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Bookworms; Semi-Private: Please PM before entry
Topic Started: Mar 28 2013, 07:40 PM (1,523 Views)
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Maynard had never been a social butterfly.

That said, he wasn't entirely rendered mute when around others, and the arrival of a new member of the school's fledgling book club had piqued his interest considerably. His name was Ian, and Maynard had taken the rather bold (well, to him it was bold) move of attempting to befriend him. Thankfully, such motions of friendship were reciprocated, and the two had engaged in a rather energetic conversation about their mutual interest in fantasy.

The boy was meek and an introvert, according to Maynard's initial impression of him, and he hoped that such a personality would remain so. He didn't meld well with particularly gregarious members of the student body; their unintentionally intimidating nature proved friendship or even acquaintanceship to be too difficult for him. Thus, with Ian Williams, he hoped to add another to his somewhat lacking social circle.

Approaching the school cafeteria, he pulled off his rucksack to double-check its contents: a lunchbox with a packet of Doritos and diced celery, and a tentatively placed copy of The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. It was one of the older copies, not an original, but not one of the recent rereleases, and he'd carefully enwrapped it in a plastic bag that morning as he'd prepared for school. His fingers gently brushed the opaque film; he was thankful for its presence. If he'd forgotten it he was sure he could've mumbled an excuse of some kind, but he didn't want to taint the chances of what could evolve into a special friendship.

Clutching his bag to his chest, he nudged open the door of the lunch room with a worn heel, and surveyed the near empty area. His eyes quickly fell on their target; the sandy haired burger eater.

Well. That ruled out any chance of vegetarianism as a mutual interest.

Shuffling towards Ian, Maynard coughed, gently placing his bag onto a vacant seat and smiled as he sat down.

"Uh, hi Ian! Good to see you again."
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Pal?

Hmm.

Okay, Maynard. There are several ways you can respond to this. The ones that you probably shouldn't pick are "Aaaagh, no one's ever called me 'pal' before! That's so sweet! Aaagh!" or "I'm sorry I made you jump! Are you okay?"

Probably best to...acknowledge it at least.

"Uh...yeah, I've been great! Just schoolwork and stuff. What about you...pal?"

He paused before saying "pal", much like Ian had. In fact, it almost sounded like he was mocking the newbie, so similar was the delivery.

Now now, Maynard. Don't be so critical of yourself. He couldn't read THAT deep into it, could he? It wasn't intended or anything. Leave it, okay? Just...once?

He pulled out the recycled takeout container that constituted his lunchbox, as well as the hefty tome that was book one of The Wheel of Time, gently placing them upon the table's polished surface.

"It's...a bit scuffed. I hope that's alright," he mumbled, waving towards the book.

A pause.

"Is your burger nice?"
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Ian was a sweet kid, that was for sure. His nervousness might prove odd to some people, but Maynard found it endearing. He'd never experienced such a dramatic change in schedule as Ian had, so he couldn't exactly relate to him on that point, but he could relate to forgetting lunches, and that was something, surely?

Speaking of lunches...

He glanced down at his lunchbox. It seemed...somewhat pitiful in hindsight. He made a mental note to prepare his next school lunch the night before, and not spend three hours trying to find something that rhymed with "burgundy." Pulling a sliver of celery from his bag, he began to nibble on it as Ian asked if he could put The Eye of the World in his bag.

"Yeah, sure! I don't mind if you do. Yeah...I've never been a connoisseur of Aurora High's extremely high quality cuisine, so I can't really comment. Um...I have some celery and Doritos if you'd like some. And...how're your classes going?"

Maynard smiled. It wasn't often that a kid like Ian came along, and he was glad that he'd been able to establish a friendship with him as early as they had.
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Ian had actually accepted his offer of a slice of celery. It was a rare occurrence, in truth. Even with a more properly prepared lunch, Maynard's choice of cuisine wasn't exactly the most appealing. But Ian had accepted, with the promise of fries in exchange. Maynard's eyes glanced towards the pile of fried potato. Aurora High's fries weren't the most appealing on the market, but they were tolerable enough.

Huh. "Fries" and "High's" rhyme. Maybe I can work this into something somehow.

"Uh...sure!"

Maynard unrolled the sheet of clingfilm he'd wrapped his celery in. He glanced at the half dozen slivers of celery it contained. All six of them were neatly cut diagonally, giving a slightly fancier appearance than Maynard had intended.

Maynard...stop thinking about the way you cut your celery last nig - or was it this morning? Oh, it doesn't matter. Just give Ian some!

Maynard picked up half of the segments and gently placed them on Ian's tray, beside his half finished burger, and plucked a single fry from the pile. He chewed pensively as Ian answered his query about schoolwork, and had to suppress a snort at Ian's pun, half-choking on the fry as he did so.

"I...I'm sorry. I...really? Huh. I mean, I'm terrible at Mathematics. Like...I can do the basics of most Mathematics stuff, but the rest is just so darned confusing. English on the other hand I'm okay at. Huh. Have you ever wondered why people say that? 'On the other hand'? I-"

Maynard, shut up. Change the subject or something but...shut up!

"Uh...never mind. Anyway, if you're good at Math and I'm good at English...maybe we could help each other out! And I...you mentioned kryptonite. Are you a fan of Superman?"
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"Hmm?" Maynard swallowed what little remained of his fry as Ian told him that he could take more. Ack, now you're looking ungrateful. Maynard...do you ever wonder where your lack of social tact came from? He nodded as he pulled another three from the pile, and nibbled on them pensively. "Oh, yeah...yeah, I'm sorry. I'm not a big eater, really. I didn't want to overstep the boundaries or anything. I've never been the most socially skilled kid in this place. The celery...d'you like it? It's a bit wilted."

Ian elected not to ignore Maynard's non-sequitur. Which was a rarity, in truth. His parents just generally ignored him when he blurted out something completely unrelated to the subject at hand, so Ian picking up on it was somewhat surprising. The boy didn't seem too bothered by it either, which proved promising.

"Comics, huh? Well, I'm not too much of a fan of American comics. Manga and stuff on the other hand...that's just really awesome! I don't know why I favour that stuff over American series - I mean, there're lots of good ones, I guess, but I've just never taken with them as I've done with Black Butler and stuff. I think I've got a few volumes of manga at home that I got for Christmas; I could lend them to you if you'd like. See if you like them."

He swallowed, and pulled another fry from the mound before him. They weren't too bad, in actuality. A little bit salty, but that could easily be counterbalanced by the nearby water fountain. As long as he didn't get it all over himself, as he was prone to do.

It wasn't until Maynard was halfway through this latest fry when he finally picked up on what Ian had briefly mentioned. Philosophy, huh? A touchy subject. Just nod, Maynard. That usually works. Or, y'know, you could just not mention-

"Oh, you're interested in philosophy? Tell me more..."
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"Heh. I'll be sure not to! You can be sure of that."

Maynard grinned. He was feeling more at home with the newcomer, and hoped that their fledgling friendship would last for years to come. He could always do with a few more friends, and Ian seemed like a perfect one.

"Oh, you're welcome. No need to thank me, really. I thought I'd welcome the newcomer for once. Never know what'll happen, do you? Oh and, yeah...the fries are a bit salty. I'd go over to the fountain, but I'd probably trip over or get it all over myself. I don't suppose you have a water bottle with you?"

Maynard shifted in his seat. You ought not to sit so stiffly.

"Hmm...that does sound pretty interesting. We should discuss it in depth sometime! D'you think you could lend me some of your...philosophical texts?"

Okay, you've officially solidified yourself as a nerd, Maynard. The other guys exchange porno mags, and you exchange fantasy novels and essays. Wow. And now, onto anime again. Maynard hoped Ian would like it if he got around to watching or reading any of it. It didn't really matter though, he thought. They had fantasy, and that was enough. Right?

"Hmm...well like I said, there's Black Butler, that's one of my favourites. It's about a twelve-year-old in Victorian England who works for the queen, and he and his butler have adventures. There's also his other servants - a maid, a gardener, and a cook - and his fiancée, as well as a few other recurring characters. It's a really good read. There's also Death Note as well, but that series is quite depressing, really. Well, that comes with the territory with a story about a teenager who gets a book in which he can write anybody's name, which consequently kills them. What else is there...there's also the more popular ones, like Naruto and One Piece and Bleach. There's so much stuff...it's difficult to find where to start."

Maynard paused to breathe. He wasn't often the giver of long speeches - especially ones with people he didn't know very well - so he was quite proud of himself. A little bit nervous as well, though. Had he been too enthusiastic? Was there such a thing as too much enthusiasm? Probably.
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Maynard gulped happily from the bottle as Ian passed it to him, until he realised that he'd drained it considerably more than he'd intended.

"Uh...sorry...kinda got carried away there, I guess. Heh."

He slowly slid the bottle back towards the other poor, and adjusted his seat. He was feeling more at home now. It was good. Awkwardness had followed Maynard since he was a little boy, and any attempts at dispelling it had always ended in disaster. Usually. A certain encounter with a certain door had proved that much. But now...things were different. Ian seemed a good kid, one that Maynard was sure to be good friends with.

He clasped his hands in excitement when Ian offered to lend him a book or two on philosophy. This was going so great! "Oh, I'm interested in anything, really. Sometimes I think I cling far too much to fantasy and stuff, so anything that you think'd be good I'll be all over."

There. Vagueness. Vagueness always helped. Well, not really. Sometimes. Occasionally.

He nodded as Ian briefly commented upon Christianity. That should be interesting. Most of my friends are Atheists, I think. It'd be good to have some variety in there. Besides, Ian was a nice guy, and didn't seem the sort to rant on about his beliefs. Maynard couldn't stand those people, no matter what side of the argument they were on. Not that I can complain that much. Twelve. Vegetarian. Remember, Maynard?

Still, even if Ian did somehow degenerate into someone like that, Maynard knew that all you needed to do was smile and nod. Dont even know why I'm thinking about that. He won't be. He's sweet and nice and just 'cause someone's nice to me doesn't mean that they're really mean inside.

Just as he meant to reply to Ian's next question, the shrill clanging of the school bell filled the cafeteria. Those eating began to either file out or mill around, hoping for a few spare minutes of freedom before being forced back to class. Maynard waved a farewell to Ian before placing his belongings back into his bag and following suit.
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