"It's just hilarious how everything has to always be about you. Hell, he's going shopping and it isn't even about him. It's still somehow about you." Chloe had worked in the service industry enough to be able to spot different types of customers. Awsten reminded her of an overly controlling parent. People like that would come in frequently and try to treat their children like mannequins. It infuriated her. "It's incredible, really. I've never seen anything like it."
"I have no idea what you're talking about." Awsten had never viewed himself as self centered, let alone narcissistic. Sure, he had his moments of being selfish here and there but who didn't? He viewed his behavior as typical. It was quite possible that Awsten was unaware of how he came off to others although Chloe rejected that idea. He was self aware and just didn't care.
"'Geoff! I'm hungry!' 'Geoff! No stripes! I don't like the way they make you look and you're standing next to me so you're a reflection of me!'" Chloe's impersonations of the other were almost spot on but Awsten practically rolled his eyes at the over dramatization of it. That was not how he sounded. "It's kind of sad you know. He has the potential to be so much more than just your sidekick." It's almost like he's player two and not player one. Awsten didn't say it out loud but god, did he want to. Geoff's presence silenced the arguing.
"It does nothing for you."
"I love it."
Their opinions contrasted almost as much as their personalities. The only thing the pair seemed to share was an interest in the well-being of the boy standing in front of them. Geoff was wearing a black and white tie dye tank top and although he was getting positive affirmation from one of the two people who were there, he didn't like it at all. It didn't suit his frame and made him feel body conscious.
"I don't like it." It wasn't up for debate. The words exited Geoff's mouth as he returned to the cubical, ridding himself of the unflattering shirt. Awsten sat in silence next to Chloe. He didn't want to give her the satisfaction of a reply. That's what he had told himself anyway. He was starting to think that Chloe was just one of those people who argued just to hear the sound of their own voice. When Geoff emerged, Chloe suggested she take the two of them to the cash. Geoff quickly accepted the offer.
As Chloe took the pair to the checkout, Geoff heard another song. It was different than the one he had heard twenty minutes earlier. He craned his head around the store, trying to find someone moving slower than everyone else. He found nothing. As they walked, he noticed the soundtrack sounded more sad then anything else. He nudged Awsten, attempting to get the other boy's attention.
"Do you hear that?"
"Ariana?" Awsten was stating the obvious. The high pitched pop star's song was being blasted in the store. Geoff wasn't sure of the name but if he had to guess, he thought it might be called Into You. "Please tell me you know who that is." Geoff was shocked. First Awsten didn't hear the song playing in the change room and now he wasn't even aware of the one currently playing. Were Awsten's ears broken? Had they not made a large enough donation? Geoff didn't know what was going on anymore and it definitely didn't help that Chloe was within earshot.
"Um, yeah." Geoff couldn't explain the situation now, just like he couldn't back in the dressing room. Even if Chloe wasn't a foot in front of them, there was a ton of people around. The mall was packed. It was a Saturday in August. Every teenager within ten miles was crammed into the mall. Geoff wasn't sure if it was for back to school shopping or not. He graduated a long time ago and never bothered to remember when classes started back up for kids. "She's great." Awsten brows furrowed together.
"Since when do you like Ariana Grande?" Awsten had come home to Geoff on more than one occasion listening to bands like Linkin Park and Sum-41. He had yet to come home to his newfound roommate blasting bubblegum pop. That was more of Awsten's style. There had been a morning or two where Geoff had woken up to Awsten's phone alarm blasting Ke$ha. Geoff was thankful that they had reached the cash and didn't have to maintain his poorly constructed lie.
Chloe rang the two boys up personally, allowing them to cut the decent sized line that had formed. Awsten wasn't usually one for cutting in line but he had decided that he had hit his yearly Forever 21 limit and needed to get out as soon as possible. Chloe was surprisingly fast at ringing through all the clothes. When Awsten saw the bill, his bank account scarpered.
It was two hundred and thirteen dollars which by itself, would've been fine. It was just they had gone to a few stores prior and already spent three hundred and thirty. He pulled out his credit card and paid with no complaints. Geoff would have to pay him back.When the receipt came out, Chloe spent far too much time circling and highlighting the bottom of the receipt.
"If you need anymore help, you know where to find me." Chloe slide the receipt into one of the large, grotesquely yellow bags. Awsten grabbed both bags despite the sting in his arms. He wasn't entirely sure that he would be able to lift his weights properly when he got home. Then again, he hadn't missed a day in months.
"Thanks again." Geoff's smile caused a ripple effect. Chloe followed. "For everything." Geoff looked towards the other boy. Awsten returned the smile. "That applies to you too." Geoff hadn't really had the opportunity to sit Awsten down and thank him for everything he had done for him. He wasn't sure how.
Both of them were looking at Geoff before they turned their attention to each other. Awsten's arms were full of bags but that didn't stop his hand from grabbing Geoff's arm and leading him out of the store. Geoff called a goodbye over his shoulder through a fit of laughter. He didn't hear if Chloe replied. He didn't care. That's what he had told himself.
On the way home was when it hit Geoff. He tuned out the dull whine of Awsten's voice and instead reached into the large yellow bag, fishing out the receipt. Despite Awsten's certainty of there being a phone number, he was still surprised. In neat cursive writing, a string of ten numbers and her name were written at the bottom of the receipt. Chloe. He thought back to the moment he heard a burst of music, interrupting his thoughts in the change room. He remembered how he came out to the two of them and noticed no one of importance, at least to Awsten.
She didn't have a heart on her chest because she wasn't meant for Awsten. She was meant for Geoff. If Chloe was for me then that means- His mind wandered to the second song playing, another one that Awsten was unable to hear. Both songs had sounded less upbeat than the ones he had heard previously. The one after they had left the change room had a different tone to it. For some reason, it made Geoff more sad than it should have. Awsten had encountered his first rival and was incredibly unaware. Almost as unaware as his defeat.
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Game Over. Continue? // gawstenScience Fiction
Geoff dies. His tombstone is inscribed with "Game Over. Continue?" and a slot for coins. Awsten finds it, puts in a coin and Geoff bursts out of the grave. #1 in gawsten 1/12/19 #12 in geoff wigington 11/01/18 #13 in awsten knight 11/01/18 #16 in wa...