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Chance Encounters; Gavin Hunter & Megan Emerson
Topic Started: Dec 13 2012, 06:19 PM (754 Views)
Ghost Of Ravenstar
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[ *  * ]
It was shortly after school closing time. Gavin was browsing the shelves of his local bookstore. Titles flashed before his eyes, the glossy covers of the young adults section blurring together into an odd kaleidoscope before his disinterested senses. Gavin was filled with ennui; a feeling of general apathy pervading his senses like a thick sea mist hanging over a normally bustling harbour. So little seemed to be going on in his life right now that it almost seemed amusing. Schoolwork was a drag, nothing hard enough to engage him nor easy enough for him to surf through on automatic. Even the weather seemed to be conspiring against him; heavy rain preventing visits to the range more often than not.

In the end, Gavin had decided to treat himself to a good book. It had been a while since he had gotten any serious reading done that wasn't required for schoolwork - discounting the odd bit of fanfiction, and it had seemed to be just the kind of thing to help lift his flagging spirits. Of course, things were never that easy. His apathetic mindset made it hard to firm decision about what he wanted; even focusing on the titles was a little difficult. There was something slightly disconcerting about the contents of the teenage sections, too. They were far too flashy, for one thing. Even the more subdued ones were almost hyperactive in their artistic style and aggressive coloration.

The vast majority of teenagers these days must have magpie genetics. Gavin thought as his eyes slid disinterestedly over yet another row of gloss-covered, occasionally holographic covers. Eventually his artistic senses staged a violent rebellion against his visual cortex, and Gavin found himself turning to a section of the store that he found less of an eyesore. The science fiction section seemed the next best prospect; lots of colour and excitement with some actual visual context, and less glitter. His spirits lifted a little when he noticed the name Peter F Hamilton along some of the spines. The Commonwealth Saga was one of Gavin's repeat readings, and had been the series that had gotten him interested in Hard science fiction.

His flagging interest finally piqued, Gavin slipped round to the other side of the science fiction section to examine the titles more closely. This provided a decent barrier between him and the few other teenagers browsing the young adults section. He was tall enough to look over the top of the shelf at them, and he rolled his eyes as he watched a lanky-looking blonde snatch a copy of New Moon that had been given centre stage in the teen romance section, then waltz off to the checkout with a giggle. He was glad he hadn't worn his trademark trench coat today; it gave him a little more anonymity to observe other teenagers without being singled out himself. Gavin would also rather have been caught naked in the streets then browsing the glitzy trash currently residing in the teenage section in his signature gear. There were limits to how much and in what way he wanted to stand out, after all.

Eventually, he spotted something new. The Neutronium Alchemist had exactly the kind of ultra-pretentious title that Gavin had come to expect from Hamilton, so he ducked down to pluck it from its shelve, turning the thick book round over in his hands to read the blurb. He remained there on his knees, there being so little traffic in this row that standing up again seemed a waste of energy. The shelves were open backed, so he could see through them over the tops of the books into the young adults section that he'd just vacated. Despite the brief attraction of the book in his hands, he found his attention wandering back to the people pursuing the glitzy titles in the young adults section.

If Gavin had had to put a name to the cause of his continued attention, it would have to be morbid fascination.
#B051: Gavin Hunter - Equipped with oh gosh a whole lot. "Well, we break for two months and I'm now suddenly in high definition..."

[08:46] Ghost of Ravenstar: I love the AF2011-A1 as it fits Gavin's perceived personality so damn well.
[08:47] Alex: Overcompensatory, unnecessary and appeals to what someone who watches anime obsessively would perceive as "cool?"
[08:47] Ghost of Ravenstar: BINGO!!!
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Ghost Of Ravenstar
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[ *  * ]
By now Gavin had replaced The Neutronium Alchemist, having discovered it to be the second in a trilogy, and plucked out the reassuringly titled predecessor; The Reality Dysfunction. He wondered privately if Hamilton got paid extra for making up such preposterous titles. He was just about to stand up and head for the checkout when something in the young adults section caught his eye.

There had been girls looking over or picking up Twilight books every few minutes since he entered the store. This was just after school closing time, after all. However, up till now they had all been around the ages of thirteen or fourteen. Then, as the last of that student demographic hurried away, Gavin found himself staring at the legs of a much older girl.

Funny, what would a girl her age be doing hanging around that section? He thought.

Then Gavin's train of thought plunged off a cliff as the girl reached out and brazenly pulled a copy of the first Twilight book off the shelf. For a moment, Gavin was absolutely stunned. Very few situations in the world could shock a true stoic; but watching a girl roughly his own age and (presumably) his own level of maturity make a b-line for a gibbering, vacuous, literary obscenity like Twilight was definitely one of them.

Oh, oh my . . . Gavin's mind whirled as it searched for some kind of rational explanation for the seemingly impossible chain of events he had just witnessed. Had a gang of armed robbers burst into the store at that very moment, Gavin wouldn't have registered them; his attention was totally fixated on the gap in the shelves and the girl beyond.

It would probably have been highly amusing to Megan if she had known and understood to what degree she had just shocked Gavin by her actions; but it was only when she began turning the pages of her clandestine acquisition that she truly pushed him over the edge. A man could only watch the folly of another human being for so long before his sensibilities forced him to intervene, no matter how desperate the situation was.

Gavin stood up slowly, quietly. He was behind Megan, about a meter away. She seemed engrossed in her book, so he had ample time to sidle quietly out of his row of shelves and up behind her. He was again glad he hadn't worn his trench coat today, as the heavy leather apparel would certainly have rustled loud enough to alert her to his presence. It's not or never. He thought to himself.

"Excuse me." He began in his usual polite, respectful tone. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but I can't help but feel that you're in danger of making a terrible mistake in choosing that title."

Oh sod it, may as well go for broke here.

"Perhaps I could point you in the direction of something less . . . terrible?" He concluded in the same easy, confident tones. If he was going to be damned by her for doing this, he would at least take it with good grace. Being the better man, and all that. He thought ruefully.
#B051: Gavin Hunter - Equipped with oh gosh a whole lot. "Well, we break for two months and I'm now suddenly in high definition..."

[08:46] Ghost of Ravenstar: I love the AF2011-A1 as it fits Gavin's perceived personality so damn well.
[08:47] Alex: Overcompensatory, unnecessary and appeals to what someone who watches anime obsessively would perceive as "cool?"
[08:47] Ghost of Ravenstar: BINGO!!!
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Ghost Of Ravenstar
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[ *  * ]
Gavin would have needed a heart of stone not to be amused by Megan's initial panicked reaction. As it was, he ended up biting his lip to keep the amusement on his face at tactful levels. For a moment he thought she was going to bolt, but then her expression calmed and she managed to hold her place. Now that Gavin had a chance to view her more closely, he found himself liking what he saw, and he let his posture relax a little as Megan began her explanation.

Her words confirmed a lot of what he'd started to suspect already. The sheer incongruity of a girl her age having a genuine interest in Twilight almost made him grin, and he relaxed even further as he began to realise the kind of person he was dealing with. Suddenly, his former lethargy and disinterest seemed to have flown away, and he felt animated and at ease once more. He realised belatedly that this was the first true interaction he could recall having with a teenager his own age for at least a week. Am I really that disengaged in school these days? He thought momentarily.

As Megan finished her explanation (after returning her book to its shelf, Gavin noted approvingly), she still seemed a little nervous, so he gave her a smile. "Hey, it's alright. I can understand your interest, but I wouldn't advise you to waste your money on that kind of literature. It's really not worth your effort, or your innocence."

He chuckled softly to make light of his words before continuing. "Sorry if I startled you just then. My name's Gavin, I was just browsing the science fiction section when I noticed you through the shelves, I hope you can forgive me for sneaking up on you like this."
#B051: Gavin Hunter - Equipped with oh gosh a whole lot. "Well, we break for two months and I'm now suddenly in high definition..."

[08:46] Ghost of Ravenstar: I love the AF2011-A1 as it fits Gavin's perceived personality so damn well.
[08:47] Alex: Overcompensatory, unnecessary and appeals to what someone who watches anime obsessively would perceive as "cool?"
[08:47] Ghost of Ravenstar: BINGO!!!
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Ghost Of Ravenstar
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[ *  * ]
"I do indeed go to Aurora High, though I don't think we've ever met face-to-face before." Gavin replied, his tone now considerably less formal and more congenial. He had grinned when Megan mentioned needing a hero, finding her phraseology rather flattering. Although he had only known her for a few seconds, Gavin found himself warming to Megan’s company with surprising speed.

Perhaps it's just that I haven't had much company recently. He thought.

Certainly not company with two X chromosomes. His underthoughts promptly jabbed.

Pushing those particular thoughts firmly to the back of his mind, Gavin did a mental audition and pulled a picture of Megan's face from the dusty filing cabinets of memory. "I think I've seen you in the library before, you're in there quite often. What kind of books do you like?"
#B051: Gavin Hunter - Equipped with oh gosh a whole lot. "Well, we break for two months and I'm now suddenly in high definition..."

[08:46] Ghost of Ravenstar: I love the AF2011-A1 as it fits Gavin's perceived personality so damn well.
[08:47] Alex: Overcompensatory, unnecessary and appeals to what someone who watches anime obsessively would perceive as "cool?"
[08:47] Ghost of Ravenstar: BINGO!!!
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Ghost Of Ravenstar
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[ *  * ]
Gavin chuckled lightly at Megan's last words. "I'm fascinated by history. I often find the tales told by historians and personal biographers to be just as interesting and engaging as any work of fiction."

He realised then that he was still holding The Reality Dysfunction, and quickly brought it up for Megan to see the cover. "Books like this interest me on an intellectual level; they represent a potential future for humanity as envisioned by their author. Fantasy is often the same, but exploring a fundamentally different reality rather than a potential one."

A little part of Gavin wondered if it was wise to have started talking in such an intellectual fashion, but another part of him wanted to push Megan a little; to see what she truly got out of what she read. After all, anybody can read books for their entertainment value.

There was the danger of making things a little too serious, but Gavin felt that Megan was the type to understand where he was coming from. Even if their reasons for enjoying literature were completely different, he mused, they could still at least enjoy talking about it.

"I don't just read the high-concept stuff, though." He conceded. "I like relaxing with a good book as much as you probably do. I just found this section a bit too glitzy today. As for your question about Twilight; it appeals to a vocal and very dedicated fanbase, so it'll be milked for every last dollar by whoever holds the merchandising rights at the moment. I steer clear of stuff like that; I find it a bit . . . demeaning. Even if the subject matter wouldn't make the entire Woman's Sufferage movement rotate fast enough in their graves to violate the laws of thermodynamics."

Gavin shrugged dismissively of the Twilight phenomenon. "If you were looking for a few decent adult-level novels or series, I'd be happy to point out one or two of my favourites."
#B051: Gavin Hunter - Equipped with oh gosh a whole lot. "Well, we break for two months and I'm now suddenly in high definition..."

[08:46] Ghost of Ravenstar: I love the AF2011-A1 as it fits Gavin's perceived personality so damn well.
[08:47] Alex: Overcompensatory, unnecessary and appeals to what someone who watches anime obsessively would perceive as "cool?"
[08:47] Ghost of Ravenstar: BINGO!!!
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Ghost Of Ravenstar
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[ *  * ]
Gavin watched Megan go with an odd mixture of satisfaction and regret. He had hoped that she would've had more time, but such chance encounters rarely happened at convenient times. He realised his hand was half-raised in a farewell wave and promptly dropped it, feeling silly. Damn it. He thought as he stared at the exit. Things had been going so well.

Then Megan had been forced to leave, that was so typical. Still, his encounter with her had done a lot of good. Gavin felt a new energy suffusing his being, a liveliness that he had sorely lacked in recent days. He realised that this wasn't necessarily the end. What was it she had said just before she left, that she'd have to meet in the library someday?

I think I'll be hanging around the school library a lot more from now on. He thought with a sudden grin.

With that thought lingering pleasantly in his head, Gavin headed for the checkout. He still had The Reality Dysfunction in his hands, though now it seemed a poor substitute for Megan's company. Still, it would at least have the kindness to stay in one place while Gavin analyzed every facet of it. One of the virtues of a good book was that it couldn't run away. A smile still on his face, Gavin walked up to the till, placed his book down, and fumbled for his wallet. Life had definitely taken a turn for the better.
#B051: Gavin Hunter - Equipped with oh gosh a whole lot. "Well, we break for two months and I'm now suddenly in high definition..."

[08:46] Ghost of Ravenstar: I love the AF2011-A1 as it fits Gavin's perceived personality so damn well.
[08:47] Alex: Overcompensatory, unnecessary and appeals to what someone who watches anime obsessively would perceive as "cool?"
[08:47] Ghost of Ravenstar: BINGO!!!
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