Remembering Names Is Pretty Basic Stuff.
It had been a long time since he'd been to the Striaton Gym, much less Striaton City. A little over eight years, to be exact.
"Trip, it's such a pleasure to see you again." Cilan smiled at him congenially. He was tall as a youth, but as an adult, he was a tree. "Here, let me lead you to the back room."
Trip nodded, saying nothing. It had been so long since he'd seen these people. A lot of things had changed. He'd changed.
"I regretfully must inform you that Iris isn't here right now," Cilan continued. "I'm, er, actually not sure where she is. Outside somewhere, I'm sure. You remember her, she's such a… free spirit. I'll find her right away. I'm sure she doesn't want to keep you waiting."
"That's all right," Trip said. "I know I'm early."
Iris was the new Champion. Well, she wasn't exactly new anymore. It had been a year or two since she had assumed Alder's position, becoming the youngest to ever gain the title of Champion at 16.
He was applying to become a gym leader, and she'd arranged for them to meet at the Striaton City Gym. She and the connoisseur were apparently still very good friends, even after all these years.
"Oh, I'm not sure if Iris mentioned it," Cilan said just as he was about to leave, "but there's someone else coming today, too. I think you'll recognize her."
Trip raised his eyebrows. Iris hadn't mentioned it, but he supposed he didn't mind. They could keep each other company while they waited. Besides, if this person was applying to be a gym leader, too, then they at least had to know the basics.
Cilan left, and Trip sat down in one of the several chairs. He twiddled his thumbs in the silence, bored. Where was she?
The door opened a second time, and Trip turned, expecting Iris, but found it was someone else entirely.
"I'm sorry I'm late, I-" She stopped mid-sentence, realizing the Champion she, too, intended to meet wasn't there. She glanced at Trip strangely, who was staring back at her with wide eyes.
"Where's Iris?" she asked.
"Not here," Trip replied, rising to his feet. "Cilan's looking for her."
"How predictable," she said. "Even after becoming the Champion, she's still the same old lazy girl from when we were kids."
She sighed and shook her head. Trip was still watching her, examining her features. She was no longer a girl, that was for sure. Her hair had grown out since they'd last met, but he'd recognize those teal eyes anywhere.
She cocked an eyebrow at him.
"Can I help you?" she asked. Same familiar sarcastic tone, too.
"Georgia," he emphasized her name, thinking perhaps it would jog her memory if she realized they had met before.
"Yeah?" It didn't.
"Don't you remember me?" he asked. She stared, and he let out an exasperated sigh as he shrugged. "So much for that. You'd think remembering someone's name would be pretty basic."
That did it.
"Oh shit," she blinked, a light of realization in her eyes. She then grinned. "Oh shit. Trip!"
Trip was surprised when she pulled him in for a quick hug, and at first, he didn't know how to react. He awkwardly put his arm on her back to reciprocate.
"Hold up, you look good," she smirked after pulling away, giving him a once-over. "You've grown up! How old are you now?"
"Ah… 18." He wasn't expecting this type of response from her at all, and it was making his brain stumble, much to his annoyance.
"18? That old?" She seemed disbelieving. "I remember when you were 10!
The door opened a second time, and in came Iris in a flurry.
"I'm so, so, so sorry!" she exclaimed, flustered. "I had lost track of time, and it was so nice outside and-"
"-Iris, don't worry about it," Trip cut her off.
"Yeah, it was kind of expected," Georgia added smugly.
Iris smiled, relieved, as she sat down.
"So, you two wanna be gym leaders?" she began amicably.
"Oh, yeah," Trip said, reaching into his bag and pulling out a stack a papers. "I have all the paperwork filled out."
"Same here," Georgia said, unveiling her own stack. "It just needs your signature."
"Ugh, paperwork," she said. "How bureaucratic. Thank you for filling it out, but really, it wasn't necessary. You have my full approval."
Trip and Georgia stared at her.
"That's… it?" Georgia finally asked.
"Uh, yup, pretty much," Iris replied.
"You don't want to know where the locations for the gyms will be, or what type we're going to specialize in, or how much funding we'll need for construction?" Trip pressed.
"OK, sure," Iris agreed. "Where do you want your gym to be, Trip?"
"And you, Georgia?"
"I'm set up for Accumula Town."
Trip paused, casting her a sideways glance. Accumula Town. It was actually located right next to Nuvema. He wondered if that would present a conflict.
"OK, awesome!" Iris grinned. "Now, what type?"
"Well, Ice for me of course!" Georgia replied.
"I see." A shiver visibly ran up Iris's spine. Trip supposed she had yet to get used to Ice-types still. "Trip?"
"Oh, I…" Trip looked back at Iris. "I'm not sure, yet. I was hoping maybe we could talk about that. I was thinking maybe Ghost-types or Grass-types, but I'm not really su-"
"-You know what, never mind that," Iris interjected. "Don't worry about a specialty. You can train whatever you want there."
"You're… You're serious?" He appeared baffled at this notion, and Iris shrugged.
"Sure! Why not. There's no official rule dictating that gym leaders have to specialize in certain types. That's just an old, outdated tradition."
"I… wow, thank you." Trip didn't know what else to say. He had actually been struggling with this for a while, being unsure of what type he should train at his gym. He had his ever-loyal Serperior, which was why he was interested in perhaps a Grass-type specialization, but then there were also Chandelure and Jellicent, both of which were Ghost types. It was a difficult decision.
"Hey, no problem!" Iris smiled. "As for funding, the league will provide as much as you need. I'll write you both a blank check and trust that you won't abuse that!"
Trip and Georgia exchanged furtive glances. She was a free spirit, all right.
"Anyway, I need to be on my way," Iris began with a wave of her hand, "but it was really nice seeing you two again. Seriously! And good luck with the gyms."
Trip and Georgia followed her out of the room, and Iris left them with more kind words of parting before disappearing into the crowd of patrons.
The pair stood awkwardly together for a long moment, and Trip rubbed the back of his head, wondering what he should do.
"So, uh…" he began, and Georgia glanced at him, blinking. She had very long eyelashes. They were pretty. Trip felt like a dork. He was terrible at this. He wasn't exactly superb at interacting with women. "Do you want to get lunch, or something? Catch up?"
She smiled, sliding her hand up her thigh to rest on her hip.
"Sure," she said.
"Great," he smiled, too. "Know any good places around here?"
She quirked an eyebrow at him.
"Trip, we are literally standing in a five-star restaurant right now."
"Ah, well, yeah," Trip became uncharacteristically flustered. "Here's fine."
Georgia smirked and, without her eyes leaving Trip's, she grabbed Chili's arm as he passed by, nearly causing him to drop the water he was carrying.
"Hey, you," she began, straightforward. "We need a table for two, pronto."
"Uh… yeah, sure!" Chili pulled his arm away, grinning nervously. "Right away!"
Trip nearly laughed. She was just as he remembered her.