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Gwendolyn in Wonderland; Autumn 2011, bookstore, PM to enter
Topic Started: Mar 8 2013, 05:15 PM (1,045 Views)
Espi
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Gwen liked books.

Books were a fun, casual way to pass a lazy Sunday. Gwen enjoyed the eponymous "curl up by the fire with a good book on a Saturday evening" as much as the next girl, of course.

She just...didn't have much time for books. Especially with preparing for senior year, Ann was pushing her extra-hard to do well. Still, Gwen wasn't about to let something like an overbearing mom crush her ability to enjoy literature. Thus, Gwen was in a small, family-owned bookstore on a Sunday she was free, hoping to find something that caught her eye.

One book did. "Daughter of Smoke and Bone." Gwen muttered. She picked up the book, intrigued by the masquerade cover. She looked at the inside cover; she wasn't big on fantasy, which this book appeared to be about, but the main character was an art student; maybe it'd be good.

She her wallet from her little black purse; she had juuust enough money to buy it. Gwen was seriously tempted, but at the same time, she was unsure of whether or not she'd end up liking it.

Maybe she could get a second opinion...
Edited by Espi, Mar 8 2013, 05:15 PM.
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Felt wallet in hand, Maynard haphazardly approached the bookstore before him. He wasn't a regular customer here, but the wad of banknotes he had gained through Grandma Jayne for an early birthday present needed spending, and Maynard was feeling adventurous.

He'd left early that morning, alone. His father had come down with a minor sniffle, and his mother had insisted upon looking after him, so he had free movement, really. Loosening the garishly-decorated scarf his mother had thrust upon him as he rushed out of the house, Maynard slowly pushed open the door of the family-owned shop, a bell signaling his presence.

It was empty, mostly. Save for those working at the counter, and a girl standing beside a nearby shelf.

She looked his age, and-

Wait...

Wait...

It was...Gwendolyn, right? Gwendolyn...O'Connor...

She was a nice enough girl, but they hadn't talked too much; a curt nod in the school hallway seemed the limit of their communication. And, hey, not many pretty girls of his age could be found in a bookshop on a Sunday morning, right? She couldn't be too bad...

Taking a perhaps-too-loud cough, he shuffled towards her.

"Hey! Gwendolyn...Gwen, right?"
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Gwen heard a sound, followed by her full name, followed by her preferred nickname. She turned around. She smiled at the boy, who she didn't quite recognize, but was pretty sure she knew him from school.

"Hi there!" She said cheerfully. And a bit too loudly. Gwen quieted her voice when she added, "I'm really sorry, I don't quite remember your name. M-something, right? You go to Aurora High school a little ways away?"

Gwen realized she still held the book in her hand. She held it up in front of M-something. "By the way, would you say that this is a good book? It looked interesting, but I'm not sure it's really "me", you know what I mean? And I can only afford one book, so I want to make it count."
Edited by Espi, Mar 8 2013, 05:54 PM.
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"M-something, right?"

Heh. That was cute.

That was in my head, right? Yes? Good.

Gwen (he was certain it was Gwen, now. Unless she was just being über-polite or something-)

Maynard, people don't just let people think their name's something else. Her name's Gwen, 'kay?

Gwen held up the book that she had been looking at before Maynard had approached her: Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

It was a new one, right? Only released a few weeks ago...

"By the way, would you say that this is a good book? It looked interesting, but I'm not sure it's really "me", you know what I mean? And I can only afford one book, so I want to make it count."

Maynard blinked, and paused. Perhaps a little too long...

"Uh, yeah. Yeah, my name's Maynard. Although, you can call me M-something if you want..."

Wait, Maynard...what did you just...

"Um...uh...well, uh...anyway, I haven't actually read that book. I've read a few reviews, though, and apparently it's really good. What else were you considering buying?"
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Maynard! Of course Gwen knew his name! How could she have forgotten such an interesting name?

Gwen chuckled at his joke. "I'll stick with Maynard, if you don't mind." Maynard, if she recalled, was an odd bird, but he seemed nice enough.

She thought for a moment about his question. "You know, I haven't actually got any other ideas. If you say it's gotten good reviews, maybe I'll check it out."

She glanced around; the store was empty, unfortunately. Gwen preferred local-owned stores to large brand places, and it was a shame that the former were dying out. "So, were you looking for a book? There's a lot of nice ones here."
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Gwen had laughed at the rushed utterance he had made about his name. So...she thought it was a joke? He could live with that.

Aww, jeeze, I hope she doesn't expect me to be a comedian or something...

She paused. It was so short...but still, maybe she was-

"You know, I haven't actually got any other ideas. If you say it's gotten good reviews, maybe I'll check it out."

Oh. So she wasn't leaving. Yay!

"So, were you looking for a book? There's a lot of nice ones here."

"Um...well, I...uh...I don't know, really. I guess I was gonna ask them if they had any ink...I'm kinda running low on supplies. Or manga. It's a long shot, them having some here, but you never know, do you? Also...uh...well, I was thinking of buying the Wheel of Time series. I've got the first book, but there's so many of them, and they're so popular...it'd be better to collect them all, y'know? And, and then if there's any vegetarian cookbooks, or...uh...poetry, then I guess I'll be leaving this place with a bare wallet!"

That was probably the longest thing he'd ever said to a member of the opposite sex that wasn't related to him. Hmm. Maybe he was getting better.
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Gwen was surprised by the sudden rant. He'd seemed pretty quiet before. Still, he'd mentioned some interesting things. Gwen hadn't heard of "Wheel of Time", though. She figured he needed printer ink.

"I see," Gwen said. A delay tactic. Give herself a chance to figure out the other stuff he was talking about.

Manga? Gwen was somewhat sure that that was a kind of Asian comic or something. Meh. Gwen wasn't big on comics. Poetry was surprising. He seemed awfully shy to be writing out slam-style poetry, so Gwen assumed he just wanted to read it. Gwen preferred writing or ranting it, but she could get behind that.

Gwen found an awful lot of conversational topics that Maynard described, but she picked out one quickly enough to make the pause seem pretty short.

"Oh, vegetarian cookbooks? Are you a vegetarian, too? What kind?" Gwen titled her head slightly to stretch her neck. Her violet bangs fell into her eyes and she shook them away.
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"Are you a vegetarian too?"

Wait...

"...too?"

Gwen was one? Another "vege-head", as his father called them...

They weren't exactly non-existent in this town, but it was a surprise nonetheless....

"Ah, yeah, yeah I am! Uh...a proper one? Or...uh...well, I don't eat fish or chicken, but I drink milk, and eat eggs. But only free range ones. So...you're a vegetarian as well? That's freaking awesome!"

Maynard hoped he wasn't being too overly-enthusiastic all of a sudden. And she seemed rather shocked by his sudden rattling off hobbies. Maybe he should stop talk-

"Uh...do you think they have any vegetarian cookbooks here? I was thinking of doing one of those found poems, y'know? I was clearing out my old boxes and found a bunch of sonnets, and thought that I should change subject matter."

Oh. Apparently his mouth didn't want to stop talking, however much his mind wanted it to. He hoped that Gwen didn't find it off-putting, like so many others did.
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Gwen nodded at his description of his vegetarianism. That was pretty much exactly how she was, though she was occasionally lenient on the free-range aspect if she couldn't find them. Eggs were too good to pass up on.

Gwen watched Maynard get very excited. He was surprisingly spunky for someone who'd appeared so timid earlier. Gwen thought he was kind of cute, in a dorky way. Gwen sighed; she'd walked to the store, and she wished she could take a seat.

"Oh, found poetry? That can be interesting; I've tried that a couple times. It's kind of tricky to get it to work together perfectly, but if you do it right it can be really fun to read. Do you write a lot of poetry?"

Gwen cracked her neck again. "Sorry, do you mind if we sit over there?" Gwen gestured to a pair of overstuffed chairs nearby. "I'm kind of tired from the walk."
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Maynard's description of his vegetarianism seemed to match Gwen's own ruling. Either that, or she was just being polite. He felt more comfortable around her now, and she seemed like someone to speak her mind if she disagreed with something, so he settled on the former.

Gwen had motioned towards a set of chairs, and Maynard nodded. He wasn't the most active kid, and the walk there had drained him of most of his energy. As he strode towards one of them, he began to respond to her question.

"Do you write a lot of poetry?"

Ooh, she was interested! Oh...what to say-

"Well, I do, kinda. It's sonnets, mostly. I started when I was fourteen, and most them were about girls I crushed on and stuff. Oh, they were awful, really. Now I'm trying to do more sophisticated subjects, like the afterlife and nature...I'm hesitant to experiment, I think. It's mostly the same structure for everything. It's cool, how...how we have so much in common. Do you write much poetry yourself?"

A strange feeling of chivalry entered him, and he dramatically pulled one of the chairs into a more convenient position.

"For you, m'lady."

Oh, Maynard...she might put up with your weirdness, but don't you think this is being a little more odd than usual?
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Gwen laughed. Maynard was a real cutie, even if he was a bit odd. They were surprisingly alike, though, which was a definite plus.

"Thank you, kind sir." she said, seating herself. She broke into giggles at this. Eventually, when she was calmer, she continued. "But yes, I do like poetry. I write it on occasion, when I find myself in the mood. I don't have a particular preferred pattern; mostly I simply write it the way I like." She laughed again; she sounded so damn formal!

"I like writing about that stuff, too. Especially nature; natural stuff is really beautiful." She looked at Maynard seriously. "But I'll admit that I, too, once wrote about girls I had crushes on." She felt bad at that point; she was no homophobe of course, but maaaaybe the joke didn't come out right.

She looked at him apologetically. "Oh, sorry. I'm not against homosexuality; if anything I'm all for it. I'm not a lesbian, but I don't care who you love or how as long as you do it kindly, and I see no evidence that GLBT people can't love as much or more than heterosexuals. Do you agree?"

Gwen hoped she didn't sound offensive; it was a controversial topic to bring up to someone who was more-or-less a stranger, and she did it pretty bluntly.
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Gwen seemed to have been struck with hysterics...Maynard didn't quite know why. He supposed that the first fit of laughter was due to his random quasi-knightly behaviour, but the second...he couldn't tell.

He grinned, and sat in the vacant chair. This was nice, he thought. He'd never really had anybody to discuss poetry with, and his attempts at talking about vegetarianism with his parents were mostly met with blank stares.

"...But I'll admit that I, too, once wrote about girls I had crushes on."

Maynard gulped. Had he heard her right? Well, truthfully, he hadn't seen her with any boys in that manner, and she was so sweet that he couldn't imagine any crush of hers being unreciprocated-

"Oh, sorry. I'm not against homosexuality; if anything I'm all for it. I'm not a lesbian, but I don't care who you love or how as long as you do it kindly, and I see no evidence that GLBT people can't love as much or more than heterosexuals. Do you agree?"

Ah, it was a joke, of course...he needed to be better at picking that stuff up.

"Yeah, I completely agree! I mean, I'm not gay myself...I can see how my-"

-He flicked his arms dramatically-

"Ever-so-enviable fashion sense and perpetual lack-of-girlfriend might make some people think otherwise, but I wholeheartedly agree with you on all of those points. I think it's good how kids can be more open about that stuff now."

He paused. It was an odd thought, but it had just flitted into his head...

"Hey, uh...Gwen...about that book. If you want, I could pay for it."
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Gwen was glad there'd been no issue about her remarkably tasteless joke. Maynard certainly seemed to be a nice guy, and Gwen wondered if he might be interested in spending time with her later.

Then he dropped another chivalrous bomb. Gwen was surprised; she didn't know of a lot of people who'd pay for someone's book if they barely knew them. Still, it was a very kind thing to offer, so Gwen didn't want to be rude to him.

Gwen smiled. "Oh, that's sweet of you. Don't worry about it, I'll buy the book myself. But thank you for offering, it's really selfless of you." She stood from the chair. "I'm just gonna go buy it, then I'll come right back."

Gwen walked up to the cashier, a kindly older woman who was friends with the couple who owned the store. "Hi there. May I purchase this book?" She asked. Of course she could, so she pulled out her wallet and quickly counted out the money.
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Gwen politely declined his offer (so sweet!) and proceeded to go and pay for the book herself, cheerfully asking the cashier if she could. He hoped she'd enjoy it, even if it didn't appear to be of her preferred genre. He wondered what that was, actually.

As she began to count out the coinage necessary for the thick volume, he coughed again (he had developed a strange habit for doing that), and said:

"Uh...Gwen, what is your favourite genre of literature? And...uh...later, do you wanna maybe go and get some gelato?"

Wait, Maynard...did you just ask someone out? Goshdarnit, do you have to latch yourself onto any girl that's nice to you?
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Gwen thought Maynard was a nice enough guy. So she didn't mind going out for gelato.

She nodded, put her newly acquired book into her bag, and replied, "Oh, sure. Where do you have in mind? I don't know a lot of gelato places."

Gwen walked over to Maynard, trying to not trip over her own feet. She stood next to him.

"Oh, my favorite genre? Uh, that's a tough one. Maaaybe romance, but it should be happy and not sad. Sad romances suck. Ooh, and it can't be like, "love at first sight" or it seems cheesy, especially if they have nothing in common."

She paused for a second. "What about you?"
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