Don't Underestimate Gabriel


aric_icon.gif lydia_icon.gif

Scene Title Don't Underestimate Gabriel
Synopsis Aric finds Lydia to do a "reading".
Date September 2, 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".

It's just before closing — which, is just shy of 5 PM — and Ichihara bookstore had become quiet too early for its own
good. So quiet in fact, that it's owner is taking a nap across the now clutter free counter, seated on a stool and bent
forward onto the wooden countertop. She'd forfeited and returned the kittens to the backroom to accommodate Gabriel's every
whim (lest he kill her in her sleep). Her sleep, however, is perfectly silent amid the scent of lavender oil (left to burn
on a back counter) and the sound of a radio playing classical music in the background — the lyrics of other music had long
worn on her nerves.

There's a peaceful stillness in her expression with those gently closed eyes and relaxed lips, displaying an odd
stoicism even in her slumber. A china teacup filled with tea leaves rests just away from her reach, long turned cold. She'd
never examined her own leaves after being so thoroughly distracted by Jaiden's.

At the front of the store Gabriel meows loudly for no reason other than pure complaint.

As he slowly opens the door, Aric looks down at the cat and smiles softly. He cocks his head to the side and says, "Well
hello there. Aren't you beautiful." Aric closes the door behind him to make sure the cat does not escape into the chaos
that we know as New York City. He begins to make his way into the store and hmmms at the atmosphere. He runs a hand through
his hair as his eyes fall on Lydia.

He cocks his head to the side and begins to walk towards her sleeping body in a slow and silent pace yet stops a good
twenty feet away before he says softly, "Hello?"

There's a quiet mmmm as Lydia pushes herself from the counter, and returns from some deliciously peaceful dream.
Straightening, she stretches her back and then lets her head fall from one shoulder to the other, removing the seemingly
strained kink in her neck. "Hello," her tone is quiet and ear-marked by a distinct yawn and tired smile.

"Welcome." Even in her fatigue, Lydia's voice is rich, smooth, and warm. A hand is combed through her long hair as
she rubs her eyes, allowing herself some wakefulness before truly addressing her patron. "How can I help you?"

As he smiles his charming smile, his baritone voice speaks in a normal tone now, "I am looking for Lydia. I hear that she
does Tarot Card readings and…" The man tucks a loose strand behind his ear, "I would like my cards read…a five point
spread if she has the time…or a surface reading is fine if not." He begins to walk a bit closer to the woman, "I am
sorry…I did not mean to wake you."

"And I did not mean to sleep," Lydia quips back with a half smile edging her lips. One final stretch and yawn announce her
return into the land of the awake following which she nods, "I'm Lydia. And this is my shop. And I do read tarot. Ten
dollars per reading and I like the money upfront." That way there's no argument should he dislike his reading. "Who
referred you?" Already she's reaching for that deck of cards next to the register, unfolding them from the scarf she holds
so dear among her possessions. The deck itself is unique with a spliced helix on the back.

"One of my guests." Aric takes out a 100 dollar bill and says, "You can do mine for 100. Maria claims your the
best…better then I am. I am curious to see what you see for me. I always find when I do my readings they seem…self
serving. I thought I would treat myself to one by you." He extends his left hand in a hand shake while holding the money
out with his right hand, "My name is Aric. I am the owner of the Blue Moon Occult Store and Cafe on the Upper West Side."

The hundred dollars is eyed skeptically before Lydia suppresses a chuckle, "Do I look that desperate for the business?" Her
eyebrows arch expectantly before she reaches out and takes his hand. As per her usual form, it's not really shaken, merely
squeezed in warm greeting. And at the touch, her ability finds its own activation, giving her access to his surface
desires, fears, hopes, and dreams, just enough for her to develop some semblance of understanding.

"It's nice to meet you, Aric." Moments later she releases his hand and returns her attention to the cards. "So you
don't enjoy doing your own reading?"

"I did not mean you any disrespect Lydia. I just find placing good karma out into the universe might give a better reading
for you? If that makes senses? Besides…it is for a good cause." He grins like a Cheshire Cat, "Me." Aric looks down at
the cards and cocks his head curiously, "Beautiful cards…" He adjusts his shirt and says, "As for doing my own readings?
Not that I do not enjoy them. I find that maybe sometimes the universe is directing me in opposite directions."

"Well, if you read tarot, you already are an expert," the deck is offered to him. "Cut the deck and consider any question
you may have or let the cards roam as they fall, telling you what they will." Lydia's head tilts at that smile, as a
cryptic one of her own tightens across her lips. She does, however, glance towards the teacup left on the counter, "I
haven't read my own tea leaves from this morning. Reading oneself can be tedious. Facing personal demons, questions, and
former pains can be more damaging that simply not knowing."

As Aric takes the cards gently he begins to shuffle them as if they were children. He cuts the deck into three smaller
piles taking from the outside and placing them into the middle pile. He shrugs and says, "I don't consider myself an expert
of much. I do not read the leaves…yet I hear it is an interesting practice." He sets the cards gently before the woman
before he says, "My energy is mixed with yours…lets see what the universe has to say…"

The cards are splayed into a basic five card layout while Lydia places the rest of the deck on top of that scarf once
again. Her cheeks flush a pale pink while she turns the first card, her red fingernails edging it carefully as an eyebrow
quirks at the picture: The HANGED MAN. "The general theme of the reading is acceptance. You need to accept what is,
surrender to your experience, and suspend action. There is an opportunity and a time in all things. Now is a time for
introspection and reflection. But now is not the time for sacrifice, instead it's a time for acceptance of what is."

Within seconds she's turning the second card — TEN OF WANDS. "Your past influences indicate you had a
struggle. A burden that you fought uphill for and bore heavily. There was a resistance within you, fighting who you really
were." Now she finally looks up from her work to meet his gaze.

As he blinks, Aric falls silent as his eyes move from "The Hanged Man" to the "Ten of Wands.". He runs a hand through his
long locks and a shuttered breath escapes his lips. Aric has been struggling with the fact does he register as an Evo or
Non-Evo. He turns his eyes up to look upon Lydia and he nods slowly, "It has been something on my mind
Lydia…interesting." The man does his best to stay respectful without revealing too much of his emotions as she continues
to read.

Her fingers linger just shy of the third card, an odd contemplativeness coming over her as she stares at the back of it.
Slowly she flips it over using the tips of her fingernails. "This is the future card." THE DEVIL. Her lips press
together uncertainly; that's the been the theme of today's readings: uncertainty. "Oppression. Bondage, perhaps." Her head
tilts. "This could happen unless the past is put away. I can't explain more than that… I'm sorry."

The next card is then regarded. "This is the reason behind the question." She carefully turns it over, to find
THE STAR staring back at her. "Hope. In the chaos in the possibility of oppression, you're clinging to hope."

A little more determined now, she turns the last card slowly. FOUR OF WANDS. Her cheeks flush lightly, "There's
potential in this situation if you can move beyond the past … freedom. A world without oppression and this oppressive
situation and a letting go of your limitations.'

As he looks down at the cards, Aric remains silent for a moment…perhaps to long as he contemplates what the woman reveals
to him. He takes a deep breath and nods slowly as he tucks a few loose strands of hair behind his ear. Aric finally speaks,
"That…" He pauses for a moment as his voice cracks and he swallows before starting again, "That was impressive. You truly
have a a talent with the cards. I have been feeling those things…and I have my concerns for what the future holds for
me…a little bit more as of late then usual." He looks upon Lydia again with his eyes and smiles softly, "Maria was
right….you are better then I am."

"Well thank you. I've been reading for many many years. Since I was a teen," Lydia collects the cards in front of her, restacking them and gently folding them back into the scarf. Her own smile matches his after returning the cards to their home next to the register. "So how is business in light of curfew? I imagine it puts a strain on things?"

Aric shrugs as he looks down at his watch, "It does suck. I guess it is what the government feels is best yet personal? I
think it is a crock of dog mess. The tighter you punch that iron fist into a ball. The harder people are gonna squeeze and
fight to get out." He chuckles as he motions to the cards that were on the table, "Via…oppression is never good and I am
scared to see what the future is gonna bring with it." Aric looks around and presses his lips into a fine line, "People now
a days are not as nice as they seem…trust me I know." He does…the thoughts in their head would make a priest do a few
hail mary's. "You have something better then that sweet cat as protection I hope?"

Lydia's eyebrow arches, "Are you implying I need protection?" There's something unsettling to a former fugitive about
needing protection in the place where she lives, works, and breathes. She'd done so well flying under the radar for so
long. "And don't underestimate Gabriel, he will cut you if the need arises." Her lips curl up into a toothy smile. "And I'm
fortunate because most people underestimate me." She shrugs. "I'm tougher than I look." Plain and simple. «Knife
throwing as a hobby doesn't hurt either.

As he brings his hands up in a defensive manner, "Oh…I am the least of your issues Mrs Lydia. I am a lover not a
fighter." He runs a hand through his hair nervously as he catches that thought and says, "And I would not want to get cut
by any means. I just was making sure a beautiful woman such as yourself was able to handle herself if the need was there.
Something tells me you can." He smiles softly looking her up and down.

Lydia nods firmly before emitting a soft sigh. "Well. There's your reading. And that's the state of the world." A glance is given to the door before she murmurs, "I think… I think I need to close shop for the night." Her smile softens as she says, "I will, however, come by sometime for a drink. One good turn deserves another."

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