Title: Elaborate Eccentricities

Author: M. Reis AKA Crazywriter, crazywriter@corporatedirtbag.com

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: Homosexual relations, drug use later on.

Disclaimer: Lottie Beier and the other characters in Elaborate Eccentricities, as well as the entire story are copyright Michelle Reis. Don't take them please.

Author's note: Well now, finally getting away from Aleck McGee. Lottie Beier, the main character in this is much different. I agonized over whether to post this story as it's very dear to me in a lot of ways. This story is done in an "you-and-I" format. The "you" changes each chapter and is specified. Please review. I won't update without them, I figure if people can't take the minute to review it, I can't take the minute to upload it. ~smiles sweetly~ Review please and enjoy.

September

One: In Which I Arrive at College:

Forgetting Lessons My Mother Taught Me

"You" Is Mum

I casually walk through the philosophy section of the bookstore. Maybe that was the real best part about moving into the dorms, there's a book store just a three-minute walk away. Three minutes and twenty-four seconds, actually, I timed it. I can almost hear Megan's exasperated voice 'you actually timed the length?' Sometimes I still miss Megan. The same way I miss you and Da, you understand. Megan was my best friend.

But I walk through the philosophy section, pausing to pick up Plato's Republic. I'm tempted to buy it, reminding me why I usually won't walk through the philosophy section; I want to buy everything. But I glance around me, a blonde women, all prim and proper, the kind who I always look at and scoff and think 'she just needs a good ass-fucking'. But the women's picked up a book, I strain to see it. The Anarchist's Cookbook. I bite back a laugh and it's because I realize, maybe you were right, Mum, don't judge by looks.

I glance at the other people around me, there's a punk-looking guy, the kind Da would describe as looking 'like he got into a fight with a nail gun', browsing though one of Rev. Billy Graham's books. With closer examination, I note he's got several 'saved by Jesus'-esque books, tucked under his arm. A teen girl is paging through the Communist Manifesto and a stodgy, middle-aged man, with a beard that reminds me of Da is paging through the Simpson's Guide to Philosophy.

I wonder, almost deviant-like, if they know I don't plan on buying anything. That I just plan to walk through the store, watching people, paging through books. I glance furtively at the guy in a blue polo shirt leaning against the nearest help station. Deviant I am, I know he suspects not that this mild-mannered college student is actually just a book-reading-in-the-store-without-buying hellion. You would roll your eyes at me and tell me I shouldn't use anything I haven't paid for.

Bookstores are actually where I get a great deal of my inspiration, you know. Walking along through the aisles, usually Adult Fiction, running my fingers along the bindings of books and just touching them. Robert Louis Stevenson, Louisa May Alcott, Stephen King, John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, you must note, Mum, that I say Charles like this: Chaw-uls. Sometimes I even venture into the poetry section, all Shakespeare's sonnets, Edgar Allen Poe, John Milton, the poems of Robert Service, hell, the poems of Robert Frost.

The music is something classical or instrumental and it's just so soothing as I flounce through the aisles, gaining reproachful looks from some patrons and the others surveying me the way an aunt or uncle studies their favorite niece.

I sit down in one of the big fluffy chairs to reread portions of Republic. The guy at the help station glances over and I smile charmingly at him. I like him already, Mum, see, he's got sideburns which I always liked. It gives him this kind of I-want-facial-hair-but-this-is-all-the-managers-allow look. It makes him endearing. A vanilla ice cream rebel. He's the kind of guy you'd have wanted me to date, see, but then again, any guy qualified for that, in your mind, any guy would have been better than the girls I saw.

I still hate you for that, Mum. But I'm not dwelling on that now. Well, actually I am. I'm doing what I learned to do when I was six and seven and nineteen and now, twenty-three. I say it all in my head, an internal monologue of sorts. Practicing, if you will, what I would I'd say to you if I wasn't such a gutless coward.

But, that's irrelevant because, I am a gutless coward. I'll stop this tangent now, if you were here, I know what you'd say, 'Oh, Charlotte, don't be so droll, darling, let's be happy'. Of course, you'd never call me what everyone else called me, no matter how much I insisted to be called Lottie, you'd call me Charlotte.

Yeah, well, fuck you, Mum. You know Megan was right…

I'm not a happy person.

Sorry, Mum, I shouldn't be thinking that way, after all, I came here to relax. It's my first day of college away from home, first day of my senior year, and geez, I'm already forgetting everything you taught me growing up.

But it's okay, Mum, no one knows you here, or me, for that matter. It's time for me to be myself. I'm thinking about that as I put back the copy of the Republic and walked into the adjacent coffee shop. Or is it more like a coffee counter? Hell, if I know. Munching on a piece of shortbread and sipping a mocha, I start back for the dorms. Of course, first I set the stopwatch on my watch. I miss Megan being here to tease me about my obsession with time.

I like this feeling of freedom, you must understand that. All my life, it's been you, me, and Da. Well and Jonah, before he died in the…

Well, you know what happened, don't you, Mum?

When Jone died.

I glance down at my stopwatch, it's been four minutes and thirty-nine seconds since I left the shop and I realize I've walked right past the campus. I can hear Megan, fondly grinning at me and calling me a space cadet.

But I see a park up ahead and find a nice tree to sit under. It's nice you know, here and the shade. I like being able to come and go as I please and I'm only a day into it. Going away for senior year was a good move. It was easier living at home for college but so confining. I think I'll like the dorms a lot.

I watch the girls in the park. I'm in love with girls, I like watching them skate by on rollerblades, wearing their midriff tops. Or the girls power-walking. Or the ones like me, lounging underneath their favorite trees. They're a nice distraction. You always told me I was too weak about girls, you know. Always said I should play more coy, harder to get.

And I wake up three hours later. Actually it's been thee hours, twenty-nine minutes and seven seconds since I left the bookstore, or at least, that's what my stopwatch says. I fell asleep. Again, I hear Megan's voice, teasing me fondly, teasing me about how I like to 'zone out'.

I need to stop thinking about Megan. Megan's been gone for a long time now.

Sighing, I stand and brush the grass off my trousers. Time to head back to the dorms, I haven't even met my roommate yet, let alone know her name.

I reset the stopwatch and start walking back. There are leaves on the ground, and they crunch when I step over them. And then I remember I mused about the same thing when I was six.

It's six minutes and forty-two seconds from the park to the dorm. I glance at the room list. Anita McKenzie. The name sounds so familiar…

Oh.

I remember now.

You always told me to leave the past in the past, I reflect as I gasp nervously. But then I guess it's my first day on my own and I'm already forgetting the lessons my mother taught me.