Rite Of Passage


delia_icon.gif lydia_icon.gifquinn_icon.gif

Scene Title Rite of Passage
Synopsis Quinn starts a job and gets initiated by a regular customer…
Date August 27, 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 after ten o'clock, and theoretically all's well, at least in the book business. With only a few remnants of August sunshine left, the blinds have been completely opened, pulled by a string to expose a flood of sunbeams to patrons and employees alike. Happily, Gabriel has found one such patch atop one of the many bookshelves. His tail flickers with content as he purrs loudly, basking in the warmth of the day, and really, is there a better place to nap than within the warmth and soothing support of a sunbeam? Ichihara Bookstore is relatively quiet this time in the morning. Aside from a single stalky-looking patron who has, curiously, been in the last three days.

Quiet music plays on a radio at the counter — the Goo Goo Dolls. Not elevator music, but relaxing enough to provide customers with good vibrations if that's the intent. Ironically, it's not.

The smell of lavender oil burning near the counter fills the room with a soothing aroma meant to relax the senses and, essentially, put Gabriel to sleep. He's been downright beastly today — likely jealousy from the presence of the kittens in his roust. It seems that the oil may have its effect (when combined with the sunlight and music) as he's been soothed.

Lydia, however, dressed in her long multicoloured skirt sways to the music as she dusts some shelves. Trying to enjoy the last of the sunlight, she's in yet another halter (this one green), exposing the myriad of arts designed along her back — the vine of flowers particularly prominent. Her body sways again before she turns around to see the customer standing there. Shaking her head for the third day in the row she manages a polite, albeit strained smile, coloured with a hint of sadness, and, perhaps frustration, "I told you this yesterday Lawrence, you don't get a refund if you don't like your reading. It was neither inaccurate nor without merit — the cards say what they say, I just read them…"

Delia's been doing what Delia normally does, hiding away and reading. She does, however, perk up the instant that she hears Lydia's voice. It's strained, Lydia is generally not so strained. Slowly, she folds the corner of one of the pages of her book and grabs another one off the shelf. She glances at the title momentarily to make sure it's not one of the ones she hasn't read yet.

Before moving out into the open, she tucks the one she is reading waaaaaayyyyyy into the back of the shelf so that it can't be found by a perusing customer. Generally, romance novels aren't the ones that fly off the shelf, but with Delia working at the store, they've been selling like crazy. It's really the only thing she recommends to the average customer.

With that book in hand, she rounds the corner of the shelves and glides up to Lydia's customer with a giant smile on her face. "Hey Lawrence! Good to see you again! Guess what~" Her question is sung out, somewhat teasing. "We got a new bunch of books~" Her expression turns coy and she bites her lower lip while waggling her eyebrows. "You know the kind… Oh yeah… Whole bunch of new ones."

This is Quinn's first morning at Ichihara in some capacity that doesn't involve awkwardly stumbling into stacks of books (though she has done that today) or buying something for herself for a friend, and for the most part, she's going about shelves and books, familiarising herself with the lay of the land, so to speak. Systematically reprogramming herself from the two story Barnes & Noble she worked at to the much smaller bookshop's layout.

But for the last several minutes, she's been in the back room checking on the kittens, vastly fascinated by the little creatures. She's even already named a few of them, though she's not sharing yet exactly what kind of scheme she's concocted for the poor little felines, but the fact that she's humming "Radio GaGa" might give an idea where this is going.

Like Delia, it's Lydia that draws her attention back out into the main room, her head first poking out, and then the rest of her emerging afterwards, padding back into the main part of the story. "Somethin' wrong?" she asks with a quirked eyebrow as she approaches Lydia, an eye cast over to Lawrence. A quick glacne up to Delia - she hadn't really had the chance to talk to her yet, and then back to Lawrence, a smile slipping across her face. "A regular?"

Lawrence turns to face Delia, away from the owner, causing Lydia to mouth a very distinct, yet silent, 'Thank you,' as her eyes roll over-dramatically at the man, who has twice been in requesting a refund. For whatever reason, the owner has dug her heels in on the matter, even if the refund in question is only ten dollars. Maybe it's the precedent?

Delia's words warrant a twitch of a smile from the patron, as he gruffly asks, "Which books? Where?" The redhead is given a broadened grin. For now he's distracted from his path towards the owner and her already frazzled nerves. Lawrence shuffles towards the romance novels to peek at the collection, Delia doesn't need to tell him twice — the stalky man likes himself some smut and now all of the employees of Ichihara are privy to this fact. Perhaps he's just that secure in his masculinity?

Lydia's words are spoken lowly towards the two girls as the customer skulks away, "Lawrence got a reading a few days ago and was unhappy with it despite its accuracy. He's been requesting a refund." She pauses before adding smoothly, "Not everyone likes the truth. And while I could tell him what he wanted to hear — " she shrugs. "Regardless, all I did was show him what he already knew in his heart." Her cheeks flush. "Unfortunately sometimes knowing the heart's desire is painful. Especially when one's own actions brought forth said pain." She forces another strained smile as a hand is raised to her chest.

With a bright smile, Delia leads the man into the romance section while chattering away about all the new books they'd gotten in. They're all garage sale purchases, but they're new to the store which means they're likely new to the customer too. "Hey! You remember that one book you wanted to buy after I finished reading it? Fire and Ice? We managed to scrounge up another copy and it doesn't have the last three pages missing! Tell you what… you drop the whole reading thing and I'll totally hook you up with Delia's favorite list… half price."

It doesn't bother her to give such a severe discount on the books, she can make that up easily upselling the man with some used science fiction. It's a matter of pennies versus dollars in her eyes.

She comes out of the stacks with a smile on her face and at least twenty some odd books in her hands. Delia plunks them down on the counter and points to tall pile, "He's going to take all these and … uhm…" She turns to Quinn with a rather sheepish grin and raises her eyebrows, "Hey do you know anything about Star Trek or Star Wars? He likes those books too…"

Quinn grimaces a bit at Lydia's explaination, offering the woman a small nod as she keeps an eye on Lawrence. "Never really a good idea t' just tell people what they want t' hear. It never really works out in the end. You're better off just bein' honest." She offers the fortune teller a warm smile, ad a shrug.

She opens her mouth to say something else, but is distracted by Lawrence's sudden distraction and enthusiasm towards the romance novels, a snicker coming from her. Hnads move to her hips as she steps out into the main part of the store, looking over to Delia, at first looking a little lost, then amused. "Star Trek, no. Star Wars, I can help with some. Got all the movies an' a few of the books back in my flat. Want me t' see what we have that's good?"

"Yes! Fire and Ice — Oooooooo," yes, Lawrence is the kind of man who oooo's at romance novels. Content with this deal and the notion of getting Delia's favourites at half price. "Do you have like romantic sci-fi? Because that would a scintillating read — " Yup, he's distracted. Absently, he shuffles towards the science fiction section away from the redhead, particularly as she piles a stack of books for him. "Just put those on the counter — I'm going to go over here and loo— " he's so vacantly absent that he doesn't even finish his thought.

Lydia's fingers curl around the feather duster she'd been using to dust the shelf before her heavier-than-usual steps carry her back towards the counter, away from the customer. Her words are smooth, even if she's more strained than usual, "Desires are funny that way. We know we want, but when fully aware of it…" her head shakes slightly. "It can empower us or it can cripple us. Sometimes both at once." A softer smile edges her lips as she abandons the feather duster to the counter.

An eyebrow arches as she absently chews her bottom lip. She leans her back against the front of the counter and drinks in the scent of the lavender, letting it work its magic over her consciousness, and regaining her relative neutrality.

Finally, once she finds that calm again, she turns back to Quinn with a nod. "I know nothing of science fiction. Please provide Lawrence any assistance you can."

"He's looking for romantic sci-fi… does that even exist?" Delia intones quietly, looking between the two women. She moves behind the counter to reach for Gabriel on the sill, giving him a placating scritch behind the ears. "Hey Gabby-wabby~ You like the itty bitty kitties~?" It's a tease and she knows it is, if the cat could actually understand her, he'd probably add to the mass of scratches she's already gotten from him. With the help of a bunch of bactine, though, they've healed quite nicely.

Turning back to the two, she moves her hand away only to be caught by Gabriel's paw as he begs for more pets. It's not something that's generally in character for the cat, but he's been neglected lately in favor of the tiny squeakers in the closet. "Gabriel, no.. Baaaaaad." Her scolding isn't harsh at all, and she does give him another little scratch under the chin to keep him satisfied before moving away again.

"Lydia, when… ahem… Lawrence is gone, can you do a reading on me?" Delia grins widely as she asks the question, though she does look a little sheepish as she slips her hands into her pockets. "Tea leaves or palm though… Maybe tea leaves because you haven't done any of those yet? I'll make the tea if you want?"

"Romantic sci-fi?" Quinn repeats quietly, chuckling a bit at Gabriel's antics, silly cat as he as appeared to be to Quinn so far. "How terribly uncommon." Hands move to hips, a glance over to Delia. "It exists. It's just… mostly crap, or very forced. An' not terribly like, you know, 'normal' romance novels. I'll head over, though, see what I can find for 'im, romance or otherwise. I think I saw a few good books over there, an' a few other neat ones he might like…"

She pads quickly over towards Lawrence, smiling wide as she sidles up beside him. She short girl looks up, beaming at him. "Heya! Let's see what we can find for you here…" she remarkes, leaning over and thumbing through racks rather enthusiastically. "You said romantic sci-fi? Hmm, let's see what we have 'ere. I know there's some genuinely good sci-fi an' some other stuff here, if you'd like. Star Wars, an' some original stuff… anythin' in particular you're lookin' for?"

Lydia shrugs at the question about romantic sci-fi. "I suppose anything could exist…" it's not impossible, right? "Oh! We had a kid drop off some science fiction books a few weeks ago — secondhand, but I'd resell them in a heartbeat if he's interested." She shuffles to another shelf, inspecting it and its current state — shockingly its dust free, even in the beautifully sunlit room, she'd already been busy dusting most of the morning.

A nod is given to Delia, along with an easier smile, anything connecting her to her former self is warmly welcomed. "Yes. It would be my pleasure to give you another reading. And, please, make the tea. Make sure you have a saucer for the cup… I would like one as well." Her smile tightens as she glances out the window. Her arms hug around her body while her eyes close gently, basking in a quiet moment in the sunlight and allowing the strain to drain entirely from her body.

Lawrence turns to face Quinn with a bright smile, he's far more content now. "I did! Welp. I've never read a romantic sci-fi before buuuuut I like sci-fi and — thanks to Delia — I recently learned I like romance! SO. I figure, if they put them together then BAM! I could have the best of both worlds." He hmmms quietly, "I like Star Wars. Princess Leia is hot even if she has like pastry hair around her ears…"

As directed, Delia makes her way to the small tea station. Grabbing the kettle, she races up the stairs to the loft and the sound of the pipes groaning can be heard from above. It takes a little while, but she finally comes down again just in time to hear Lawrence telling Quinn all about his new interest. Although she's holding an electric kettle full of water, she swings around toward the shelf of books they're at and interrupts. "Hey Lawrence, you know what would be fantastic? You should totally start writing books like that. Or stories. I bet you're not the only person that likes to read that sort of stuff."

Did she just? Oh yes she did and by the mischeivous grin on her face, she knows exactly what she did. It doesn't take Lawrence long to pick up on it at all by the look on his. At the same time, they both squeal like little girls and blurt out "FAN FICTION WEBSITE!!"

"Okay, dude, I'm totally leaving you with that thought, you think about it!" Her finger points to him and she cocks her head to the side, car salesman style, and turns to walk away. Poor Quinn, Delia left her with a man who might start writing about the unrequited love that Leia feels for Chewbacca.

Quinn blinks, eyes widening at the stereo proclamation from Delia and Lawrence, cringing noticeably - her only recent encounter with any sort of "fan fiction", if it could be called that, wasn't exactly pleasant. "I hate you~" she jokingly responds in a ding songy voice, shaking her head and laughing as she returns herself to the shelf ahead. She turns to Lawrence, pointing a finger at him. "Just promise me one thing. If you decided t' make the whole fan fiction thing, don't put anyone y' know in it. They'll appreciate it."

She jobs him with her elbow jokingly, pulling a book from the shelf. "Here's one about Leia! Never read it m'self, t' be honest, but, it has her name in the title, so…" She looks over to Lydia, motioning for Lawrence to follow her as she makes her way over. "Hear that? There might be somethin' right nifty among alla that."

"That is freakin' b-rilliant D-lia!" Lawrence responds enthusiastically. "I can see it now, the romance of the Princess and the Wookie!" OH NO! His eyes widen as he raises a single pointer finger pointedly into the air before pivoting to face Quinn, "Can you see it?! I always knew she was secretly in love with him — just think of the babies they'd make! Also, I always like the girls at Jabba's lair. I bet Luke could get down with one or more of them." An odd glance is given to the proprietor followed by Delia and then back to Quinn. "Well, inspiration comes from real life! And I have three fine looking ladies here~ " he pauses while his head tilts at Quinn, "Lydia has shot me down four times already. Delia twice… but you're new! And just as lovely — " as if it could endear him to the woman more he quips, "And I can write. And I read. I read romance novels — clearly this makes me sensitive annnnd romantic."

"That sounds perfect! This book is miiiiine!!!"

Lydia turns to the counter to face Delia, her eyes open slowly as she smiles. "So. Anything you want to know in particular? Or do you just want a reading?"

Delia's smile only broadens as she hears Lawrence putting his famous moves on Quinn. "Looks like someone's getting initiated~" she sings softly, loud enough for Lydia to hear but not to loud that Quinn and Lawrence to hear. Lawrence is a right of passage for every employee that works at Ichihara, who knows how many times the old staff got it… Unless he wasn't a customer back then.

A little louder so they can both hear, Delia plays the part of the awful co-worker and shouts toward the corner. "Lawrence! Tell her about Dragoncon! You've got that extra ticket still, right?" The evil snicker from the redhead at that juncture can't be helped, vicious but oh so delicious. She's already had to turn him down for the 'friend date' six times for that thing.

Focusing on Lydia and her question, she rests her elbows on the countertop and cups her face in her hands. "Seriously Lydia? Do you have to ask?" The peak in one of her eyebrows should say it all. "I met this guy on the train the other night… I really want to know if I have what it takes." Surprise, she's not asking about him.

Quinn blushes quite a bit, freezing in place with an audible gulp. This, admittedly, was not something she expected to have to go over here, but… Clearly her throat, she rubs her cheeks and brings back a smile - more of a grin - as she pivots away from a shelve and back to face Lawrence. "You really think she'd be int' all that hair?" she asks, humouring Lawrence. She opens her mouth to make another response, and then closes it. "Actually, I've got nothin'. It's still better than her an' Luke getting t'gether. That's just… ew." She blinks, and tilts her head, grin spreading. "If I had t' pick someone for Leia, though, it'd be Mara Jade." Not entirely subtle, but not… obvious. Hopefully, he gets it.

"Aha! Good pick, then! The next time you come in, you'll have t' tell me how it is. I'm always looking for another book t' read." She does genuinely mean that, though she'll likely end up taking Lawrence's opinion with a grain of salt. A glance back at Delia with narrowed eyes and a stuck out tongue. "Maybe we should sent the entire bookstore," she retorts back with a wry smile. "Find out about some niche books we can put on the shelves."

"You like him," Lydia observes with a twitch of her lips. "Is he good to you?" her eyes shift away from Delia to the wall, almost like she's speaking to it rather than her employee. "Makes you smile? Makes you laugh? Grants confidence? Never pushes. Always supportive — " and then her gaze turns to Delia rather speechlessly a hint of discontent pulling her features downward. Her head shakes, "Sorry. I know you just met, most of those…" what were they exactly? "…traits are likely yet to be discovered."

She shuffles back to the counter, placing both palms on its wooden surface. "You know the routine. Make the tea. Drink the tea. And we go from there." She pauses, "And Delia, could you make me a cup?"

Lawrence, meanwhile, is getting his flirt on. A hand is run through his dark hair as the broad shouldered short man shifts his weight towards Quinn, and he nods at the comment about Leia and Mara Jade, "Everyone likes a little girl on girl! Makes for a good read — and it means we have something in common… we like girls!" His weight shifts again as he leans against the bookshelf, "So… you got a friend? I bet I could get another ticket to Dragoncon if she wanted to join! We could.. y'know… make it a threesome?" His eyebrows waggle.

"I— " How does she explain what he did? It never really happened, but it did for the two of them. The stupified expression on Delia's face might have prompted Lydia to answer all of those questions on her own. She moves back toward the tea station to plug in the kettle and wait for it to start squealing.

Lawrence's observations and comments to the new girl have Delia's eyebrows raising high on her forehead and then turning sharply in their direction. "Lawrence Truman Succuboso! Are you kidding me?! You better apologize to her right now before I take the broom to you!" To show the man she's not kidding, she actually reaches for the broom which causes Gabriel to jump from his comfortable place and scurry away to hide. He knows what the broom means.

Quinn's face finds her palm - there's usually three types of reactions she gets to comments like hers, and that was always the one that made her cringe the most. Even the more hateful reactions didn't but rather uncomfortable images into her head. "I know a guy who might want t' go," she replies with a laugh, jabbing Lawrence again playfully. "But alas, even if I was int' that, I don't think my girlfriend would be, an' I work this weekend anyway!" Let them down easy, she figures? Who knows, the last person she knew who had suggest a threeway wasn't quite as openly enthusiastic about it.

And then she can't help it. Her eyebrow twitches up, and she has to try really hard to stifle a laugh. "S-Succuboso? I'm not familiar with that as a family name. How… interestin'." She's trying hard not to be insulting - not her intent anyway - but it's kind of hard with the stifled giggles. The drawn broom earns another laugh and a shake of her head, patting Lawrence on the back. "I'm sorry, Lawrence! I just can't go! I'm happy t' try an' help you find a book that might make up for it, though." If they even have such a book.

"Aw c'mon Delia! I'm playin' with her — " except not because he was totally serious. With a glum sigh, Lawrence saunters to the counter reaching into his wallet to pay for his plethora of books. "I guess I'll go to Dragoncon alone…" he turns to Delia, "Unless you've changed your mind and no longer have plans…." Following which he glances vaguely at Lydia, "And Lydia. I know you don't have plans. But why do you hurt my heart so?! That reading… just a date, that's all I want — "

In all her gentleness and in a way few can do, Lydia slides next to Lawrence to extend a hand to him, giving his a light squeeze, "It wouldn't be true to neither my heart or my desires, Lawrence. But I am flattered. I hope you continue to come back and honour us with your presence for years to come." Her eyes close lightly as Lawrence takes his stack of books and Lydia takes the money, even at half price, moving the books is better than not.

Once Lawrence has exited the building, the tea is ready and already being enjoyed by at least one of the women. Lydia inhales the aroma of the leaf-filled water before letting her shoulders relax and pulling a stool to the counter — a perch on which to peer at the rest of the store. She sips the tea and lets its comfort wash over her.

But the comfort isn't settling. In fact, with looming registration, the blonde can't focus in the least. She issues both of her employees an apologetic smile, one sent with particular weight towards Delia, "I owe you a reading. But… " and it's a weighty but, heavy like something about the events that have transpired this morning press upon her conscience. "I need to go for a walk." Secretly she hopes the fresh air and sunlight will provide her with a dose of perspective, something needed to balance herself out. She slides off the stool towards the door. "Please, watch the shop? I'll be back when I can." With that, she disappears through the door, altogether discontent.

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