delia_icon.gif lydia_icon.gif

Scene Title Dedia
Synopsis Dedia know that I need help? Dedia know that I can help?
Date August 18, 2010

Ichihara Bookstore

Nestled in the heart of the main street marketplace, the Ichihara Bookstore is an old and crooked structure pressed between two newer high-rise tenement buildings. The old glass windows and creaking wooden door on the shop's front give it a rustic and old-world feel. Catering to both antique books and newer prints, the narrow aisles and tall shelves are packed full of literature. A single shelf for periodicals lies near the front counter, while signage both out front by the register and in the back of the store indicates that tarot card reading is done on-site at request for ten dollars per reading.

Behind the old and weathered wooden counter that contains the register and a small stack of reserved books, a narrow wooden staircase leads upwards to a black wooden door with peeling paint, revealing red paint in narrow strips beneath, a rope crossing in front of that door hangs with a small sign that reads, "Private".

Ichihara Bookstore

300 Main Street, Roosevelt Island, New York, New York.

Coupon Redeemable For One Free Tarot Reading

Open 10am - 5pm, Tuesday - Friday

The words on the card are still burned into Delia's mind and she can still feel the raised lettering on the business card that never was. Over the past few days the dream had faded to almost nothing. She remembered there was a woman, not what she looked like. She remembered dancing monkeys and she remembered her mother.

She knows that she was in her father's mind, somehow, everything that happened was in there. It means her father knows too, she can't deny it anymore. It's hard to say if she ever could or how long he's known for sure that she's one of them. They don't talk anymore, not much.

Stepping out into the traffic, the redhead weaves expertly around the moving cars as though she in a game of Frogger. She's lived in New York all of her life and she could swear it's a skill that all natives are born with. When she finally reaches the opposite sidewalk, she stands outside the window for a long while, staring at whoever might be inside. Ichihara Bookstore, this was her bookstore. The woman in her dreams, the woman she can't remember. Not really, anyway.

The jingle of the bell attached to the door announces the young woman's presence all too clearly and Delia actually blushes as she passes through the door. Do they know? Did she tell them I was coming? Though she tries, she can't help the questions that are popping into her head. One of them could be a mind reader, they would find out her secret. Stepping up to the counter, she looks around and then rings the little bell, summoning whoever might work there.

The bell only causes the cat behind the counter to stir. "MROW," Gabriel complains grumpily before rolling over, the sounds of the bells interrupting his relatively peaceful reverie; his discontent resounds in the air and summons some stirring from a room above.

The bookstore itself is coming together well, but multiple stacks of books still line the aisles waiting to be shelved should the proprietor ever get to them. And she intends to, eventually, anyways. The stairs creak announcing Lydia's presence well before she actually appears. And then, curiously, Delia comes into view.

The fortune teller-turned-store owner smooths her red dress before lingering on the last step, her features alarmingly calm, even at finding someone inside this space; Ichihara Bookstore is open, after all. She pads to that front counter, issues Gabe the cat a disapproving look, and then turns her gaze to Delia. Her emotions remain virtually unreadable, not empty, just hidden behind a wall of self-taught expressionless content. "May I help you?" Her voice resounds smoothly, serenely, and without edge or judgment; it's just there, nearly ethereal in tone and cadence.

When the cat rolls over to show its belly, Delia doesn't even think before she reaches over and tickles it lightly. "Hi there baby~" she sings quietly to the furry beast, rubbing its stomach a little more playfully. "Don't you just have the prettiest eyebrows~ Yes you do~ Yes~ Yes you do~" She in the middle of rubbing her whole face in the cat's stomach in an imitation belly zerbert when she's surprised by Lydia's approach.

Her knee jerk reaction of coming up quickly surprises the cat and she's accidentally scratched on the cheek. Either fear of reprimand or fear of Delia's sudden movement has it toppling off the counter and racing to Lydia's side. Placing a hand to the tiny scratch, Delia's face burns with blush at being caught. "Uhm… I'm uhm…" she suddenly feels very stupid for even being here. "I… Fortune. I'm here for a fortune." Her quiet, breathy voice comes out in almost a whisper. "You— You do fortunes here, right?"

"You'll have to forgive Gabriel. He is somewhat unpredictable." There's a small amount of admiration at Delia's way with the cat, but it can only be detected in Lydia's eyes. Her lips edge into a very small secretive smile as she coyly answers, "I suppose it depends on what you're looking for." Her lips press together as her hands reach behind the counter for a small stack of cards that she's carefully wrapped in a red scarf.

"I don't use a crystal ball," although experience tells her she could. "I'm not a precog nor am I a postcog. I can't tell give a clear picture of your future." There's a substantial pause before she quips, "I can, however, give you a clearer picture of your present. Palmistry. Tarot. Both can help you understand yourself."

Her fingers splay along the counter, stretching each in turn as dark eyes study Delia. "Is that why you're here today?" She pauses before glancing at the sign hung on her door, "Or was it my sign combined with morbid curiosity?" Again, the tone lacks judgment, only allaying the facts.

Delia can feel her heartbeat in her ears, the blood is pounding up into her crimson face. "I— I— " she can't help it, the tears are welling in her eyes. It isn't morbid curiosity that brought her there at all but now that she is, she's dying of shame. The redhead can't even explain why she's here, her blue eyes flit to the cat as though he was going to save her.

" — I have a coupon?" She squeaks as she blinks quickly, the sheen from that threat of tears coats her eyes. "I mean, I don't… I — " All the air expels from her body in one large whoosh. For once, the tall redhead actually feels small. "I don't have a coupon. But I—" She pauses to take a deep breath and collect herself. This shouldn't be so hard, it really shouldn't.

"There was a woman in my dream, in my father's head, in… in… I don't know. She told me to come here. She showed me a card that's a map. It said it was good for a free tarot card reading." The sentences come out in a rapid blurt. It's the only way she could get it out. The story is so absurd that this is the only way she could face it.

The mention of a woman in her dream draws Lydia's eyebrows from their neutral place into a more tight knit one. It's difficult to tell if it's pity, perplexed, or something else, but one thing is for certain, something Delia says reaches out to the other woman, crazy or not.

Her long fingers drum on the counter as she watches Delia carefully. Then, decidedly, she reaches for the deck of cards before unfolding them from the scarf, taking particular care to keep the deck in the best condition possible, even without a case. "What is your name?" The scarf is then folded just as methodically, like an act she's done many times before.

Curiously, the cards themselves are printed with an unusual symbol on the back, a spliced helix. As Lydia shuffles them she asks a quiet question in that still soft-spoken tone, "Have you had a reading before?" After the painted lady, in all of her tattooed glory, finishes shuffling the deck, she passes it to Delia. "Please cut the deck."

"Delia Ryans," the young woman says quietly. Whether or not her father is known to the other woman, the redhead doesn't know. She doesn't look her in the eye, not even raising her head to look her in the face. Her own is still that scarlet color but her thick curly hair hides most of it from view.

The young woman reaches one trembling hand out to the cards. Gripping a fair amount of them, she lifts and is about to put them to the side when another tremor causes them to fall and spread out over the counter. "Oh god… I'm sorry!" She blurts out again, this time using both of her hands to try and sweep up the cards that she's spilled. "I've never done this before, that's bad luck isn't it?"

Huruma said she had luck, Delia didn't believe her, not until now. Now Delia knows that her luck is bad. Spilling these kinds of cards has to have some sort of repercussion. For all she knows, she'll be taken by HomeSec as soon as she sets foot out the door. Taken, tested, and put away for life.

"It's not," Lydia states calmly as she glances at the spilled cards, particularly the ones that happened to flip. Her lips edge into a smile, "In fact, I believe you've made my job easier, Delia Ryans." Her smile grows considerably as she plucks the first card — a picture of a man by the water and a large star overhead. "Hmm. The upright STAR," She states carefully allowing her hands to edge the piece of cardboard. "While the star can have many meanings, I believe you're amid a transformation. From one thing to the next." Her gaze turns away from the card back to Delia, "You have a choice. Like the picture you can choose refreshing, renewal, and healing. Or, like many, you can sail down the river in turmoil and fear, letting it debilitate and cripple you."

Her lips press together as she studies the other woman thoughtfully, that smile still present in her lips and around her eyes, tugging her features upwards slightly. "Your life doesn't have to be defined by one thing or the other. Bravery and courage exist not because one isn't afraid, but because one is all too aware of her own fear, yet persists in living life the way she wishes."

Delia's blue eyes widen considerably at the card and Lydia's interpretation of it. She's caught between holding what breath she has and gasping for air that just doesn't have enough oxygen to sustain her. They flit to the fortune teller's face and minute movements are telltale that the younger woman is studying the other very closely.

"I don't want to register," another blurt of whispered admission, just in case someone is listening. Again, Delia's face turns crimson and again she lowers her eyes, ashamed. "I j-just found out. I don't want to be a f-freak, I don't want everyone to know." Those wide blue eyes lift once again, for the second time, they're full of tears that are held back by lashes.

"I'm scared…"

"Delia," Lydia states calmly, as she reaches across the counter to squeeze the other woman's hand, giving her access to those hopes, fears, and desires that people hide from themselves. "Delia. Listen to me." Her own dark eyes search for Delia's blue ones, that unusual calm still about her as she reaches across. There's a firmness in the words, but isn't unkind, just sure, confident, yet not cocky, "You are not a freak." There's an irony in the words considering Lydia lived her life openly as a freak. In the Carnival she, and her family hid in the open.

"It's okay to be afraid." She sighs. It seems her and Delia are at a similar crossroads, yet a smile edges her lips before she manages, "But remember… the world is only as scary as we let it be. And if we're so inclined everything can be scary." Her lips press together before she states, "But you don't have to be afraid of who you are or of who you were born to be." She pauses before adding, "This is you. This is part of you. Don't make apologies. Don't hide away. Live your life." A single eyebrow quirks upwards with the knowledge she should be taking her own advice. "And registration? It will work itself out."

The touch comes with a near crippling wave of fear and a swirl of images that might as well belong in a family photo album. A family consisting of a mother, a father, two girls; one brunette and one redhead. The brunette fades. The mother fades. The brunette comes back, all faces once smiling grow older and more somber. The two girls, now women, separate each one on opposite sides of their father. The father is holding a gun… and a badge from homeland security.

The fear grows as the images fade to inky darkness. There are no more images, this time there is only sound. Water lapping against something, engines, screaming, so much screaming. In the middle of it there is someone breathing. The sound comes quivering, as though the breather was either very cold or very afraid. "She was shot… …They shot at kids." a man shouts. There's more shouting and the breath quickens. The roar of the engine and rush of water comes as Delia's voice rings through, she is the breather. "Sir? I can help…"

Delia's eyebrows furrow together as she listens to Lydia's words. She doesn't answer, she doesn't say a word. Looking down at the card, the hand that isn't being held moves toward it and she picks it up, examining it. Again, her eyelashes flutter as she blinks everything away. "I wanted to be a doctor. They say I still can, but … " It's not the end of the world.

Despite the images, Lydia doesn't pull away, she continues to watch Delia in silence, her features softening all the while as that image strikes over her consciousness. Dark eyes gleam with an odd understanding when she gives Delia's hand another squeeze, firm. Some time passes before Lydia says anything, sometimes words aren't needed. "That's a beautiful dream. You can still do whatever you want. You can still be whoever you want. But this is part of you now. There's no use lying to yourself about it. Or running from yourself because of it."

A glance is given to the window, to the help wanted sign hanging within it, before Lydia returns her attention to Delia. "Your options aren't actually limited by what you can do. In fact, I'm sure they've expanded some." Her lips press together before she hmmms, "It's a gift and a curse. It has advantages and disadvantages. It requires conscience and responsibility — both of which you have within you, Delia."

"The unknown is always scary, but it can give the most rewards if you let it."

Delia's eyes follow Lydia's to the help wanted sign in the window, but hers is only a brief glance. Is that what Hokuto wanted all along? For her to get a job? Her brow furrows lightly as she it becomes evident that she's weighing something very heavily. Then, looking up to Lydia, her lips twitch into a very weak smile.

"I don't know what to do," she begins. Breathing out through closed lips results in a soft prtprtprtprtprtprt to sound around them. "Everyone is being forced to register. Everyone. I was hoping that all of this was just a mistake, that it wasn't me." She pauses as her eyebrow curve into a worried expression. "But I took so many tests, then she pulled me into my dad's head… and he knows. I hate evolved people, I did… Th— He killed my mom. I don't want to be one of the things that killed my mom."

There's a pause as Lydia glances at the window again, considering her words carefully. "Hatred takes a lot of energy. You must be exhausted." Her lips press together as her chin drops, it's a careful study of the other woman, discerning, really. Her jaw tightens along with her scrutiny as her fingers lace together to rest on the counter.

"Lumping everyone together is neither charitable nor fair." With a slow breath, the words come out smooth like silk, that same nonjudgmental tone she'd managed before, "It's easy to hate what you don't understand. I did. Do…. did." Her cheeks flush a pale pink. "One person killed your mother. One. It wasn't all of them. Just because your evolved, you aren't a killer. You are still you."

"I know…" Delia's glum voice says it all. She's been living with those feelings for years and in a matter of months everything she believed about herself has tumbled down around her like a house of cards. "I know and I know that not every evolved person isn't a murderer just like every normal person isn't a murderer. It's just that having something like this… It makes it so easy." She's been thinking about it for years.

Staring down at that card again, the redhead takes a deep breath and lets it out very slowly through her nose. "It makes it easy to help people too." She smiles a little and shifts her gaze up to Lydia and hands her the card. "The first time I ever talked to someone in my sleep, he saved my life. He died before I woke up… I would have died if it wasn't for him."

"Not all evolved are out to get you. And not all humans will be either," the second half is more for Lydia than Delia as she pushes against the counter with her palms creating more space between the pair of women. As she takes a small step away, she studies Delia again. "An ability can be useful. Or harmful. And recognizing your capacity for both is the first step in all of this."

As she drifts away she steps between the aisles of books, seemingly moving away as her eyes scan the shelves, or the books on the floor. "You have people who can help you. And there may be ways to thwart registration, but don't worry about that right now. Now you need accept who you are. This transformation can be part of the healing — you have a chance to not be so tired anymore. A choice."

"Who I am is Delia Ryans," the redhead replies with a much stronger voice than before. She even smiles a little smile, on that actually causes the outer corners of her eyes to crinkle. She glances over to the help wanted sign and then back to Lydia. "Do you think— " She falters a little and takes a breath before clearing her throat. After a moment, the young woman begins her question again. "I think she sent me here for a reason. If it's alright… I— I'd like to apply for the job." Another small smile, this one a little more hopeful, a pinch of worry added in. It's fairly possible that the woman behind the counter might reject her.

"Exactly," Lydia states with a hint of a smile as she glances down at the books and then back to Delia. "You're going to be okay, Delia Ryans," with a slow inhalation she considers the question, mulling it over in her mind while her eyes scan the aisles. "Well. I could use the help." Smoothing her dress, she turns back to face Delia, "You are hired. It may be unconventional, but I've never particularly been a fan of the conventional. Consider it a trial for the first few weeks, if you do well — then… well, it'll be more permanent."

There's another pause as she finally adds, "My name is Lydia. Lydia Taylor. Welcome to Ichihara."

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