Knock On Wood


corbin_icon.gif wendy_icon.gif

Scene Title Knock on Wood
Synopsis Wendy comes clean to Corbin that she's not so much ill as an addict. There's no firing, a discussion of Hokuto and order to get clean and come back soon in case the store gets swamped.
Date February 26, 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".

The last two hours of the business day in the Ichihara Bookstore. Not many customers, as always, most of them people who wandered over from the Suresh Center out of curiosity. The last customer gone out the door ten minutes past leaves the brunette sitting at a stool at the counter, sketchbook out and rapidly drawing something, frankly anything, in an effort to take her mind off her stomach and everything else that not shooting up refrain is doing to her. Thank you weekend, thank you.

But the weekend, she's not sure that even that will be enough time and after a few more minutes of drawing, the sketchbook to clapped shut and she moves on to trying to put books away instead without dropping them like she's been doing all day.

The bell on the door rings once again, though the person who shoulders the door open isn't a customer at all. With a box of books held in his arms, Corbin backs into the store and turns, not quite paying attention as he walks across toward the counter so he can drop it on the floor nearby. "I got a book order delivered to my apartment by accident. I think I filled out the paper work wrong…" He sounds perturbed, worried, disjointed, and he's not the one going through withdrawal.

"I'll try to get them added to the shelves tonight…" he says, letting out a breath now that he can rest a moment, and finally looks at her. "Did you come in to work sick?" That's his assumption to how she looks. She looks ill.

"Man, you are sure you're cut out to run this place? The boss lady better get back soon before you start thinking this is your regular job and writing newspaper articles in like, your hobby" Wendy fires back, looking over at the box that's been deposited and then up towards the reporter. "uhh.. maybe" She mutters, sliding a book home. "Kaylee's still out, not much choice really, that guy with the funky face wasn't answering, probably out"

"I could have managed for today if you'd called in sick," Corbin says, looking her over with a quiet glance. "And there's a bunch of days off, soon. I'm hoping Hokuto will feel up to coming back next week, this is her home. Gabriel misses her." The cat isn't the only one. Though none of the employees he hired even met her, in the waking world, as far as he knows, but he misses her. "Do you need to go home early? I was planning to put these books on the shelves and into the computer. I can handle the counter until closing too."

"Nah, I can do this. Just a few more hours. It helps you know, gives me focus. Helps me make it through the day really" Wendy offers a shrug of her shoulders. "Can't wait to meet her. I mean Hok-" wait a minute. Why is that name fa- well crap. "She wouldn't by chance be… an oniermancer… would she? Rampaging through peoples dreams, protecting them from some guy, and gathering people to her side like some realy fucked up movie or television plot?"
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you knew about it too," Corbin admits, looking toward the door as if to make sure it's still closed, before seeking out the eyes of the cat that's sleeping on a pile of books. "Next thing I know, we'll find out the cat happens to be the long lost pet of the President. But yes, that's Hokuto. It's why she's been in a coma the last month or so— but she's awake now, finally." So many details to leave out. So many things he's not sure he can mention…

"Are you sure you're okay, though? I really am planning to stick around to finish this. I also want to go upstairs and bring her sheets down to get washed, clean up some of the dust up there. It hasn't been lived in for a while."

"Just in passing. guy I know was one of the guys recruited. Be interesting to meet her. I don't get to touch too many 'mancer's. They're a rare breed. Like negators. Or Healers really. Now Empaths, fucking Empaths are everywhere" There goes another book, her hand shaking too much and she kneel's down to pick it up. "You're right, you know, I probably should. last you need is me puking all over any more customers who come in right" The brunette mutters, running a hand through her hair.

She makes a move towards the counter before stopping. "Listen. It's shitty of me to do this but… I'm not sick." Wendy slides a hand into the back pocket of her jeans. "If you want to fire me, I mean, by all means you have every right. I'm in withdrawal is what I am. I'm an addict and i'm getting off my drug of choice, have been for about two weeks now and thank fuck it's a weekend, cause you know…"

"I think I know who you mean. The friend who got hit by the bus," Corbin says, drawing a connection with a hint of a smile tugging on the corner of his lips. Oh, he knew that, now that he thinks on it. Him and the guy who broke into the store both knew about it. "Hokuto's a very good friend, though." And some would think her ability is a curse, not a blessing… Especially those who got wracked with nightmares.

"That guy who'd broken into the store, you said he dealt in Refrain," he says once she makes her confession, straightening and losing the smile, but not sounding 'get out' at least. "Do you have someone to look after you? I don't know much about Refrain addiction, but I know most addictions it's hard to get through it by yourself." And if she's fired, he's saying nothing. "Take the rest of the day off, and call if you can't come back by Tuesday." Well, that's definitely not fired!

"Yeah. Dr. Cong. Was my first hit, from him and one of his co-workers. Listen, it may make you think less of me, but the stuff… helped me through some bad stuff, and times. But its' almost made me sleepwalk off my balcony" So she thinks, she didn't really. "Not my first time trying to get back on the wagon too. You have a right to know, you and Hokuto. Not like I really need this job and if you're a reporter, i'm pretty sure you've figured out who I am and why. Probably wonder why i'm even taking the job when I don't need it but" But. "But.. it's helped"

The question of whether she has someone to help her is skimmed over, avoided. "Tuesday, I'll know by Monday where I stand, whether i'm in any shape or not. I'm pretty due for it to turn fucking nasty at some point." Wendy drums her fingers on the counter, peering into the box. "Sorry"

There's a visible wince at her mention of near sleep walking off a balcony, but it could just be the idea that she nearly committed suicide. But Corbin knows it's not the Refrain that caused it, even if it probably made her more susceptible. "Yeah, I glanced over what the newspapers had on you after you were hired, and I recognized you a little too. I had to proof some of the stories," he admits, glancing toward her hand, without lingering at it long. He knows enough. He could see why she would have the need to escape, especially since it seemed right up her alley.

"I'm not going to fire you. I honestly can't speak for Hokuto. She may decide she doesn't need help when she comes back, though I'll fight with her over that if she does. She needs to spend some time recovering. Outside the shop." He seems to doubt that she will. "I hope you'll seek help if you need it. I'll probably get lost if I have to open the store by myself next week."

"I hit up meetings Corbin, I haven't been doing the last couple weeks on my own." There's a gesture to across the street before she gathers up her book and her bag from behind the counter. "Had to stop going there, too many evo's. Don't worry, I won't die on you. Shit hasn't killed me yet while I was on it, won't kill me while i'm getting off it" She doesn't know that Hokuto is the one responsible. She hasn't talked too much to Logan post resolution of it all. "If she does, she does, I deserve it. I can just hope she fucking doesn't" Maybe if she stops swearing so much. "I got a shrink friend. I'll call her, I got a person I know who's off the blue stuff too, she's offered help. I'll probably call her" She takes a moment to wipe her sleeve across her forehead. "You sure about me heading home? I mean, I can stay the few more hours, It's not.. gonna kill me. Or do I really look that horrible?"

There's a lot going on inside his head while she speaks, worry about Hokuto and what the woman might do if she finds out what about Refrain really made her almost commit suicide. Corbin is thinking on it too much, that he only nods when she mentions her friend. "I'm glad you're not trying to do it alone. I hope your friend can help, too." He shifts to pick up one of the books on top of the stack in the box, looking it over in his hands. "How I'm supposed to sort these when they're not in English I don't know…" It amazes him how many books in the bookstore aren't of the English language… "You don't look too bad, though. But enough that I noticed. So yeah, I'm sure. Take the rest of the day off."

"Do what the rest of us do, break out the foreign language dictionaries and try to make the best of it" She offers helpfully, even as she's wrapping her jacket around her, scarf, hat, gloves and whipping out the cellphone. "I'll see what shape I'm in come the week. Whether you need to pull in joker-face or not" She hasn't quite gotten his name down yet. He's not Evo, he doesn't really stick out in her head. 'Thanks boss. Seriously. For not you know, firing me or anything" The number for the taxi service is called, not anywhere near trusting herself to dial. "I also look like shit, and you know it. Stop pandering to my vanity"

"I am only your temporary boss," Corbin says, letting the book drop back into the stack. He's possibly regretting how many might be foreign language books. Why did Hokuto buy so many of those? One would think in all his years in the Company he'd have picked up a few languages… besides English. But alas… "Since you're saying it, I don't have to," he finalizes, before moving around the other side of the counter. "I'll call Kaylee and see if she's ready to come back, too. It shouldn't be a big deal, so just take whatever time you need. It's not like this place is going to be crawling with customers as soon as you step outside."

There's a pause, then he lifts his hand and suddenly knocks firmly on the wood of the counter.

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