I slipped in unnoticed. My boots and hat clashed against the normal black polo uniform. It helped with the disguise.
I snuck around bookshelf after bookshelf looking for the present. After selecting the right gift I yank my dress down, hike my boots up and head in the direction the main desk to pay. I'm prepared for the awkward conversations that will start, when the bookstore employees pretended to actually like other people. Or at least the low-paid hoodlum cafe workers, which I used to a part of.
I get helped by Sue. She was personally my favorite, we go through the usual chit-chat. She asks when I graduate, my plans for the future, and if I'll ever come back.
Then she asks me where I was last summer.
Portugal, I say, researching.
The eyes of all three workers behind the desk shoot up. They are judging me. I'm not a hoity-toity east-sider like they are. I'm not allowed to have adventures like this. I don't have money. I don't belong there.
Despite their best looks, I walked out on top of the world. Because I was out having adventures and saving the world, they just get to read about that kind of thing.