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Gwendolyn in Wonderland; Autumn 2011, bookstore, PM to enter
Topic Started: Mar 8 2013, 05:15 PM (1,087 Views)
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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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"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 όber-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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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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"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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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 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 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 had agreed to go out for gelato...

Yay!

Maynard, say something!

"There's someplace downtown that sells it, I think. It's really flash, uh...I think it's near the movie theatre. But, y'know, if there's somewhere else you wanna go to then I'd be fine with that, y'know..."

He trailed off, and began wringing his hands together. He was glad for an interjection on Gwen's part, a reply to his inquiry of her favourite genre.

"Romance, huh? Yeah, those are pretty cool, I guess. A bit too fluffy for me, but I agree with you on the 'nothing in common' thing. I guess holding hands is pretty cool though. Uh..."

Maynard, stop it...just...stop...talking...

...

Where did that thing about holding hands come from anyway?

...

Reply to her question, silly!

"Well, fantasy's my favourite, really. Epic fantasy. It's really all I talk about in book club at school. Uh...it's that, really. But there are some series that have so many mixtures of genres that I guess there's nothing that I wouldn't say no to, y'know?"
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A number?

How odd. He'd never been placed in such a position before.

"Oh, thanks!"

He grabbed at it. Somewhat aggressively, for some reason. Blinking, he hurriedly tucked it away into his breast pocket, and mumbled an apology.

"I...uh...sorry...uh...so, um...uh, why shouldn't I call at night? Not that I intended to, 'cause you told me not to, but, I'm just curious...but...you don't have to, if you don't want to. I don't mean to pry. But, thank you for your number! I'll be sure to keep it safe!"

He blinked, and shuffled his feet awkwardly.

"So, what now?"
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Maynard nodded at Gwen's reply, and waved as she left the bookstore, bag in hand. It was a pity that she had to leave so suddenly, but he was partly glad for her departure: it was brilliant that he'd gained a friend, but another minute more and he might've screwed everything up. Something about Gwen made his heart flutter.

With no other customers left in the store but himself, Maynard felt slightly guilty at his own inevitable departure, and decided not to leave empty handed. He plucked a decorated bookmark from a nearby rack and gently placed a coin in the elderly woman's hand before rushing out, a beam etched upon his face.
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