A Chance Encounter of the Nerdy Kind


kendall_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title A chance encounter of the nerdy kind
Synopsis Kendall and Ygraine meet while surrounded by old books. He asks her if she comes here often, and she responds with geekery and moralising. Life as normal.
Date February 15 2010

Castle Tomes

A second-hand and antiquarian book store.

It's a cold, clear, bright day - the sort that has people huddling into scarves while sporting shades and baseball caps, or squinting and ducking their heads against the harsh light of Winter.

An alternative approach has been taken by one visitor to Castle Tomes, however - clad all in black leathers, she waits until she has stepped inside the second-hand bookshop before removing her motorcycle helmet with its heavily-tinted visor. Nodding politely to the grey-haired man perched on a stool behind the counter, she pretends not to be aware of him somewhat dubiously eyeing her over the top of his book as she moves further into the shop, passing between the high stacks.

Kendall is actually reading a book in a bookstore. For shame! He's mostly hidden from view by a shelf, however, so unless the old man actually comes around and seees him he's not likely to be kicked out. He glances up when the door is opened and frowns at the cold wind blowing in briefly, but otherwise doesn't pay attention. Of course, that's likely to change if he caught sight of who walked in all leathered up.

Ygraine slows her pace once out of direct sight of the old man, letting her gaze wander over the array of titles and shelf-labels almost at random, seeminmgly drinking in the pleasure of being surrounded by books - a contented, indulgent smile curling her lips.

Fortunately, she does notice the presence of someone else before she walks into him, though she comes to a halt a little closer to Kendall than might otherwise have been the case. Deciding that this is as good a place as any for a more detailed examination of what's available, she sinks into a crouch - leather creaking gently - and cocks her head as she peers at an array of old atlases, the big volumes set on the bottom shelf of their case.

Kendall is so absorbed in his book that it's not until the creaking of leather is heard that he looks away, and he kinda gapes at the person right next to him. "U-uh, I-I can move if you want.." he stammers, taking a step or two back. Whoa! She's wearing LEATHER.

Ygraine looks up at Kendall, blinking in surprise - before offering him a wry smile, and a slight shake of her head. "There's honestly no need", she assures him, her accent clearly both educated and British.

Whoa that's really hot. She's British. "Er, uh… come here often?" Kendall blurts out, then carefully avoids her gaze with the excuse of looking at the book he's reading. Ahem. "Er, I'm Kendall."

There's a slight pause before Ygraine offers another smile. "Ygraine", she says, the pronunciation she uses impossible for many accents on this side of the Pond. "And no, this is my first time visiting this particular shop."

"That's a… unique name. My name's not unique at all, it was like the top 8 baby names of the early 90s." is Kendall babbling? Why yes, yes he is. And notice how he didn't even attempt to pronounce her name. "Ah… it's a good store. They've got great books here." Lame, lame, lame.

Ygraine's smile turns somewhat lop-sided, though the chuckle that accompanies it is gentle rather than mocking. "Of unknown meaning and uncertain precise origin, first found in early Welsh legends. Arthur's mother is said to have been called Ygraine", she informs him. "Though I apologise if "where's it from" and "what's it mean" weren't questions you had in mind. I'm just used to answering those ones rather a lot in first meetings."

"I actually knew that, I'm a huge fan of myths and legends and that includes King Arthur. I just never met anyone with the name." Kendall shrugs at her as he puts the book he was reading back on the shelf. "Although Gwenhwyfar is a name I've never met. Er, someone named that, I mean. It's too famous."

Ygraine cracks a swift grin, clearly rather surprised to be told that Kendall recognised her name, then shrugs amiably. "I have met a Guinevere - and Jennifers you have probably met. I'm rather fond of the name, myself, I admit."

"Well yeah, but that's really not the same thing." Kendall never thought about Jennifer being a version of Guinevere, to tell by his surprised expression. "Well uh… I'm not sure where my name is from, it might be, uh… well, not gonna say anything because it's probably wrong. So…. not very interesting."

"I'd imagine that it's derived from the place-name", Ygraine muses. "There's a town in Cumbria called "Kendal". Probably an abbreviation of "dale", at a guess, so it'd be the valley of the Kent - a river, most likely."

Catching herself, she shrugs, and coughs sheepishly. "Sorry."

"No worries, that's more than I know." Kendall clears his throat. "Er… what's Cumbria, by the way?" remember, he's an ignorant American. He's from the same country as the Miss America winners who don't know that Alaska is bigger than Texas.

Ygraine blinks, then chuckles. "The North-Western part of England, just across the border from Scotland. One of the parts of England to remain in Brythonic hands longer than most - hence the name, which is related to the Welsh name for Wales. Much of it's really rather beautiful."

"Ah, I figured it was something like that." Kendall nods wisely, or as wisely as a 16 year old could be. "I wouldn't mind going there one day. All of Europe, really. I heard everything is great over there. Well, except the smog of London, it sounds kinda gross."

Ygraine laughs softly. "I think that the last real smog in London was forty-odd years ago. Air quality in much of New York's going to be as bad as anything you find in London - though I'm not fond of the city, myself."

"Oh." wow, way to show ignorance! "Well I guess Beijing is the new bad air capital, what with all that talk in the summer Olympics. Kendall knows world events! Kinda!

With another soft creak of shifting leather, Ygraine pushes herself to her feet, having apparently decided that the atlases can wait for the moment. "I think it's Mexico City", she says a little uncertainly. "But I wouldn't want to swear to it. Certainly not somewhere I'd want to go riding."

"Well, anyway. Both are places I'll probably never go so it doesn't matter all that much." dismissing both capitals, Kendall peeks at what she was looking at. "Wow, you really know a lot."

A surprised laugh, then a bashful shrug. "I… well, yes. But precious little of it is of the slightest use to man or beast", Ygraine says with amusement in her voice.

"Well if I have to say it, you're neither man nor beast so it must be useful to /you/." Is Kendall trying to /flatter/ her? "I mean, well, uh… not trying to be…" sexist?

Ygraine shrugs amiably. "Oh, I'm not sure that it's ever been useful to me… I just enjoy information. Hence, oddly enough, winding up in a second-hand bookshop." She appears to be either oblivious to or ignoring the flattery.

Kendall shrugs. "These places are the best though. They have books that you probably can't find anywhere else. I found a copy of a book once that's out of print, and it was awesome."

Ygraine chuckles softly. "That sort of thing's always fun. Though there are often reasons why things are out of print nowadays, it can be a real delight to find something otherwise only seen in copyright libraries…."

Kendall snorts in contempt. "I bet I know some of the reasons why. Someone, somewhere, gets offended and boycott it or whatever, and it ends up on the List. I've read a few forbidden books actually, and they're not as bad as some people say. At least there's no book burnings here."

Ygraine lifts her brows, then laughs. "Forbidden books? I admit that I've not checked up on the text-censorship in the States. But what gets banned where can certainly be illuminating. No - most books go out of print because they don't sell very well, and most people aren't interested."

Kendall sighs. "I wish the Twilight series suffered that fate, those books are completely awful. But I guess there's enough shallow, idiotic girls in the US that it survived." belatedly, he glances at Ygraine. "Not… that…" oh crap, he might've just eaten his foot.

Ygraine cracks a swift grin, but rather mischievously pauses for a few moments before replying. "Never even held one in my hands", she informs him.

Kendall relaxes as she reassures him he didn't make a faux pas. "Me neither, actually, it's just that everyone I know and respect says practically the same thing about it, so… I have no desire to read it. Plus, there's too much ridicule towards it to take it seriously."

Ygraine shrugs gently. "I'll probably have a glance at one at some point once the hype and hostility alike have died down. But yet another vampire story that's really about 'intimate matters'… that doesn't overly appeal, I confess."

"Not to mention /sparkly/ vampires. That right there is automatically a recipe for disaster." Kendall rolls his eyes. "I mean, there's so many webcomics I read that make fun of it. Applegeeks, Penny Arcade, Weregeek, Two Lumps, VGCats…"

Ygraine's brows gradually drift upwards as the list continues. "I'm afraid that I often take my humour as black as my coffee", she says dryly. "Of those, I've only even glanced at Penny Arcade…"

"Eh, there's millions of 'em out there, I'm not surprised you wouldn't know the same ones I do. I mean, we're, uh… kinda different. And, uh… yeah, different." Kendall glances furtively at Ygraine, then looks away. Right then.

Ygraine studies Kendall for a moment, then chuckles and nods. "That's one way of putting it", she agrees, tone wryly amused. "But I'm different to most people around here, of course."

"Well yeah, you're British. Although if you put it in perspective, there's groups you're automatically a member of. You're female, you like wearing leather, or I assume you do, and you like books…. that's three right there. You also said you read webcomics, so that's another group. Also, you do live in the US, or I assume you do since you said you've come here before, so you automatically share one thing with almost everyone else. And you mentioned liking black coffee, there's a group of people that do too." wow, analyzed much? "You're also, I'd say 20-30 or thereabouts, so that's yet another group." pause. "One I am not a member of." well no, he looks like he'll be legal in about five years.

Ygraine blinks at Kendall in silence for a couple of moments, then cocks her head and chuckles once more. "Mmmm. That's one way - or more than one way - of putting it", she concedes. "Though I might suggest that you be careful of telling women what you think their age might be in future. Some might be offended, depending upon what you guess."
"Ah…. right. Well that's why I said…" well nevermind that. Kendall blushes at the reprimand. "I figured a ten year guess would be okay…"

Ygraine laughs softly, shaking her head. "I'm not offended. Just warning off it as general practice in future", she assures him.

"Oh yeah, I hardly ever do that. A friend of mine does it all the time, and he's an idiot." Kendall shakes his head. "I was just, well… I think about stuff like that all the time."

Ygraine blinks, then quirks a swift smile. "How old women are?", she asks. "Or what sort of groups people fit into?"

"What sort of groups people fit into, or things fitting into others in general. I like figuring out how the world is, even though I don't seem to have a clue as to what it really is like." Kendall shrugs again.

Looking surprised and rather intrigued, Ygraine gives Kendall a rather more serious look. "Really? That's…. unusual. Most people, if they want to learn anything, are just interested in finding out what "the right answers" are, and not at all in figuring out how things work."

"I've always been fascinated by such things. And finding out what works is important if you do any sort of art. You'd think it wouldn't matter with drawing, but you have to balance everything in a picture or it won't look right. This includes light and dark areas. So… things need to fit to make sense to me." Kendall takes a deep breath. "I'm going to be an artist one day, even with…"

"Even with…?", Ygraine enquires after a slight pause. "Or should I not pry into that? I do some painting and drawing myself, though I'm nowhere near professional standard."

"Ah, even with what's going on in New York these days I should say. Evolved people left and right… doing stuff… and…" Kendall trails off. It's almost blatantly obvious he meant to say something else. "That's another grouping." he mutters.

"Uh-huh", Ygraine replies, before she manages to remove the sarcasm from her voice, though she sounds serious rather than amused when she resumes speaking. "If you're serious about figuring out how things work, then keep your eyes open. And if you're going to hang around in this sort of place, make sure to read things that you think you might disagree with, or that look confusing. You're only actually likely learn to think for yourself if you challenge your assumptions."

"Ah… right…. um, well… it's… uh… nice meeting you." all of the sudden Kendall is sounding /really/ nervous, and acting it as well. "Ah… I guess I'll see you around." and then he all but flees from the store.

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