Dutchy shook his head and scowled at his homework. "What I don't get," he said, drawing a line through twenty minutes worth of work, as Specs had finally taken pity and explained how he'd gone wrong at the very beginning of the problem, "is why this matters anyway."
"Excuse me?" Specs glanced up from Hamlet. "Why what matters? --That's an eight, not a six."
"Damn." Dutch clarified his handwriting. "I just don't get why I need to learn this stuff anyway. No one really uses it ever."
"Sure they do. Like... architects can't build bridges without knowing how much weight they'll hold, and this is the stuff they do to figure it out."
"Right, but what are the odds I'll be an architect?" Specs opened his mouth to answer, but Dutchy cut him off. "Please don't tell me you have a way to calculate that."
"Nope. I was just going to point out that that's a seven, not a four, that you're supposed to be multiplying."
"Damn it. But do you see my point? I'm not going to be an architect, so why should I learn this--that's a nine, right?--if I'll never use it?"
Specs sighed, sat down his book, and kicked his feet up on the table. Dutchy noted his socks had faint blue lines across the toe seam.
"Well, what do you want to do?"
"If you're so sure you wont' need math, what is it you're sure you want to do?"
"Uh... No idea."
"Then how do you know you won't ever need to know this?"
Dutchy considered. "I hadn't thought about it like that," he finally said. "But I"m pretty sure it won't depend on understanding whatever the hell I'm supposed to be doing in this problem, because if it does, I'll probably get fired."
Specs laughed at that, and Dutchy noticed that when Specs laughed, it seemed like some of his pretentiousness--was that the right word?--faded, and he looked like a not-so-bad, ordinary guy, with a great deep laugh and a surprisingly cute smile. It was kind of a shame he laughe dand smiled so rarely.
Which gave Dutchy another thought.
"Hey, Specs, take off your glasses for a sec."
"Just do it, come on, please?" Dutchy shot him a pleading smile, and fluttered his eyelashes.
"Uh... Okay. I guess." And moving like he was nervous, Specs reached up to take off his specs.
Dutchy turned to face him, leaned in close, almost nose-to-nose. He could feel Specs' breath, but just stared into his eyes, not noticing.
"Dutchy?" Specs finally asked, his voice slightly higher pitched than normal.
"You're eyes," Dutchy said, finally backing away. "They're neat. Hazel-y, kind of, but they've got this cool gold ring around them."
"Oh," Specs said, and after a minute of quiet slid them back on. "Uh, thanks?"
Dutchy shrugged. "You should get contacts so people can see. No one bothers to look past your glasses to notice."
Note to self: this becomes a stupid metaphor for Specs's personality and includes an argument over the use of the word "superfluous". I crack me up.