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Land of Milk and Honey, Don't Fail Me Now; shy kid 2x combo
Topic Started: Mar 29 2016, 03:12 PM (635 Views)
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And I am still hungry.
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((Cristóbal Morales continued from Hab Da Sleepover))

Cristóbal didn't normally indulge in sweets too much, but a student council bake sale on the grounds right after baseball practice? That was too good to pass up, even if it would be super crowded. He knew for a fact that there was an out-of-the-way picnic table around the side of the building that was usually unoccupied thanks to how it got chilly in the shade, so that was his destination once he got a snack.

Who knew there were so many different kinds of brownie you could make? Cristo certainly hadn't, and he found himself standing there and looking over the selection for far longer than he'd anticipated. He didn't want to hold up the line, so eventually he decided to just go for the tried and true walnut brownie and handed over a couple dollars. A little steep for just one brownie, but he supposed that was how fundraisers worked.

Sugary snack obtained, Cristo made a beeline for his hiding spot around the corner so that he could sit and savor the chocolaty goodness undisturbed while he waited for his mom to get through at work and come to pick him up. The first bite into the brownie confirmed that his money had been well-spent, and he sighed contentedly as he leaned over the table and thought about nothing in particular. Class had gone okay, and the team was shaping up well; if things kept going the way this practice had, they could look forward to a strong season.

All in all, it was a pretty good day so far, even if he had quite a bit of homework to take care of once he got home. He felt as if he could even doze off a little bit once he finished his brownie. He doubted anyone would be inclined to take his baseball equipment if he closed his eyes for a bit.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Cristo hadn't meant to actually doze off completely, but it seemed he had. He was nudged back towards awareness by that sense that you get when someone is next to you, like a brief shadow flickering past his closed eyelids. He started somewhat, but fortunately not too much. That would have been embarrassing.

Someone had taken a seat at the table opposite him. Not anyone he recognized immediately, nor his mom having arrived and come to collect him, like he'd briefly thought. Had somebody been planning to set up at this table and he'd taken it? He hoped not.

"Erm..." Cristo absently rubbed the back of his hand over his eyes to clear them as he regarded the other boy. If he hadn't accidentally stolen somebody's seat, he couldn't imagine what this guy might want from him. "Do you..." No, 'do you need something' might come off as confrontational if he opened with that.

"I mean, can I help you? I'm not in your seat, am I?"
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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"Oh, gotcha." Cristóbal wasn't used to being the less nervous party in an encounter, especially when it involved someone he'd never met before, but that seemed to be the case here. Or maybe lingering sleepiness was to blame. Either way, the other boy seemed more on edge than he was at the moment.

It was hard to decide if that was good or bad; good because Cristo wasn't stuttering or making a fool of himself, bad because he was so often the unsure one that he didn't really know what to do to set other people at ease when their positions were reversed. He didn't want to just sit in awkward silence though, and he had no inclination to try and kick someone out of a seat that he himself had no claim to in the first place, so small talk seemed the way to go.

"I don't like crowds either, if that's what you mean. That's why I'm over here too, so I can just wait for my mom to pick me up." He chewed his lower lip for a moment and let his eyes drift away from the other boy as he considered if there was anything else to say. "...Are you waiting for someone?"

"Oh, and I'm Cristóbal. What's your name? I don't think we've spoken before, right?" God, he hoped that was the case. Completely forgetting someone's name and face after talking to them before would be a social blunder he didn't think he could recover from. Then again, the guy hadn't greeted him by name, so they probably hadn't interacted before. Hopefully.

He kind of wished he'd bought a second brownie so he could have something to occupy his attention while he waited for a response. His hands always felt fidgety without something to do when he was talking to people.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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"Nice to meet you too." Cristo offered Maxim what he hoped was a reassuring smile. "I don't mind you sitting here, no. Nobody else usually uses this table, since it's so out of the way and all."

He absently tapped at the picnic table's surface, running his fingertip along someone's initials that had been carved into the wood as he considered how to continue the conversation. "Um, what do you think of the bake sale? If you've already been over to check it out, I mean. I thought it was a pretty good idea to have it after school... and after practice, too. Some of the other guys from the team are hanging around hoping for freebies from people they like." That smile was a little more genuine, born from amusement at his teammates hounding their crushes or friends for snacks.

"Oh, of course that's assuming you like sweets. Some people don't."

Maxim was a little hard to read, but Cristo got the feeling they were more or less in the same boat here. Crowds bad, privacy good. Privacy plus brownies even better, but he should probably watch his sugar intake.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Cristóbal's surprise when Maxim set a matchbox on the table out of nowhere probably showed on his face. It was just such an odd thing to suddenly pull out of your pocket; even the people that he knew who smoked all carried lighters instead of matches. Maybe Maxim was just someone with eclectic tastes like that? The way he spoke was a little old-fashioned, but Cristo had been chalking that up to the fact that English obviously wasn't his first language. Another point of empathy there, English was still hard for him sometimes, and he'd been born in the US even.

"I don't smoke, no. But if you do, you can go ahead." In truth, Cristo found smoking to be a distasteful habit, be it cigarettes or other drugs, but this was public property and all. His personal aversion to it was largely because of what it did to the body, but it wasn't his place to lecture someone on their health and habits.

Still, he couldn't help but picture those photos of diseased lungs that the anti-drug seminars they had in school loved to show. He shuddered a little bit at the thought of it. As an athlete, a part of his body getting destroyed in that way was one of his worst nightmares.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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...Well, then.

Cristo turned to watch the matchbox sail away, eventually landing in some unremarkable patch of grass. Maxim had quite the throwing arm, it turned out. He wasn't sure what to make of the other boy's erratic behavior, but he felt responsible, in a way. Maybe this was the way that Abby felt all the time, with the animals and people that she took it upon herself to care for. All of that "What Would Jesus Do" philosophy, though she wouldn't call it that herself.

Well, he knew what Abby would do in this situation.

He turned back to Maxim, considering his words carefully. He almost backed out of saying anything, but he forced himself to go through with it. He supposed he was responsible in a way, since his attempts at putting Maxim at ease has clearly fallen flat, so now it was up to him to smooth things out again.

"Please don't take this the wrong way, but... is something going on? Are you okay? I know it's probably not my place to ask, but if there's something you want to talk about, I can listen." Cristo made sure to keep his voice even and soft, not pushing too hard for Maxim's response.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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There was something there, yes. Maxim was dancing around the subject, but there was definitely something going on under the surface. Cristóbal wasn't sure if it would be right for him to try and dig for it, but he felt like he was making progress on some front all the same.

"You're welcome, I suppose?" He didn't sound so sure of it himself. "I mean, of course you are, but I didn't..." Didn't what? Didn't think he was doing something worth thanking him for? He supposed that was true, though it was still nice to be thanked for trying to help. Cristo shook his head. "I don't really know what I'm saying, sorry. But I don't mind you being here, really. Don't worry about it."

He tilted his head to the side, thinking. There was a conversation going now, and he had to keep up the momentum. He wasn't sure what was appropriate and what wasn't, with whatever was going on in Maxim's head. He seemed fragile, and Cristo wasn't used to being the one who had to coax others into comfortable interaction.

"...Talking to people is hard, isn't it?"
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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"You're doing fine."

Three words that meant a lot to Cristo. They probably meant a lot to anyone who looked out on the world and found it full of obstacles, day after day. That was why he offered them sincerely, with a smile.

"I think... everyone has their own issues, you know? So you shouldn't feel bad about whatever yours might be. I try not to, and sometimes it works." Self-deprecation felt like the right way to go, maybe set Maxim at ease more if he got that this was something unusual for both of them, striking up conversation with an effective stranger.

"But we don't have to keep talking about that, if you don't want to. If you were going to get something from the bake sale, what would it be?"
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Consciously or not, Cristóbal had made the decision that he was just going to try and take everything Maxim said or did in stride. The other boy was clearly unused to talking to people at length, possibly even moreso than Cristo himself. So he just nodded along absently when Maxim asked him to disregard his outburst and instead focused on what they were saying.

"Muffins are always a good bet, especially the kind with fruit. I don't know about scones being at this bake sale, but I'm pretty sure there's a place or two downtown that sells them. One of those family bakeries, if you ever check those out."

He mused for another moment on the various baked goods that had graced his life over the years. It was a somewhat dangerous train of thought, what with the increasing likelihood that he'd be tempted to go and spend more money on another snack. "Cookies are always good, as long as they're not stale. Some people complain about the ones that have raisins in them, but I like raisins so they've never bothered me." People got pretty... invested in their opinions on whether or not cookies should have raisins. Cristóbal had never quite understood the need some people had to make a point about the most mundane things.

"Oh, and cakes. I saw a few when I was walking around. Don't know if any of them would be anything besides vanilla or chocolate, but the bakeries around town can make some pretty good varieties."
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Cristo's surprise showed once again at Maxim's sudden request, but it wasn't unpleasant surprise. People didn't often invite him to go do things, especially not just out of the blue like this. It was unexpected, yes, but a rather nice feeling nonetheless.

"Well, I'm waiting for my mom to pick me up right now, so I can't really go running off anywhere. But there's no baseball practice this weekend and I don't have any plans, so I could maybe show you around some of the shops downtown...?"

He was indeed very familiar with Kingman's selection of bakeries. Maybe his sweet tooth wasn't as prominent as it had been when he was a little kid, but Cristo still loved to indulge in sweets and pastries every now and then. He ran through his mental checklist of the shops that he knew of; a lot of them were in the historic part of downtown, and fairly close enough together so that it was possible to walk from one to the other. It sounded like a good afternoon, to be sure.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Cristo shrugged with one shoulder, a nonverbal "maybe, maybe not" in answer to Maxim's latest question. The guy sure did love his questions. "There'll be some people, but usually if you go after lunch hours end, you can avoid the rush. Two o'clock or so is slower."

He supposed that Maxim didn't often get invited to things either, or invite people to do things with him. A solitary sort of guy, clearly. Hard to tell if he was that way of his own volition or if he avoided people out of convenience, like Cristóbal did. It wasn't that he didn't like people, he just had little to no idea what to do with most of them when they were around. It was a puzzle he'd never quite been able to work out, save for with one or two individuals.

"Some of the places also do soup and sandwiches, or other lunch plates, that kind of thing. It's nice to stop by for a break if you've been out shopping or something. Of course, you can always just get a muffin or something too, if you've already had lunch or just aren't in the mood."
Edited by backslash, May 25 2016, 10:00 AM.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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Cristo grinned at that, a rare full smile that showed his teeth. "Sure." He reached across the table and clasped Maxim's hand in his. He was a fairly big guy, and Cristóbal's hand was almost swallowed in his. It almost seemed funny in some way, but that was more likely a result of Cristo's buoyant mood at the moment.

"It's a deal. I'll show you all the baked goods you can handle." And just in time too, as a beat-up green Chevrolet rolled into view in the corner of Cristo's vision. "Oh, and that's my mom. I should go now, but it was nice to meet you, Maxim." He released Maxim's hand and stood, gathering up his things before stepping away from the table and turning to leave.

He threw a wave back at the other boy before fully turning away. "I'll see you this weekend, then!" With that, he jogged off to meet his mom's car, just a bit more jovial than usual.
Edited by backslash, Jun 18 2016, 01:15 PM.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."
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