. I assume you're very devout, then?" she added, before taking a sip of her coffee.
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Naomi was surprised to see the sudden depression on Paris' face, which was even more disconcerting because it went away as quickly as it came. The downcast expression, she simply didn't understand. Someone's father being overly indulgent wasn't a cause for that much sadness. Annoyance, yes, but sadness?

Although he had said 'was.' Either dead or now rejecting hedonism. The sad expression suggested the former.

The rest of what he said... well, Naomi considered it all to be a big pile of meadow dressing. How was some omnipresent giant that she'd never met running her life a source of comfort? Of course, she couldn't say that out loud.

“Well, I suppose that makes sense.” As much sense as that moron Veveris worshiping his stupid bicycle. “I'm an atheist, personally, but to each his own.”

Code for 'we'll get along fine if you don't rub your faith in my face.'
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Was it just her, or was the room chillier all of a sudden?

Naomi considered whether to go into detail about why she chose atheism. He already seemed... not angry, exactly, but... less cheerful, certainly. Naomi drank some more of her coffee to buy some time as she considered what to say. She couldn't exactly go 'just kidding, I believe all your ridiculous ideas about omnipresent deities.' She supposed if she didn't explain, she'd just come off as one of those plebeians who denounced important issues that they knew absolutely nothing about. Paris couldn't very well get annoyed if she explained her opinion in a calm and rational manner.

"I'm just not one to believe in something with no proof. I wouldn't believe there had been dinosaurs if fossils didn't prove or at least imply such a thing. I have never heard substantial proof of any religion, including Christianity. I know faith is centered around believing without solid proof, but... it's just something I'm unable to do. Nor something I particularly strive to believe in, as I find the idea of an omnipresent deity watching and guiding every move we make to be... disquieting."

Naomi took another sip of her coffee and quickly added, "Though I do see that it would reasonably appeal to some people." She didn't want to end just by saying 'your ideas make me uncomfortable.' That'd just be rude.
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"No, none of my family is religious, at least to my knowledge," Naomi said. She grabbed her coffee and took another long sip of it, trying to delay the rest of her response. Because she really didn't want to be dragged off to a church. She didn't have to listen to a priest ramble on about God to know that she wasn't going to like it.

Issue was that she couldn't say she was busy, because he hadn't specified which Sunday. Just 'some' Sunday. She couldn't reply with 'I'm busy every Sunday and there's no possible way to clear my schedule.' That was far too transparent. She also couldn't just say no, because then he'd think she was close-minded.

So rather than answer whether she'd like to come along, she honed in on the rest of what he'd said.

"How is a religious community different from any other sort of community? It isn't necessary to believe in a god to form a community, because every person belongs to several communities, regardless of beliefs. I doubt kindness and respecting parents relies on believing in a god, either." Naomi took another sip of coffee and added, "If someone is only kind because of religion, I would imagine that says something very negative about them."

Naomi paused for a couple of seconds, thinking on this point, before saying, "God doesn't have to tell me to respect my parents, because I already do. They're intelligent, respectable people and I have nothing to be ashamed of. And perhaps it's none of my business... but you didn't seem to respect your father very much, judging by your description of him earlier. So religion doesn't seem to make a difference in that regard, either."
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"No, but see... I'm not under the impression that we don't need rules. We do. Without them, society would collapse. But there's a difference between rules that are decided upon by a government, with input from a democratic system, then there is from rules thought up by a group of men who think they're enacting the will of a God."

Naomi was getting far more into this than she'd intended. The inner debater inside her liked pleasant arguments where there was nothing at stake. All that would happen if she lost was that she'd get dragged along to a Sunday of boredom, and that would hardly affect her life in general. So she met his gaze squarely as she tried to argue her point.

"I mean, say that there is a god. How can we know what he wants us to do if he never directly tells us? All we have to go on are the estimates of men who believe in him. Even if God truly spoke to the men who wrote the Bible, I'm sure they mangled parts to their own ends. Plus, it's been thousands of years since the Bible was written, so parts have likely been changed around. The Catholic religion is just interpreting what they think God would want.

"So, since you brought up the comparison to laws... well, I wouldn't trust a president who no-one ever saw, and who lived in the clouds all day while everyone else tried to guess what he wanted. So why would I choose to believe in or trust a god who, at his core essentials, does that same thing?"

Naomi raised her coffee cup, but before drinking added, "And my frustration with that book's ending is because there was no reason for him to suddenly turn good. And for the record, the main character of A Clockwork Orange loved the Bible. If for all the wrong reasons."
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Naomi fluttered her hand in dismissal over the point about the Miranda Rights. "It isn't relevant at all. You're the one who dragged it into this discussion. I simply meant that the ending to that book irritated me because it didn't fit with the storyline, not because it falsely reflected truths of the world or something else roundabout. Good writing should stick with a tone and not bounce the other direction in the last chapter, that's all. The comment about the main character liking the Bible was merely an aside. But that story is... well, just that. A story." Naomi held back the words, 'then again, so is the Bible.'

She was annoyed with his tone. He sounded as polite as ever, albeit talking in a lower voice (Naomi didn't think the tone suited him) but he was getting much more accusatory. Now Naomi was apparently calling his beliefs invalid. Which... okay, yes, that's what she thought. But he clearly thought the same about hers, seeing as the first thing he'd done upon hearing she was an atheist was try to drag her off to church. He made it sound like she'd told him everything he believed was stupid out of the blue. And she'd been mostly holding those thoughts inside her head.

"I don't mean to call your form of belief invalid. I just wanted to explain the reasons why I, personally, don't believe in it. I didn't order you to believe there wasn't a god. You're free to believe whatever you like," she said coolly. "All I ask is that you return the favour and respect my beliefs as well. I think that's fair."

Naomi smiled, though the smile was completely devoid of warmth. She decided was safe from this causing any bad rumours about her being close-minded. If Paris tried to explain it to people, they'd likely zone in on the fact that the first thing he did while getting coffee with a pretty girl was try to convert her to Christianity. Paris already had a reputation for being religious, so it would mesh with their previous knowledge of him. If he tried to explain what had happened, he'd look worse than her.

She couldn't help but add, "For the record? I wouldn't try to convert another girl until at least the third time you've gone somewhere with her. Not everyone appreciates it."

Explains why he didn't have a girlfriend.
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Naomi just sat still, looking mildly surprised as if she'd bitten into a chocolate-flavoured pastry and found out it was strawberry. Except in this case, it was finding out that the polite, handsome boy from her Math class was, well... not as nice as he pretended.

She only spoke after Paris made his comment about guys taking her out to new restaurants. As he walked away, she let out a deadpan "Oh no."

Once Paris was gone, she took her time finishing her coffee. It hadn't been the friendly meeting she'd been expecting. He'd tried to push the Bible on her, gotten a little bit mean when she pointed out that he was Bible-pushing, and then stormed out. His last words didn't even make sense. She had wanted to be here. At least until the Bible came up. He was the one who made it awkward.

Naomi smiled a little to herself as she finished off her coffee. All in all, he'd certainly helped remove the terrible disease that was teenage infatuation. So all in all, it had been time well-spent.

((Naomi Bell continued elsewhere.))
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