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Zach slid up onto the table, shoulders slouched, with his legs dangling over the edge. He had that look on his face. The kind Gentry knew he should look away from.
To any normal person, it might have looked as if he were down in the dumps… But Gentry knew better.
“Did my comments help?” he asked quietly, although the answer didn’t interest him.
“Yeah, they did.” Came the disinterested answer.
One of his sneakers bumped against Gentry’s knee, which earned him a light shove and the tight-lipped question,
“Are you trying to be cute?”
“I don’t have to try.”
“—It doesn’t suit you.” Gentry crossed his arms, looked away. “So. The comments helped? Good, that means you learned something.”
Zach gave him a leveling glare, and spat,
“… Just that Wuthering Heights sucks more than I thought it did.”
That’s more like it, Gentry thought to himself.
“I re-wrote an already-shitty essay about the signifigance of weather in a horrible book with horrible characters who would be horrible people in real life. Heathcliff is a bitch, Katherine is a psycho; and there isn’t anything great or romantic about them. If they were alive today, they’d be in some hospital for the criminally insane. The only thing the weather proves is that it was too weak to kill them off early.”
Gentry looked away with a sheepish close-lipped grin, which only seemed to make Zach more flustered. He knew that look. He knew it damn well.
“I shouldn’t have read the whole book. I knew what it would be about from the first page, and I knew I’d hate it.”
“You’d prefer a story abour nice, rational people perfectly content with their lives.”
“No.” Zach shot immediately, then added sharply, “I wouldn’t read any story because real things are better and movies are faster and if this was a movie, it would suck because there’s too much drama. These characters act like they’re in high school! Why can’t Katherine, Heathcliff, and the other fucked up breeders just behave like civilized human beings?”
“Because that defeats the point.”
“What’s the point?”
Gentry thought for a moment, slouching in his seat and burying a hand in his smooth red hair, pulling at it in frustration. Zach watched him closely, trying to arch his neck and catch a glimpse of his eyes.
“…Do I want to know?”
“Real life doesn’t have a point until people give it one. Books give meaning to life, that’s culture. Otherwise we’d be like animals.”
“We are like animals.” Zach argued, taking his book out and slamming it down. “The people in this book act like animals. And this book is definitely not my culture; There is no Estonian in it.”
Gentry sighed, “Why do we always argue argue argue…”
“I’m not arguing.”
“Yes you are. You’re always arguing.”
He was cut off by a knock on the glass door.
Gentry immediately looked up to see Mikey’s face pressed to the glass. He made a face which Zach missed when he turned to limply wave at him, grinning as he slid off the desk and tugged open the door. Gentry thought this was annoying, since he’d enjoyed the view.
“There goes sneaking up on you. Why do you lock this?” asked Mikey, drawling out each word while Gentry’s enthusiasm darkened to extreme annoyance.
“To keep people like you out.” Gentry muttered, but Zach talked over him,
“It’s easier to study when there’s privacy. You’re here early…”
Mikey leaned in to peck his lips, “Mmm, yeah, I am. GSA event got out early…”
He slung an arm around Zach’s shoulders, then stiffly said, “Hey, Gentry. How’s life treating you?”
“Never been better.”
Then the bell rang.