2007-02-19: Ages And Tomes


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Summary: T.C. and Mara both have their books out, but neither get much reading done.

Date It Happened: February 19th, 2007

Ages and Tomes


A cozy little place, here; this bookstore is a far cry from large corporate chains. Perhaps a touch frustrating for those /used/ to large corporate chains — the books (both new and secondhand) are inventoried according to some unknown whim of the owner, and varied genres jostle each other on the shelves. Queer theory finds unexpected neighbors in harlequin romance novels, military biography looks surprised to find itself rubbing shoulders with genetics texts. The clientele are as diverse as the available book choices — young and old, businessmen, artists, punks, students; they share little outside of a love of books. Curled, then, this evening, on one side of a couch in the reading area, there is one (1) T.C. Davis; the teenager's heavily-loaded backpack rests up against the side of his sofa. Jeans-clad legs are curled up beneath him. There is a heavy textbook resting on his lap, and a spiral-bound notebook open as well, although for the moment his pencil has been put aside and he is distracting himself from Real Work with a graphic novel of some type. From time to time he casts a somewhat guilty look to his notebook. His notes are not taking themselves.

A woman with dark hair enters the book shop with her own book tucked into a messenger bag. She makes a point of showing it to the clerk so that when she leaves with it without paying later, he won't think there's anything funny going on. She grabs the first two romance novels she can find off the shelf and then parks herself down near the not-quite-studying teenager. The trashy novels are set aside in favour of the hardcover book she procures from her bag and starts paging through. The woman, whose shiny silver name badge pinned to her vest reads "K.L. Damaris," appears to be skimming a copy of "Activating Evolution" by author Chandra Suresh.

T.C.'s eyes flit towards the newcomer with idle interest; the interest becomes much less idle when he notices the cover of her book. Suddenly, his comic is not nearly as fascinating. His head tilts to one side, thoughtful. His gaze lifts briefly to study the face of the woman reading the book.

Mara seems to feel the eyes on her and she lifts her own to peer at the boy. She offers him a smile, lips parting to show a gap in her teeth that makes her seem rather innocent or unassuming.

Unassuming as the smile is, T.C. blushes furiously once his attention is noticed. "Sorry," he mumbles hastily. "I just — you were —" But he doesn't finish his sentence. His grey eyes drop abruptly back to his comic. He frowns at it. Reluctantly, he closes it and pulls his notebook into his lap instead. Even so, once his pencil is back in hand, he does not manage to get back to studying. His gaze slides sideways back to Mara.

Mara watches the boy's flustered display with a wider smile. "I was just what," she asks quietly after he finally looks at her again. "I don't bite. Go ahead. Ask me what you were gonna ask." Now that is a strange accent indeed. Part British and part southern drawl.

"Nothing," T.C. replies with a deeper blush. "I'm bad at remembering not to stare. Your book. I get interested." He lifts his head to look at Mara properly, his expression sheepish. His hand lifts to rub at the back of his neck. "Sorry. It's rude."

"Naw, darlin'. You're not bein' rude." The woman dogears her page and reaches out to the boy with one hand to shake. "I'm Mara. I just picked up this book a couple weeks ago. It sounded interestin'. 'Ave you read i'?"

T.C. reaches over to take her hand, his grip firm and his handshake brief. "Uh, I've — no. I skimmed. It's on my list." He tilts the textbook on his lap up towards her so she can see it — the book he is currently taking notes from is a heavy genetics tome. "Pre-med," he explains awkwardly. "I'm sort of a geek when it comes to —" Well, everything, really, but his hand waves towards Mara's book. "How — how're you finding it? As interesting as it sounded?"

"I think so," Mara muses, resting her now-free hand over the cover. "I wish I had more time to devote to it. But so far, so good. I can't wait to really get into it."

"Yeah, that's sort of why I —" T.C. shrugs a shoulder. "I mean I've just always got so much work to do. No time to really pay as much attention as I'd like to other things. But I've heard the book is kind've, well —" He breaks off, fidgeting uncomfortably where he sits. His brow creases. His hand drops to tap his fingers against the cover of the graphic novel he had been reading — it is one of Alan Moore's /Watchmen/ series. "About as grounded in fact as this is."

"If it were completely factual, it wouldn't be theory." Mara looks down at her book with a thoughtful expression. "If nothing else, it makes for a great way to kill time."

"Well, yes," T.C. agrees with a slight frown down at the comic book. "But where's the line between legitimate scientific theory and – whimsy?"

"Probably somewhere between this and black hole theory," Mara jokes. "How's pre-med treatin' ya? Lot of research and stuff?"

There's a small smile at this, and T.C. tips his head in a nod. "Lots. What's it you do? When you aren't reading fanciful scientific — er. Theories." The last word is offered somewhat grudgingly.

"I used to study law at Oxford," Mara offers. "It sounds more interesting than it actually was."

"I thought about there. My folks would've pitched a fit if I'd left the /country/ instead of just the state." For a moment, T.C.'s attention returns to his notetaking. Belatedly, it occurs to him to ask, puzzled, "Did you not finish? Or are you doing something unrelated? The way you phrased that was —" His hand waves again. Vague. This not-finishing-sentences thing is rather a habit.

"No, I didn't finish. Like I said, it sounds more interesting than it actually was. Legal research was boring. But you have to know how to research if you're going to stand up in front of a courtroom and put the bad guys in prison." Mara shakes her head and smiles faintly. "That was a long time ago."

T.C. frowns again. "It couldn't have been /that/ long ago."

"I'm almost thirty," the woman admits quietly, opening her book up again. "Seems like an age, some days. And others, it seems like yesterday."

"Age," T.C. echoes, quiet and somewhat puzzled. "A great length of time. No, no. Not right at all. — Though I guess that's relative." He shrugs. "Yesterday would also be an inaccurate evaluation of the length of time passed," he states thoughtfully. "— Unless you /were/ in England yesterday?"

"Nah.. It's been a while since I visited England," Mara says softly, tracing her fingers over the pages in front of her without reading. "It's been well over ten years since I studied at Oxford. I graduated from Cornell, though."

"You went from Oxford to Cornell?" There is a slight trace of bemusement in T.C.'s tone, mingled with a subtle — /something/ else. Disdain, perhaps. It is faint. "Huh."

"Don't look at me like that," Mara says defensively. "Oxford's bloody expensive! My parents attended Cornell together, so I don't really see the problem in following their footsteps…" Although her tone suggests perhaps that she is ashamed she couldn't continue to study at Oxford.

"It is that," T.C. allows, and if the disdain in his tone had been faint, at least the apology in his upward glance towards Mara now is clear enough. "Sorry." His hand rubs at the back of his neck again, and once more he tries to pull his attention back to his notes. His head shakes abruptly, and he pulls his backpack up onto the couch to start putting his things away. "I am really never going to get my work done if I stay here. I am only too happy to take all the distractions I can get."

Mara watches the boy pack his things and seems neutral to his impending departure. Maybe a little disappointed, even. "My apologies. Good luck with your studies."

"Not — no. Not your fault. It's good. I mean." T.C. shrugs awkwardly and hoists his backpack onto his back — it seems too heavy for his skinny frame, and he leans forward somewhat to compensate for its backwards pull on him. "I mean talking to you. Was good. Which makes it bad! Because then I want to do that and not study."

Mara nods and waves a hand in farewell and dismissal. "Glad you enjoyed yourself. Take care."

T.C. simply nods, his hands curled around the straps of his backpack as he scurries out of the store.

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