School Shopping


emily4_icon.gif joe_icon.gif silvia_icon.gif

Scene Title School Shopping
Synopsis Emily, Joe, and Silvia converge on Prufrock's to acquire texts for their upcoming semester at Brooklyn College, forging a new friendship in the process.
Date January 4, 2019

Prufrock's Books

Fingers pinching the image on the screen of her phone, Emily Epstein peers forward at the blown up photo of her syllabus and the required books she needs to pick up for the class. Reading the title of one of the novels prescribed for the fourth time, to make sure she really has it this time, she kills the screen with a click of the power button and peers down the row of books.

She loved this bookstore the handful of times she's visited previously, and there wasn't enough time to wait for something to be delivered from outside the city. So here she's come, seeing if there's a chance she can buy local instead of resorting to have to head to the campus bookstore. Emily pulls her wholly unnecessary scarf loose, unbuttoning the top of her jacket as she steps further inside. The weather had swung around from being crisply chill back to being unseasonably warm again today. On matters of the weather, it seemed like no matter what you prepared for lately, it would always be for the wrong thing.

Joe is taking some classes. And by some it's really just a couple. Because it's all he had the money for and well he doesn't know how to apply for scholarships and the like. Sometimes being an independent human can be rough. And he's a bit too prideful to go ask Gillian for help with stuff like this. Brian he'd ask, but Brian isn't around. He's still in Canada as far as Joe knows. But he's here. Picking up a couple of college textbooks of the used variety. He's sans his normal backpack full of salvage and trade items cuz well bartering for college texts isn't really a thing. Or so he assumes.

But he has come with a friend! A friend he's not gotten to see a ton of lately. "Crap." He mutters, digging into his pocket for the list of books he needs. He's only taking like 3 classes but his list has like 5 books on it, which is confusing, but he looks at the list again. "I keep forgetting what I need." He makes a face, then stuffs the paper back in his pocket. "So you're taking an art class? Did you graduate high school? Or did Lady Zeus and Mister Ruiz homeschool you? Or are you going to high school? Are any of the high schools even up and running yet? How are your parents? I haven't seen them in awhile. Ooooo." Joe scoots off towards a shelf stacked with used college textbooks. "EMILY!" He shouts out, and then immediately gets shushed from like 8 directions around the book store. "Sorry!" He calls back to them, then gets shushed again. His shoulders hunch against the shushing as if it will defend him against it. "Emily! This is Silvia. Silvia this is Emily. You are both primal people."

"You always ask so many questions, Joe," Silvia laughs, shifting the empty canvas bag on her shoulder. Soon, it would be filled with books and supplies to drive her towards her future! "I'm taking an art class because they don't really have anything advanced in high school. I got lucky and got in with my portfolio. The Adventures of Lance and Joe certainly helped!" She answers around half the questions before she turns her attention oer towards where Joe's shouting. Emily is given a small wave as Silvia looks in her direction. "If you're a friend of Joe's, you're a friend of mine."

It's hard not to pick up the sound of Joe's voice before he's yelling. It's Joe, after all; the boy sometimes blissfully unaware of the difference between an inside and an outside voice. Right in the middle of skimming a case of the classics sorted alphabetically, her gaze unfocuses and trails off toward the sound of his voice. By the time he notices her, she's already staring openly at him with a slightly blank expression on her face. "Hey," she says back in a voice quiet enough the disparity makes up for how loud he's been. She's either a bit surprised at his enthusiasm, or at his presence in general. What's he doing here, anyway?

In the hopes of forestalling any further outbursts, her feet quickly move her in their direction. She stumbles in her hastiness, one arm expertly coming out by her side to recenter her weight and keep her upright. Emily doesn't even look down by her feet. Bewildered, she straightens back up to her full height and nods to Silvia. "Well, that was quick," she remarks, brow furrowing a little in bemusement. Her hand lifts slightly by her side as she fights her way toward an actual conversational string, eyes flicking to the paper sticking out of his pocket. "Wait, did you start classes today, too?"

"Hmmm you used your comic to help get you into school? Primal. Though I will probably want to be super careful now. They know of my exploits. They'll be on the lookout for me. Anything weird happens they're going to pop up over the intercom. 'KSSSSH. Joseph Winters. Report to the administrator's office immediately.'" Joe's voice goes all tinny in a decent imitation of an intercom. Of course then he gets shushed again. "Oh you shush!" He calls back to the people. "It's a book store not a library. Shouldn't you all be excited to be in a book store? You should all be running around hooting and hollering instead of acting like it's sacrilege to be excited." Joe plants his hands on his hips. "Please don't kick me out!" He calls to the workers. "I really need textbooks!" And then he does shush. Well not really no. Joe almost never shuts up. But he at least lowers the volume of his exuberance. Sort of. Okay not really but he tries. Kinda.

"You'll get the hang of it Ems." Joe grins wide at the formerly hobbled blonde. "Until like… you know I don't know when she got healed? Fixed? Regenerated? Computer chip installed? You know I honestly don't know what happened. Basically Emily used to need crutches. Now she doesn't. She walks on her own. And it's primal. Not sure when it happened myself. Saw her recently and she was just walking." And Joe being Joe he took it in stride and didn't even ask about it. "Sorry. that's why she was off balance there. Still getting used to walking would be my guess. But how primal is that huh?" He asks of Silvia, then turns his head to look back over at Ems. He steps forwards and she definitely gets a hug. Joe is a giver of hugs. Much to Squeaks's consternation. "I did. Sorta. So did she. Also sorta. I used what money I'd managed to save up working for Keira and spent it on classes. Figured it would get me started. Sil is taking art classes. Cuz she's an artist. A good one. She writes a comic book. About me and Lance. And it's awesome."

There's a slight giggle from Silvia. She's not always used to how Joe chatters about but it never ceases to amuse her. "That's pretty cool. Walking is kind of a nice thing. I imagine it's hard to get used to though." She turns back to Joe. "You're only a fan of my art because I put you in it!"

Witnessing Joe's active return-shushing of the people around them slowly pulls up the corners of Emily's mouth, a pained grin starting to form. She wants to not find his antics funny, but her nerves had something else in mind. His familiar, if not overwhelming, presence breaks down most of her standoffishness, so much that she doesn't shirk the hug forced upon her, even if the only return he gets is one arm half-lifted, not even really touching him in return. Impromptu hugs are… new.

The discomfort melts into joy when he confirms he's taking courses as well. "Primal," Emily says probably for the first time in her life, but she sounds relieved while she says it. And she really is — a campus full of strangers had been more than she realized it would be, and she didn't have an anchor to settle in on. "Do you have your schedule with you?"

The commentary about her own state had been lost at first, but Silvia's words cause her to look down at herself, feet shifting. For a moment, she's only standing on one. It's almost like a test to confirm it's all still real. That everything's still in place. When she looks back up, she has a much smaller smile. "It's a bit of a bitch, yeah. But I'll take having to learn how to have so much energy all the time over the alternative, for sure." Emily's attention slides back to Joe out of the corner of her eye as she segues with a quirked brow. "How come it's never come up before that you're comic-book famous, hm?"

"That's not true at all and you know it." Joe puts a hand to his chest as if Silvia has wounded him. "I thought your art was primal before you even started drawing Lance and I. Which was the squid incident wasn't it? When you started drawing us? I think." Joe's shoulds pop upwards in a slight shrug. "Only a fan cuz you draw us." Joe scoffs in indignation and shakes his head. "Well I never." Eyes turn sloooowly back towards Emily, his grin wide as ever as he sees her smiling despite herself. Impromptu hugs are life. At least in Joe's opinion.

"I… do not. Have my schedule that is. With me I mean. I have my schedule. But I don't have it with me. I just have the list of books I need. Which is a lot. Like 5 books for 3 classes. Like why would I need 5 books for 3 classes? That doesn't make sense." He fishes into his pocket and pulls out a piece of paper. He's taking some basic stuff. Entry level math, english and science stuff. "Silvia hasn't published them yet. At least as far as I know. She's good enough to though." He pauses, looking to Silvia. "Your English has gotten a lot better by the way. Dunno if you realize it but it's gotten way better." Probably from listening to Joe run his mouth constantly.

"I figured I could get a basic start going. Still hoping to get Lance and Brynn in. Tried helping them study for entrance tests for awhile but they kinda… stopped? So dunno." Joe's shoulders go up again and he looks to the used text books. "Did you find what you're looking for?" This to Emily. "Oh here's art stuff Pearl." He remarks to Silvia, a finger pointing to books a couple feet down from him.

"Well, he's not really super famous because the comics are mostly something I just hand out occasionally in a kind of…" Silvia struggles with the word for a moment. "Uh… magazine?" She glances around a bit before turning her attention back to Emily. "Yeah, there was a thing with a squid, it's hard to explain. The comic does a better job." She sticks her tongue out at Joe. "You should take your schedule with you so you can start to memorize it. Memorization is important." She does however, grin at Joe. "My English is better because I pretend to know exactly what I'm saying most of the time even if it's wrong. Sometimes people do not notice." She turns her attention to the art supplies as soon as she's directed that way. "Oooh, paper."

Emily takes the paper, looking it over and finally frowning, which is more her usual state lately. It's a thoughtful one rather than a solemn one, at least. "Ah, you're here to poach my English books," she swears lightly before returning the paper back. Her tone doesn't convey it well, but there's a softening in her expression as luck wins out for once. Maybe they weren't taking the same class at the same time, but they did appear to require the same texts. That had to count for something.

She looks back to Silvia suddenly, though, and her interest in art. "Pearl," she repeats, stringing several memories together. "Like the Pearl Brynn talks about?"

"My schedule is in my pack. Which I usually have on me. But not today cuz we're at the book store getting college textbooks and I doubt they're going to trade for salvage from outside the safe zone, or stuff I've picked up during supply runs with Keira's crew. Well that would be more likely. But! I figured it would pretty much just be money. So didn't bring my pack. Which…" Joe pauses and sighs. "I realize now was dumb since I'm going to be leaving here with textbooks and now I have nothing to carry them in. Good one Joe." Joe's eyes roll slowly and he lifts a hand up to rub it across his features. "Not sure I've ever heard anyone get excited about paper before. Except Brynn. Never mind. She gets excited about art stuff too."

There's a pause and a slow look over at Emily. "I don't think… so? I call Silvia Pearl after the little pink octopus in Finding Nemo. Cuz when the little octopus gets scared she inks everywhere and when Silvia gets scared she turns into sand. It is the coolest most primal thing. The first time she did it though it shocked us all." And Joe has a hard time keeping people's powers to himself. Emily if you ever want your power to stay a secret when you discover it, don't tell it to Joe. Because he will tell EVERYONE. "So I call her Pearl. Sometimes." He tucks the piece of paper back in his pocket, then resumes looking at the wall of textbooks. Looking utterly and completely lost. "I wonder if they'll let me change my class time slash day slash teacher and what not so we can have class together. Then you can facepalm all day while I don't shut up. Duuuuude teachers are going to haaaaate me."

"Well, I've got room in my bag for text books since I don't need much, but you get to carry it." Silvia says, holding out her large canvas bag to Joe. "Yeah, Joe's the only one who calls me Pearl because he can't keep his mouth shut about my ability." She smiles sheepishly. "At least most people aren't going to lynch you for that here these days. Also, Joe, schedules are pretty rigid in college I've heard. Good luck changing them last minute."

Emily's good humor shifts again at Joe's comment that he's not likely to shut up even in a classroom setting. It's a slow realization that hits her, one that causes her to weigh being alone against being annoyed twice a week for an hour and a half or longer. "Duct tape," is her offhanded solution to the problem, along with the flat warning: "Don't make me buy some."

Her discomfort with Joe's outing Silvia is offput by the girl's lighthearted approach to it. She manages a small smile of her own in response. "Well, it's nice to meet you, Pearl. Feel free to kick him for being rude, I won't judge." Emily's adjusting the shoulder-bag she carries with her, thoughtful for a moment. "Hey—" she mentions suddenly, looking back up at Joe, "Sorry about the other day, by the way. We should talk it over. Grab lunch or something." She assumes, or hopes at least, that her personal business won't end up everywhere. There's a hitch of hesitation before she nods, a physical sign to signify giving him that trust.

Joe opens his mouth to defend himself from Silvia's attack upon his person. But… he really can't keep his mouth shut. "Hey. I can't keep my mouth shut about anyone's abilities. Not just yours. I'm not a good secret keeper. Or liar. Really I'm just not good at subtlety of any kind. Unless it's like combat time and I'm sneaking through the woods or something. That's different. But that's like… life and death type stuff. And it's not like I walk up to random people on the street and go here. Look at my friend. She turns into sand. Or she can recolor anything at a touch. Or he can make everything go silent. Just people I know and trust. And yeah I'll carry your bag. Better than carrying the books in my hands. What would I talk with then?" Because Joe is animated, his hands are always moving when he talks. A big part of that is so many years of translating for Brynn. Heck half the time he's signing stuff out of habit.

"Duct tape can't hold me!" Joe declares, loudly, to more shushes from the people nearby, a couple on the other side of the shelf from where they stand. "Well, Silvia. Like I introduced her. Up to her whether you can call her Pearl or not. I mean she's never expressed annoyance at my calling her Pearl. If she did I'd stop. I might annoy people with my incessant talking, but that's just part of who I am. Wouldn't purposefully upset someone calling them something they don't want to be you know? Also she knows kicking me would be pointless. It's why Lance hits me so often. He knows it's not going to hurt me. So I guess it's the opposite of why Lance hits me so often. Cuz he could like shoot me point blank and it wouldn't be an issue. So he knows smacking me wont' do anything." Joe puffs out his cheeks at Emily's comment. "I wasn't upset at you. I think you're being a little silly in relation to your dad. But that's really not my business either. Well I guess it's… my business adjacent. Since you asked before. But really I'm not going to sit and lecture you about it. But I didn't walk out because of you. I walked about because Hailey was being an insensitive bi….ird." Joe finishes, then pauses.

"The people she talked about putting up in that mural are… people that are very important to us. Mala and…" Joe chokes up a bit. "Sorry. Mala and Denisa were Lighthouse Kids that died. Mala was one of my best friends. Eric Doyle was a friend. A good friend. He was with Lady Zeus, Mister Avi and Aunt Kaylee when they saved us from the government. They were smuggling us out of New York in trucks. And we got attacked. But Doyle was a good friend to us kids. And he died saving some of us. So…" Joe's eyes have teared up. He pauses, breathing deep a couple of times. "Her suggesting using their likeness in a prank… pissed me off."

"I know, Joe, you just gotta be careful where and how loud you say some things. I was almost killed when I was little because of my ability, I'd like for the same to not happen now." Silvia hands over the bag to Joe before picking up a pack of paper. "But yeah, I'm Silvia Ruiz. I am a friend of Joe's and I guess you could consider me an aspiring artist. Especially comic books." She puts a hand on Joe's arm. "I'm sure it wasn't intended to be offensive."

'Business adjacent' takes on a whole new meaning when when Emily hears her father's name fly from Joe's mouth. Besides not handling seeing him get emotional very well, her eyes widen at hearing the string of names. It takes her a long moment to have a follow-up for that, her head shaking slightly. "Don't worry — we're not. Just paint. If you still want to help." She's blinking rapidly, gaze unfocused as she tries to center herself.

She's concealed it well enough at first, but the longer she stands there, the clearer it is she's not all right. Learning there are precisely zero degrees of separation between her friends and her father, after all this time, is a bit of a shock after all.

"Yeah," she breathes out, coming back to herself. Emily tries to seal it all up before it has the chance to chew her up and cause her to flee. She looks back up with a forced smile between them both. "Hailey lives in her own world, though. Should have known better to get all of you in a room together at once for that — lots of competing worldviews and moral value sets."

"I know Sil. I just get excited. And I trust Emily. And I realize that doesn't mean you trust Emily. But I have a hard time not just… saying everything that comes to mind when I'm around people I trust." Joe pulls in a slow breath, then lets it out and nods his head. "I thought of an awesome prank idea btw. Mess with their power. Like find someone who knows tech stuff and install something along their power line that lets you cut power to the building. They'll find it pretty quickly but it'd be a good one when you do it. I mean might tick off some of their scientists when they lose work they haven't saved yet. Buuuut will teach Richard who he's messing with. Cuz you're at the very least Lighthouse adjacent now. I'd say one of us myself. But at the very least adjacent. And we protect our own. And if nothing else we could just knock their power out once. They'll figure out where it happened and we can leave a note that locking people in rooms against their will is not okay."

Joe doesn't know what's wrong with Emily, but he realizes that something is. "What's wrong Ems? You look all pale and ghosty. Like someone walked over your grave or something. And yeah. Hailey should have known better. There's a reason most of us lighthouse kids don't like dogs. Cuz that's how Denisa died. Wild dogs. It was… awful. But that's why we don't like dogs. And this all took a turn for the emotional. So once you tell me why you suddenly look like you were somewhere else… we can go back to book shopping!" An attempt at another big Joe grin.

"I mean, I get it. You sort of have a way of looking out for people. You make a little group and everyone does their best to look out for each other. It's… nice. A little family. And I get it, needing a family when you don't have one. Families mean safety." Silvia nods a bit. "But what about locking people up? That doesn't sound nice?" Her attention turns to Emily after a brief moment. "You don't have to tell us if you want. You don't really know me and don't have a real reason to trust me yet. Even though I'm pretty harmless."

"I just… forget sometimes," Emily says by way of explanation, ever guarded. "What you all went through." And there she goes, speaking the truth but just a step off again. "It's just… a lot. But despite all that, you're still you." It's easier to shift the topic toward what happened, easier to hold onto something frustrating and angry instead of complicated, even if they were — as it were — adjacent topics. "Richard Ray's an asshole," is as much as she feels like explaining, lifting her shoulders in a shrug. There's a plan for resolving all that, at least, which puts her in a better mood.

"So, book shopping?" she asks with forced cheer, nodding back where she'd come from. "One of the books was down there, I think, after we pick up…" Emily trails off, gesturing with one hand to the wall of used textbooks.

"Richard Cardinal thinks he knows what's best for everyone else better than they do. And doesn't really shirk away from putting that into action. Sorry. Ray. Not Cardinal. Ray. I met him the park when I was little. Called him Mister Shades for a long time. But yeah. He assumed he knew what was best for Emily. And while I agree that Emily needed to talk to her father… I didn't attempt to lock her in a room with her father. Which would also be hard since I have no clue who her father is. But that aside I wouldn't force her to talk to her father since she didn't want to. That would be messed up. And yeah, you're right Sil. It is about family. Lance and Brynn and Hailey and I have been together a long time. So we're like siblings, and all our new friends are like close cousins or something. I think? I actually have no idea. I don't remember my life before Brian took me in. So I don't know what it's like to have cousins. I imagine it's like that though."

Joe ahhs and nods his head. Not even for a moment suspicious of Emily's explanation. Because that's Joe. It's going to get him in trouble one day. Assuming that the people close to him tell him the truth. But he does. "It was a lot. Like a lot a lot. We've lost a lot of friends along the way. But we're here. So their sacrifice wasn't in vain. It meant something. Yah know? And I guess that's why I try to help everyone. Cuz… a lot of people gave up a lot to help us. And I want to pay it forward." His head wobbles forward and back a couple times as he looks back to the books on the wall, reaching uuuuup to snag a book. The English one. He also snags a second book and hands the less busted up one to Emily, tucking the more damaged one under his arm. It's not even a conscious decision on his part.

"I never liked the idea of locking people in a room together to make them talk to each other. That could go terribly." Silvia shakes her head. "Family is… I think it's just what you make it. You don't even have to define it really. Siblings, cousins… doesn't matter if they're important to you." She remembers her life before Lynette and Mateo far too well. She was young, but some things will forever burn into your mind. She reaches over and picks up a book that seems to be about drawing anatomy and she tucks it with the packet of paper.

Emily accepts the book that's offered, glancing as she notes Joe pulls the more-worn book for himself. Her fingers tighten around the cover before she tucks it into the crook of her arm. "You're not the first person I've met lately to feel that way. Maybe if I were less emotionally damaged, I might agree with you." she quips, the comment so brusque it must be a joke. She walks and talks, heading back to the organized classics. "Right now, though, I'm just trying to make the family I've got work. It's not going well for me." And with a brief grimace, teeth exposed for a moment, she adds, "But I've been reminded frequently 'at least you've still got family to try and work with', so… there's also that."

She leans back, head tilted down as she peers through the 'Fs'. "There we are," she sings to the covers, tugging one copy of Farenheit 451 to give to Joe, before pulling a second for herself. "Good old Bradbury."

Joe tips his head to Silvia's statements, agreeing with them. "I know. I mean I do know that. Cuz it's what I've grown up with. What I've had to do. Make my own family. I mean well didn't have to make my own since we were all kind of forced together through circumstance. Thankfully, for the most part we get along. I mean not always. Paul and Lance and I rarely fought. When we did it got ugly. Can you imagine a ninja, a phaser and a bulletproof kid getting into it? Nah. Usually we settled our differences through messing with each other." Joe's head bobbles a few times, but he does pause, and tip his head. "Yeah. I'm sure you've heard that plenty from us. But well… all the Lighthouse Kids are orphans so…" Joe's shoulders shrug. He's not apologetic, it's more of a… 'what can you do?' sort of gesture. "I'd like to say I understand where you're coming from buuuut I don't. Hard to sympathize yah know? But that doesn't invalidate your feelings. Only you have lived your life. So no one else really has right to pass judgement on how you feel."

He'll reach out to pat Emily on the shoulder lightly. "I may be bullheaded but I'm not stupid, and I realize that you might feel like we're saying you have no right to feel how you do. And I want you to know that's not the case. And I know the others wouldn't mean it that way either." Joe looks at the book that's handed to him. "Farenheit 451. Ummm okay. Odd title for a book but sure. Wait wait, isn't this the one about the future where people burn books and stuff? I'll probably like this. Secrets are poison. Destroying knowledge is bad."

"People don't always get along. No one is perfectly compatible with everyone around them. Family just fights because family is close. When you're vulnerable with people they can hurt you." Silvia glances around to see if she can find some pens. "But sometimes family isn't meant to be. But you are your own person. You get to decide who is close to you. If the family given to you doesn't work out, you can make a new one. Mine's everything I could have asked for."

"As tempting as it is, Pearl, if I don't try and make things work out with the one I've got…" Emily rolls her teeth against the inside of her lip. "They've both done shit that's frankly unforgivable. Or at least, I won't forgive them for it. But still… they're my parents. I can't just throw them away." Her brow furrows, and she gestures loosely with the book. She can't explain it more concisely than, "They're my family."

She looks down at the book she's gesturing with, glancing to the back. Joe's explanation sounded on track for what she vaguely recalled of hearing the book before. Emily lets out a soft chuckle as she looks back up. "Hey, look at you, you're going to ace the first exam already."

Joe nods his head along with what Silvia says in regards to family, agreeing with it all again. "Pens." He remarks pointing to a spot where there are art pencils, pens and markers. "Odd thing for a book store. But I guess not so odd for a book store that also caters to college students so…" His head bobbles side to side a bit. "And yeah, your parents are pretty primal Sil. Your Dad is a super chill guy and your mom is one of the best people I know. You were blessed to find them." Joe ponders that a moment. "I mean all of us are pretty blessed to even be here today all things considered."

"You know I don't think you've ever mentioned your mom to me Ems. Not that I'm going to interrogate you on it in the middle of the book store or anything. Or at all. I mean if you don't wanna talk about it you don't wanna talk about it. And I get that. Well really no I don't. I want to talk about everything. But I try to get it at least." A quick grin from Joe as he finds one of the other text books he needs and pulls one down. "You need this? Math book. You taking math?" he asks of Emily, then glances to Silvia. "Have you drawn any new comics Sil?" He asks curiously, cuz he definitely wants to see them if she has. "Ace? I doubt it. I'll get nervous and fold under pressure. Cuz it's like not real pressure. I mean it is real pressure but… like danger pressure I'm fine under. Exams and tests? Yeah not so much."

"I guess if you want to try. Sometimes you don't get a choice about these things." Silvia says. She got a second chance. Not everyone gets that kind of luck. She looks back to the selection of pens. "Well, these pens are just okay. If I want really nice ones I have to track them down." She says, picking a few up. "They're not so great for inking. You've got to have clear, crisp lines and so you need a pen that has good ink flow." She shifts her items under her arm a bit. "Yeah, I guess we are blessed. We've got people who love us." She grins. "No real new comics though. Just lots of sketches and design work. I'm toying with a few ideas. I might need to prowl about the city for inspiration soon." This time, she chuckles. "You could always imagine someone's in danger and for every wrong answer you give they get tortured. Exams would be serious business."

Emily glances to the cover of the textbook Joe's pulled, shaking her head slightly. "Not that book…" she says, certain she needs a different one. She shifts her weight to one side and pulls her phone out to tab for an image of her overall schedule. "I don't start that one until next week, so I'm not sure what I need yet. I tested higher than I thought I would, though." she says, not looking up from her phone. With a mutter, she adds, "I'm blaming it on all the shit with the ink lady. Figuring out how to decrypt codes by hand did a lot for my math confidence, apparently." Joe admitting his nerves does draw her attention, though, her brow furrowing as she glances at him without looking up.

"You?" she asks incredulously. She has a hard time believing it, for some reason. "You could always…" Emily starts, and then nods to indicate she agrees with Silvia. "I mean, yeah, that could work." She pauses, head quirking to one side as she considers the younger teen in a new light. "I mean, a bit dark, but that'd work."

"Well I've got a supply run that I'm going on. I'll see if I can't find you some quality art pens and stuff Sil. Give me some brand names to look for and I'll try to suss some out. I imagine art supplies are not something that most places are worried about getting in around here. But we go towards the midwest when we go on our supply runs." There's a flicker of something there, not anger or anything but… focus, as his thoughts drift there's a moment of intense focus before he shakes it off and then pauses, blinking. "Ink lady? What does that even mean? Does she turn into ink? Please tell me you found someone who can turn into ink. That would be utterly primal. Smuggle yourself places on the pages of a book, then bloooop turn into ink and away you go."

"Yeah me. Like I know the info. I do. Like… I know it. But I fold under the pressure. Used to take me twice as long to finish tests when Brian and Gillian were home schooling us. I'd almost always get better grades than most of the other kids. But I took forever. Same thing with like our combat training. Like if we went into it knowing it was a test? Didn't work. But pop quiz that? Like… let us go outside and then throw us into a test we didn't know about and don't realize it's a test. Like we think it's a live situation? And yeah. No problem. Same thing with actual pop quizzes. Like you spring a test on me? I got that. No problemo." He pauses, turning to stare at Silvia. "Wow. That got dark fast. Who even are you right now Pearl?" Joe is grinning though, clearly amused.

"Oh, if you could pick me up some pens that'd be fantástico." Silvia does seem quite excited about the prospect of proper pens. As she observes Joe she grins. "Someone who could control ink would make for a fabulous comic. That's a brilliant idea, I think I might just try something like that for a comic." She looks between the two. "Didn't mean to make it all dark! I was just creative problem solving."

At the extended description of what he presumes to be an 'ink lady', Emily can only laugh, patting Joe on the shoulder and heading for the cash stand. Her eyes are bright as she looks back over at Silvia, only able to shrug. "There's a reason this boy's going to college." she quips. He's right, after all. On the nose.

Unzipping her bag and fishing out her wallet, she squares away payment while Joe and Silvia continue on behind her, plotting out the adventures of the ink girl. She lets out a laugh under her breath as her books are handed back, Joe excitedly suggesting in louder tones that she should definitely break the fourth wall, because wouldn't that just be—!

Emily winces on his behalf as he gets roughly shushed by a passerby again, a one-sided grin starting to curl up again. If he was going to last in a lecture hall, he really was going to have to work on his volume level.

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