Special Occasion And Just Because


astor_icon.gif lucille2_icon.gif

Scene Title Special Occasion And Just Because
Synopsis Astor spends some money and Lucille hopes for a free coffee.
Date December 4, 2010

Upper West Side — Miss Aphrodisia's

The vintage boutique is set in a beige storefront with large, open windows displaying three vintage clothing pieces; a blue 40's style dress, an all white zoot suit and matching fedora, and a woman's pants suit from the 50's. But the shop itself holds so much more.

Stepping in through the glass doors leads to an open floor with racks and shelves displaying clothes, shoes, records, players, art, lamps, books… anything and everything your heart can imagine. The stock shifts frequently, as new items are sold, bought, shipped, what have you. Always worth a look around. In the back of the main floor, there's a dressing room to the left and a special room to the right where the extremely rare and expensive things are kept. This room is where the alcohol is on display. It's colder in there, and darker.

It's her second day on the job and already the newest employee has been left alone to tend to the store. The owners not around at the present moment. Lucille Ryans leans against the counter, paging through a fashion magazine. She misses her old life yes.. badly. But this place is really nice and she's really enjoying herself here, already. The store has been pretty dead today actually. Unusual with the holidays approaching but there was a mad rush earlier in the morning so it makes sense that there is a little bit of downtime now.

The bright afternoon sun shines on Lucille's dark hair, falling to her shoulders now. The inky black dye, fading more and more to her natural brunette. The light also hits the various objects in and around the store, her light grey eyes intent on the pictures of a recent fashion show in Milan. She should have been there, but as fate would have it.. she's not.

Her arms are bared, dressed in a dark red tank top. Dark jeans tucked into black boots, gloves left where her coat is in the back. Her delicate fingers play with the silver locket dangling around her neck. She sighs softly as she turns the page and then she's stretching her arms and going to reshelf something. She can't be looking like a lazy bum on her second day. That's saved for.. two weeks from now or something.

There's a clink of the door when it opens in front of a tall, dark, stranger. Who is also rather handsome according to conventional measures, but who does that term apply to around here anymore, anyway? He's wearing a slightly beaten up fleece and jeans that probably didn't cost a dollar over thirty, brown leather shoes with holes punched into the roof in a geometric pattern. He shifts dark eyes through the shop, and his attention falls lightly on the woman posted at the counter alone. "Hello," he says, stepping closer. "I'm looking for a gift for somebody. I was told I'd find something good here.

"Do you think you could help me?" There's a faint stiffness to his smile, as if he isn't quite sure how to do it properly, studying the woman with cautious curiosity.

Her back was turned as the man entered the shop and she heard the door. Preparing to put on her best, 'You Will Buy Something From Me' smile she turns around and blinks and then catches herself. Well.. he does look like he could one of the guys that she had a shoot with before. "Er.. welcome." She says with a soft smile thrown towards the man.

Lucille's eyes scan the man's face and she nods her head, hand coming to ruffle the back of her head. "Well, you've come to the right place, honestly." She says it, because she means it. There's something for everyone here. "Special occasion or just because? Man? Woman? Um.. what sort of stuff do they like?" she comes around the counter and leans against the end of the counter with her hip.

She wrinkles her nose as she hears herself ask all these questions, normally Lucille is the one being asked questions and dodging them. It's weird to be on the other side of it. She tries her best to project a welcoming demeanor towards the man.

It's hard to tell whether the projection of demeanor is working, or whether Astor's just kind of uncomfortable for other reasons. He looks at the woman for a protracted few seconds, then eventually ridges a blink over his eyes. "Woman," he says, a beat too late, and turns his head abruptly to look at a few of the photographs framed on the wall. Judging from the furrow in his brow, he isn't sure whether it's the frame or the pictures held in them or both packaged that are supposed to be the things for sale. There are so very many things. "A girl, I guess.

"I think she likes…" he pauses like he's trying to remember something, his long flickery fingers closing and reopening again. "Clocks, birds, small knives, and the color black. Although I've never thought black is a color." He asserts this information with a wilted J-hook of a smile, an attempt to be funny, probably. Possibly. It isn't very. After a moment, the line of his mouth goes back to being a line. "Just because. But I want something that'll send a strong message. Maybe that I can hide a message in?" His brows lower slowly, slightly unsteady, like a feather seesawing down with gravity.

Eyebrows raise. "Well.. that's a wide variety of things." She gives the man a half smile and then waves her hand. "Well, it's debatable. Some people, artists for instance say black is a color whi-." She stops herself and looks sheepish for a moment. "Sorry, back to gift." She says with a look at Astor again, she turns and makes her way towards the middle of the store.

"Well.. I saw this the other day. How big are you thinking though?" she picks up a wooden flute, a little bigger than normal size. It's wood is dark, very dark. Not black but close enough. The images craved into the flute's surface are those of birds, big and small flying. "It's pretty neat looking."

Handing it off towards Astor to examine she puts a hand on her hip loosely. "It's okay if that's not what you're looking for. My feelings won't be hurt, honest." Lucille smiles softly towards him, she thinks it's a unique gift. If the girl isn't a flute player.. she'll have to learn, now won't she.

"It is," Astor agrees, after a slightly conversationally awkward span of time, distracted by whatever he was looking at. Knick-knacks on the counter, tiny figurines, a series of beads, jewelry. "A wide variety of things," he finishes, after another protracted few seconds, stretched thin over the ruminating stare he levels on the woman's soapmilk-colored face. Then, abruptly, he seems to rally in himself, shaking his head hard enough that a dark curl untucks itself from behind his shoulder. "Sorry. The flute is nice, but I think it sends the wrong message. I."

Am being kind of awkward.

The young man chuffs out a sigh, and then reaches out to take the flute, turn it thoughtfully over in his hands. "I was raised — essentially military. And most people understand after I say that, so… that's why I did." The sidelong glance he shoots her would probably be more pleading, were it not for that subtle separation or bedrock of confidence, whatever it is that keeps the line between quiet and shy clear. He sets the flute down very carefully. On his fingers, there are calluses on the backs of his fingers, and no artist's wit in them. "Can you think of anything else?"

Lu shrugs her shoulders and nods slowly. "I said, I wouldn't be offended." She's not.. okay just a little. She's failed, next gift idea. "Military? My dad was in the Navy." She says in answer to Astor's statement about his upbringing. "Parents pretty hard on you, huh?" her father isn't.. like most dads. But he's still a damn good one. Lucille squints at Astor as she thinks of more gifts.

"You said she likes clocks.. why not get her a pocket watch? You could put the message in there, so it falls out when she opens it?" she's not sure, what sort of message he's wanting to send to the recipient of the gift. And if she's doing horribly at helping him pick a gift.. it's because she's new, honest!

"We have some very nice ones. That still work and everything." Her fingers trail on the shelves as she leaves Astor through, maybe he'll find something from just browsing as she leads him towards where the watches are. "Where are you from?" she asks lazily as she looks over at him with a raise of an eyebrow. He's cute, she's trying to make conversation. She tries her hardest to make it sound normal, she doesn't want to be obvious.

"Something larger than those," Astor answers, rather bluntly considering he is talking to a cute female shopkeeper, though his eyes do pause inquisitively on the pocket-watches.

Shift to one patterned with midnight blue and sharp silver hands, before moving along. "My father wasn't bad. I think— he tried. Orthodoxy tends to sculpt the mindset and… family dynamics, though, into something kind of— extreme." Stiltedness; he isn't used to talking in those terms, judging from the frown that adds lines to his brow. "I guess all orthodox religions probably do. There is probably a Mediterranean Studies student at one of your universities who could tell you more.

"Piraeus," he adds belatedly, his eyes cutting sidelong to the woman. "It's in Greece. Over there, it's still sixteen degrees Celsius most days. I'm here for work. You're American— through and through, right?"

"Extreme." Lucille muses softly as she leans against the shelf listening to Astor speak of his family. "My father probably wrote the book on How To Be A Hardass, seriously." She says with a brief chuckle, she notices the frown on his face and her eyebrows furrow. "Dad's always try but sometimes.. when they think they're giving you certain lessons, what they're really doing is pushing you away." She should know, she's felt like that before. Although briefly, she did. Ahh, when he mentions where he's from. She nods her head knowingly.

"Piraeus, really?" Tilting her head as she studies the man, giving him a look up and down once again. "I did a photoshoot in.." she taps her finger to her chin as she thinks and then her eyes alight as she remembers. "Thessaloniki." Nodding her head, she looks sheepish for a moment before adding in a hushed tone. "I use to be a model. Up until a few months ago actually." As if she's a little ashamed to admit it. People don't take models seriously. "I am American, through and through. Though sometimes.. sometimes I do wish I was from a different country. Maybe Italy, I love their culture and food." She says, thinking back to her days traveling around different places in Europe for work.

"What's your job? If you don't mind my asking, that is." she asks casually as she browses through the shelves and stacks of things with her eyes, returning her gaze to the man. Lu finally offers her hand, "Name's Lucille by the way." She smiles a bit as she offers her hand to shake, it's the proper thing to do right?

The young man takes the girl's hand. Shakes it, somewhat perfunctorily, but there's certainly no nasty slant of insult to it. He merely holds her fingers with about as much finesse as he'd manipulated the flute a few minutes earlier, is all. "I'm on an assignment I can't discuss," he answers, which is somewhat like rolling a dead gator into the middle of a shindig, probably. He couldn't even have made up something glamorous. "I don't think it'll come to anything, personally, but I'm not here alone and some of my co-workers are pretty convinced we can make a difference.

"I think it's rare to find people who believe in their work. Sometimes, that has to be a good thing." His eyes follow her eyes across the brackets that hold up trinkets. Bottled ships, a music box, an ashtray with a peach sculpted delicately into the middle of it. "I think Italian food has too many carbohydrates. You're supposed to be conscious of that kind of thing, aren't you? If you were a model." That is not, in fact, an insinuation about her weight; he's just like that.


"Ah, mysterious man on a mission, who hasn't given his name to the young lady that oh so politely gave hers to him. Okay, I can dig it." She teases lightly as her eyes land on the music box as well. Then she's staring at him with her light grey eyes. "Sometimes you have to help people.. even if you don't think anything will come of it." She says lightly. "I use to believe in my modeling.. I guess I still do sometimes." She shrugs lightly, someone has to look hot in the magazines right?

That gets a chuckle from the former model and she nods her head. "Why are all the delicious, good foods bad for you?" she asks with a raised hands to the heavens as if to say, 'Hello gods, you suck.

"Well, luckily I'm not a model anymore. So I can technically eat anything I want. Though now I find myself stuffing my face and not gaining any weight at all." She winks at Astor she doesn't take it in offense, if only she knew about her ability before. She wouldn't have cared about her food because she wouldn't gain a ton of weight at all.

Right behind the man sits an antique knife in a dark brown leather sheath, which the young woman goes to grab reaching over Astor's shoulder. "I would say that there is no stronger message than a knife." And that's one of the things that this woman likes. "She might love it, and the sheath is a good place to put a written message in." she offers helpfully. She's getting desperate here, for him to like something that she's picked.

Oh. Realization reworks the line of Astor's eyebrows, and then while he's staring down at the knife, he says, "Astor." He hadn't meant to hide his name, no rudeness intended. It's fortunate Lucille's as laid back as she is: one of them needs to be that. His silence is speculative and seems to wear slightly in the air trapped into the store with them. "And I'm not sure what we're doing is much about helping people. The only people who say that and mean it are doctors or delusional." A beat. He glances briefly back at her desk, back at her, shadowed eyes going into a faint squint. He adds this like he's parroting somebody he heard once before: "No offense."

This is how Astor gets all the girls.

"That's nice." After a moment, he allows his hand to descend toward the sheathe, tipping it down toward the base of his palm, freeing it from her grasp with a firm, expectant pressure. Once it's properly in his possession, his other hand goes around the handle, and he pulls the blade free with a fluid little jerk, peering at the edge of the blade.

"Astor." She repeats with faint smile and she's watching him as he studies the knife. Stretching her arms out high above her, she cracks her neck a bit. Watching the young man, as if she's trying to read him while he's not looking. She doesn't have an ability like that fortunately.

"If you're not making a difference by helping people.. " she trails off and blows a strand of hair out of her eyes and she grins up at Astor. "You've been insulting me without insulting me the whole time we've been together in this store." She jokes with a mock look of anger towards the man before she's laughing softly. She's not taking offense.

This is how she gets all the guys.

"Like it?" asked in a slightly more quiet tone, the undertone of excitement just dripping around her. Could she had made her first real sell by herself? Fingers crossed! "It's pretty wicked." She says and then she's looking back down at the knife. You could probably still use it as a weapon.
It is pretty wicked. Astor seems to think so, anyway. He glances briefly over the other handful of blades available for selection, and then circles his stare back to the one in hand.

The reflection of the blade turns the green parts of his irises nearly as gray as hers, but the illusion is gone in a blink of dense coal lashes. "I'll take it," he says. "Actually, I'll take the flute too, if that's all right. It was very," he pauses, as if trying to find a better adjective than, "nice. I think I know who it was meant for." The blade slides back into the sheathe with an audible rub of friction, and he turns away from her to go to the register, pausing to select the carved flute again off the table.

Both are laid down on the counter-top and his wallet isn't long following. Astor counts out wrinkled bills without knowing how much the combination of items costs, and then peers into the space past the desk as if expecting her to materialize there, fit to the next stage of her job like flipping a switch. "I don't get it," he says, eventually. "What do you mean I've been insulting you without insulting you?"


Lucille can barely hold the grin in as she walks back to the register and rings Astor up, she wants to hum and sing. But that's not happening.. not in front of him at least. "You've made some good choices in your purchases." She says as she takes the money and quickly wraps the newly sold items and places them into a bag. Holding the bag out for Astor to take, she grins at him.

"I'll explain further.. over coffee sometime. If you wanted?" a number is quickly scrawled across a piece of paper and she hands it over to the man. Her light grey eyes study his reaction, she's never this forward. But you know what..

You only live once.

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