Turn A New Leaf

Participants:

tamsine_icon.gif sebastian_icon.gif

Scene Title Turn A New Leaf
Synopsis Sebastian runs into Tamsine unexpectedly in a book store, but his search for forgiveness ends with harsh words and her disappearing on him
Date May 17, 2009

A large chain bookstore in Greenwich Village


Tamsine stands in the Career section of the Self-Help department in the large, sprawling bookstore. A chai tea in one hand from the in-store cafe and a pile of books in the other, she stands with her head tilted as she scans the various titles. The petite redheaded woman could easily be mistaken for a teenager today in her flip flops, jeans, and a t-shirt, and with her hair pulled up into a ponytail, sunglasses perched on top of her head. If the woman's face were not an open book, if she didn't already wear her heart on her sleeve, a cursory glance at the titles of the books in her arms would probably give away half of her life's baggage: The Grieving Process, A Grief Journal: From Loss to Healing, Midlife Career Change: How to Embrace the New, and finally, Career Guidance: What Path Suits You Best.

Dressed today in his business attire, Sebastian looks the opposite of his norm - even if his jacket is open and he wears sunglasses. He doesn't recognize the redhead at first, walking past the aisle of books she is in without a second glance. It isn't until a few seconds later that he walks back, peering around the corner to see her once more. Taking the second look he is almost hidden, every line of him unsure - not about who it is, but about wether or not he says anything. Taking a breath he steps out from his hiding spot and straightens himself up a bit before he clears his throat, "…Tamsine."

She's just in the midst of reaching for a book on the top shelf, standing on tip toes, when he says her name. Tamsine turns, and the book falls to the ground with her surprise. Her eyes flicker to his face and she pales a little, then ducks down to pick up the book she dropped, managing to drop all the others in the process. She sighs and shuffles all of them together, her cheeks flaring red with embarrassment or something else. "Sebastian." There's no false cheer, no feigned enthusiasm at seeing him there in her bookstore.

"I… Sorry… Didn't mean to surprise you." He takes a step forward to offer a hand then a step back. Finally he decides to lend a hand and begins gathering a couple books the fell a little farther than the others, standing and holding them in his hands, and out to her. "I just got out of work, was looking for some puzzle books, that's all. I didn't mean…" He shakes his head, how was he supposed to know who's store this was? He frowns, and then lowers his gaze, the books taken back a little, "I'm sorry. I'm really sorry Tamsine."

Tamsine takes the books and looks away, dark eyes seemingly darker than ever, dark pits within her eyes that seem unlikely to spark with light any time soon. "Quit saying you're sorry," she says with a shake of her head, obviously aware he means more than just startling her and making her drop the books. "There's nothing you can do about it, and it's better to know now than later how you feel. There's no reason to apologize for your feelings. You don't regret feeling that way. You just regret… saying it aloud to me." She shrugs and turns away toward the front of the store.

At first he just stands there, her books handed over, his hand carefully keeping away from her own. He frowns and opens his mouth, but no reply comes out - at least not at first. It's when she turns and begins to walk away that he speaks up - louder perhaps than he intended. "I was wrong. I… I am wrong. I can change." His last words are softer though, and his gaze moves from that retreating pony tail, the sound of flip flops slapping into the distance before he begins to follow. It's not intentional - he wants to leave as well and that's where the exit is - and so he finds himself catching up to the shorter woman, "There is nothing I can do about it - I can't take back what was said. But if you'd just…. give me a chance…"

Tamsine is in the line when he catches up to her, and the lady at the cashier is already waving her over. "You can change? It's just that easy to stop being a prejudiced narrow-minded bigot?" she asks, her jaw set and her dark eyes hard. She heads to the counter and sets the book down, pulling out her credit card to pay. "What kind of chance to you want me to give you, Sebastian? What kind of … friendship… could we possibly have, after you said what you said, knowing what you do about me?" The poor clerk rings the books silently, not offering any of the usual promotions, trying to keep her eyes averted from the fiery redheaded woman and the handsome man trying to appease her.

"No. It's not easy. And what I said… it was prejudiced. But it's not like it came out of nowhere, did it? I had my reasons." His frown deepens, his tone a little more clipped - not just defensive though - he feels he has right to his ideas, however wrong he may suspect they are. All of this is carried out in his voice, even the lines of his face as he goes on, "But… knowing now what I know… what happened to you. What you lost… all because of people like me?" He glances at the cashier, then back, "I want a chance to.. a chance to show you that maybe I know I was wrong, now. It's not…. I just…" He growls and runs a hand through his hair, watching as the purchase that's happening before him completes. "I want a chance for us to start over." There. he said it.

"Thank you," Tamsine says with a smile to the clerk, who knows her, who knew her daughter, who winces in sympathy to the conversation and nods her goodbye. Tamsine takes the bag and heads for the exit. "Start what over, precisely, Sebastian?" she says as she walks, not looking back as she moves for the door. "We had coffee a couple of times. It's not like you know me that well, it's not like I'm anyone important in your life."

That stops him, mid-motion to push open the door and hold it for her he freezes. His eyes drop and for a second he looks hurt. Then that slips into something darker. "Right. My bad. You weren't… we weren't anything to miss." he shakes his head, following her but now a few steps behind, out onto the sidewalk, "I don't know you well. But I liked what I learned. And you… you were the first person in this city I connected with Tamsine. Forget it though, you're right." He stops moving, watching Tamsine stride off.

This is not her. She takes a few steps, before his words wound her and make her gasp a little, her heart breaking perhaps for the woman she used to be, and the now cynical, bitter woman she's become. She glances over her shoulder, and her dark eyes are full of tears — not so much hurt by his words, as she is the one who suggested that first, but because she's clearly wounded someone else with her own. "Self preservation," she mutters to herself, turning back to face the direction her feet point, and walking that way. One foot in front of the other. Just walk away.

He looks hurt, angry, his face a mix of emotions - anger at her for her words, at himself for his before. When she stops and turns and he sees those tears he reaches out a hand - not far, just the barest of movement, "Tamsine…" His face softens and he watches her walk off. It's not until after she takes a corner that he decides he can't just let her walk off like this - it's not right for her to be hurt again. He moves to catch up…

She can hear him behind her, his steps, his legs so much longer than hers. It won't be long for him to catch up. She glances around the street — it's a small alley, and her cursory glance around shows it to be vacant, but for a stray cat nearby. She envisions her family room, her cozy little Victorian style couch, the television left on to fill the empty, silent house with chatter, the coffee table cluttered with her laptop and morning coffee mug and the books she's been reading. The portal opens, visible only to her, and she steps into it, disappearing from the alleyway, and into her own home.

He rounds the corner and stops. She's gone. Literally, as well as figuratively. Must've turned another corner, entered a store. He only spends a moment deciding if he should start looking, but.. he said his piece. What else can he do but hurt her more, anger her more, or just drive her off completely. With a frown, and a soft, "Bye Tamsine…" under his breath he turns and begins the walk back home. He doesn't feel like a cab, not tonight. Hands tucked into his jacket he gives the place she was a final glance, before deciding he wants that puzzle book after all, and turns instead into the book store.


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