Here was the thing.
The thing was that Elliot had been waiting two damn years to be able to go to Pearl Street, and neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night (except curfew because he didn’t want to get locked out of the school overnight, thanks) would keep him from going there. So even though it was freezing Elliot was damn well going to appreciate the great outdoors like he’d never appreciated them before.
It wasn’t the outdoorsness he appreciated so much as it was the fact that there were new things to look at and people to see with whom he didn’t sit in the classroom and dining hall every day. So every now and then, Elliot ducked into the weird little tchotchke shops to warm up and interact with people there instead. It had the double bonuses of a) he didn’t have to freeze his ass off outside and 2) (he forgot how he was counting halfway through) he could people-watch the kind of people who were willing to venture outside their house during an ice age to buy tchotchkes. Most of them were the kind of white people who wore dreads and wanted to know if the knick-knacks were ethically-sourced.
And one of them, today, was Tycho.
“Depends, are you trying to make up for something, or just Christmas shopping?” Elliot grinned. It was probably the second one, because Tycho couldn’t have gotten in trouble without Elliot. Unless he was failing or something. But Addi didn’t seem like the kind of parent who gave a single damn about grades. No, it was probably just because it was present season.
“Your mom would probably like anything you give her,” Elliot predicted. Tycho’s mom was like that. Elliot’s mom was not like that. She would pretend to like things, especially if you’d made it, but she didn’t pretend too hard. “My mom always just gets herself something and writes our name on it like it’s from us.” That was totally fine with Elliot because then he didn’t have to do anything. It was like how Uncle Logan would just give Mama thirty bucks for his nephew and niece’s birthdays and tell her to get them something from him, but then Mama just gave them the money and said Uncle Logan had gotten them “a $30 gift card to anywhere.” Everyone got what they wanted.