A continuation of “If Will Scarlet Broke the Economy”
By this time, Will would be ready to eat a horse raw, so it would be food court time. A smoothie for me, and maybe some Panda Express. It would be all Will could do to refrain from ordering one of absolutely everything – two, in the case of cookies.
“You know what’s hard?” he’d say, if ever he paused to switch out the inhalation of lunch for that of air. “Self-restraint. Self-restraint is bloody hard, and the bloody point of it is easily forgotten when you feel constantly on the point of starvation.”
“What’s got your metabolism up, dude?” I’d ask – since, when his appetite hits this level of frenzy, there’s usually some sort of emotional trigger behind it. That, or we’re shopping in Fresno and I haven’t eaten enough to suit him, and, oh, Lord have mercy, that aisle has snack cakes in it.
To my surprise, he’d say, “I think it’s you. Shopping with you. It’s exciting.”
Wary face would be wary. “What kind of exciting?”
He’d flash the slightly madder version of his smile. “It’s all the same excitement to me.”
“Yooooou need to learn to differentiate,” I’d assess.
“Yooooou need to not be so awesome,” he’d return.
“I really hadn’t thought I was.” I’d gesture helplessly. It’d be like when someone called Annabelle from INSPIRED a strong character all over again. I don’t think of myself as a strong character, or an awesome one. I’m just a person – and barely that. It feels weird when people make a fuss over me, like I’m not just extraordinary (which I know), but wonderful (which I guess I’m too close to see). Extra weird when that person is one of my characters, since I’ve started to figure that their resenting me is just a matter of course.
Will would make a scornful noise. “Don’t be that MC who’s all, ‘But how could he like me? I’m just me! ’ Nobody wants to read about that.”
I’d lean back in my chair, giving him a look. “So you’re trying to set yourself up as one of the interests in my love triangle, now?”
“The best friend boy next door,” he’d say cheerfully. “Been like a brother to you all this time, until suddenly you notice how cute I’ve gotten.” He’d flex a bicep, feigning shock. “Lord-a-mercy, have I always had these guns??”
“Idiot.” I’d throw a balled-up napkin at him. I’d miss. I’d groan. Laughing, he’d bend down to scoop it off the floor to prevent me from getting up and doing it myself.
“Who’s the third, then?” I’d ask. “In the love triangle. There’s gotta be two hot guys fighting over me, or what will I have to dither over in book two of the trilogy that didn’t need to be a trilogy?” Not to hate on YA literature, but let’s face it; there’s a pattern.
“The Resistance?” Will would suggest innocently. “Whether to stand up to the dystopia or just roll over and become a vampire?”
“Now, now,” I’d say, before this turned into a Twi-bashing party. I happened to enjoy the books, thank you very much.
He’d finish whatever I’d left behind of my Chinese. Mostly peas, probably. “I don’t know who the other guy is. We could try to have Allyn take the part, but I can’t see him cooperating. And anyway, that’d be lame, because we’d all know from page one that you wouldn’t pick him. He’s not your type.”
“You’re not my type.”
Which would result in him being far more bummed-out than I would like and mumbling that it’s time to go home.
I wouldn’t want our mall trip to end like this. It had been such a great day, ‘til now. But I wouldn’t know what to do to get Will’s spirits back up, until a light bulb would click on over my head, powered by the sight of one of those goofy photo booths.
“Hey, Will,” I’d say, tugging on his sleeve. I would point. He would see. His eyes would light up brighter than my overhead bulb.
“Oh, HELL yes!”
In we’d go to take our strip of idiotic pictures. Tongues out. Eyes crossed. Bunny ears over each other’s heads. Probably one where he smashes a kiss to my cheek. Maybe even one where we just look happy and halfway normal. When we got home, I’d tape it to my wall – right between my calendar and the photo manipulation of the Backstreet Boys’ Kevin as LoTR’s Aragorn.
Of everything we bought that day, I don’t think any of it would mean more than that.
[To possibly be continued, if Will happens to compel me to write any more of these.]