The Center Must Hold


aric_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title The Center Must Hold
Synopsis For those who understand what it means, every tarot spread in the past year that has been laid for Liz includes either The Lovers or the Two of Cups, which is the minor arcana card for lovers. And in each case, the player doing the reading has actually laid the cards! Skeery!
Date July 25, 2010

The Blue Moon

As you step in from the outside world, it is a wonder you found the store. If you really weren't looking for it you may have just passed it by. Blue Moon is an Occult and Magic shop owned by Aric Gibbs. The smell of jasmine, rose, and thyme fill the air. To the untrained eye, the place is stuffed to the brim with all sorts of magical and occult items. But for those who know a thing about the craft or about the occult they will know the difference. Most of the items and components that are stocking the shelves are mundane and not very dangerous. The books on the occult which line shelves after shelves are collections of work that are either not dangerous or probably will not work. The shelves are stuffed with magical looking trinkets and crystals. Then there is an entire section devoted to candles of every color and some are scented. They range from simple to intricately designed and beautifuly carved candles. Then the shelf unit that is filled with every type of tarot card you can imagine, of course they have books on how to use the cards right next to them.

Most of the stuff here is pretty basic, an entire section devoted to herbs and they even sell live plants for those who like extremely fresh. Some items in jars have those interesting names like Eye of newt and Dragonscale. Anyone who has seen the real components would know that these are not the real components, but to the everyday person they would think that these were authentic. It's almost as if they are purposely are not putting out the dangerous components.

The inner portion of the store has been painted a deep orange, offset by light wooden floors. A half dozen small black tables are on each side, and track lighting brings to attention the black-framed tarot cards done in a multitude of different styles that adorn the walls. A counter is to the left, and a chalkboard behind it boasts the daily specials. The wall that leads back out to the patio has been painted a bright yellow lined in black around the arched doorway, and designs make it visible as a sunburst. At the far end of the hallway is a sturdy metal door marked "Private".

It is too hot for words. Barely 10am on a Sunday morning and it's over 80 degrees already. The blonde who lets herself in the door is clearly not hugely interested in the occult — it was the coffee scent that drew her in. Though now that she's in the door, Elisabeth pauses to look around, her expression taking on a pang of … something. Regret, perhaps, or a moment of sadness. Just as quickly as it appeared, it's gone, though. She heads toward the counter, following the scent of hot caffeine, and stops to take a look at the selections for today. There's nothing overly remarkable about her; she's pretty enough without being gorgeous, not too tall or short. The only noticeable aspect of her appearance is that she's perhaps more sculpted in terms of musculature than average, but it just looks like she's in good shape — not bodybuilder material. She's wearing a summery sundress in a sky blue and purple pattern on a white background and a pair of casual white sandals, her blonde hair caught loosely in an alligator clip.

A young girl is standing at the counter, and smiles sincerely to Elisabeth as she makes her way towards the coffee. "Welcome to the Blue Moon. How can I make you happy today?" She moves to wash her hands and begins to dry them off. She places a tray of oatmeal cookies that just have been baked on the counter, "Won't you try a free sample of our organic oatmeal cookies."

While Philipa tends to Elisabeth, upstairs in his apartment is Aric. He is dressed in a pair of jeans and no shirt at this time. He is doing a handstand in the middle of the room, his eyes are closed with the soft sounds of a waterfall in the jungle playing in the background. His breathing is calm and controlled deep in his meditative state.

"No, thanks," Elisabeth replies to the offer of a cookie. But she smiles. "I would love the biggest mocha latte that you can whip up, though." Chocolate, cream, and caffeine — oh yes, the three C's. She glances into the case of goodies to see what else might catch her eye, too. "Lovely store," she compliments easily. "Getting a lot of business?"

As he opens his mind, he checks in on Philipa to make sure she is behaving. Aric can see through her eyes touching her mind that she is attending to a guest. "Aren't you a lovely thing." He says out loud with his eyes closed refering to Elisabeth. He smiles at her lovely store comment, "Always room for more business beautiful." He bends his legs down coming up from his handstand and moves to grab his shirt. He walks towards the staircase heading down into the store.

Philipa smiles and says, "We do ok. We just had an open mic night last night. Jewel the singer stopped by and sang. She is friends with Aric." She moves to make Elisabeth's order. She tends to it getting out the bag of whip creme. "Just made the creme not even an hour ago. It is still fresh." She takes out a block of fudge and begins to run it over a cheese grater. She making a coffee drink or a work of art. The girl returns with a large cup of coffee with fresh whip creme on top and chocolate shavings. "Your welcome to stay inside or enjoy the sun on our patio." Philipa motions to the door with the patio.

"Nice," Elisabeth compliments. "So far as she knows, the Rock Cellar hasn't even managed that. And when the fudge comes out, oh yes — Philipa will have Elisabeth's regard for life for putting real honest-to-God fudge on that beautiful coffee. And fresh whipped cream too? Holy God, she just landed in heaven. She pays for her drink and grins. "I think you just got yourself a new regular, too. That's the most decadent cup of goodness I've ever laid eyes on, lady." She grins at the girl. "Aric's the owner?" she asks mildly. Just casual interest, honestly.

The subtle creak of a stair has the blonde automatically slanting a brief glance in that direction without being obvious and sharpening her hearing to determine if they're sneaking up or merely walking at a normal pace just quietly. Whether you call it paranoia or simply combat-readiness, all of the muscles of her back tighten up in reaction.

As he walks out of the door marked private, Aric is pulling his shirt down over his head. As he steps out onto the floor, he is barefoot. He runs a hand through his long locks and begins to walk towards the counter. Philipa looks over in Aric's direction as she smiles dreamly at the man, "Yeah…that's him." As he adjusts his necklace his eyes fall on Elisabeth as he smiles softly, "Welcome to the Blue Moon." He picks up the deck of Tarot Cards and begins to shuffle them with one hand. "Your a new face here at the Moon. May I interest you in a complimentary reading why you enjoy your drink?"

Elisabeth takes a sip from the cup of Amazing that Philipa handed her and studies the man. "I don't know," she demurs mildly. "Last time I had one of those, it didn't go so well." She's amused at Philipa's reaction, though she's pretty damn sure the girl's got zero chance — all the cutest ones are either taken or gay. "Aren't they supposed to just be tools to focus your own thoughts?"

Aric nods as he stops shuffling, "I am merely the vessel. Your the one whose energy will go into the cards and perhaps give you the direction your seeking? Or not at this time." He looks over at Philip and smiles, "The drink looks wonderful. Why don't you take a break and I will handle anyone who comes in." He turns his eyes bak on Elisabeth, "I have some time. We aren't usually busy on Sunday mornings until after noon. Besides…I get to speak to a beautiful woman while I do the reading. What's the harm in that?"

Philipa nods and heads outside to enjoy the sun for a few minutes.

Quirking a brow, Liz employs one of those smiles that women who enjoy a good flirt and know it's likely not going to be more use on a man. "By all means, then… let's see what the cards tell me today." She tilts her head and holds out her hand. "Elisabeth."

As he places the cards on the table, he takes her hand with both hands and holds it gently. He runs a finger over the back of Elisabeth's hand and smiles, "Aric Gibbs." He cocks his head to the side looking at her curiously. The contact between the two allows Aric to hear her thoughts and smirks at the idea that she thinks he is pushing for his business now. "It's not always about business Elisabeth. Sometimes it just about enjoying the company of a beautiful woman." He moves to push out her chair and holds it for her. When she sits, Aric moves to his chair and sits down as he begins to shuffle the cards with his nimple fingers. He places the full deck in front of her and says, "Please cut the deck in any fashion you see fit and then focus on what is troubling you…or something you wish to know…or ask the cards a question in your mind. Do not say it outloud." As he focuses on her, Aric does not touch her deep mind but just her surface thoughts to see what she might think or show him.

She should know better. Almost as soon as he takes her hand and comments about the business, Elisabeth's tightens subtly back up. She hides it well usually, but her body language goes from open and amused, ready for a few minutes of flirt and fun, to closed and alert. Her blue eyes sharpen on him and she withdraws her hand and sits in the chair at the table. She takes a sip of her coffee and sets it down, reaching out to cut the deck without looking at it. Her eyes are on him. Will thwarting November 8 just bring something worse down on our heads?

As he cocks his head to the side, he begins to shuffle the cards. He flips the first card. It is the Ace of Cups. He hmmms leaning back in his chair and looks at the woman intently. He tucks his knees up to his chest and says, "Your struggling with something. Your worried about something coming up in the future." He runs a hand through his hair and smiles softly, "Such beauty should never have to worry so." He flips the next card and it is the Magician. He blinks and runs a finger over it looking back at Elisabeth. He hmmms softly licking his upper lip in thought.

There is a skepticism to her gaze, though Liz is managing to keep it to the amused expression as she sits back in her chair and takes up her cup again. She sips from it, simply listening to what he might say.

"You are worried about others as well as yourself. You wonder if your actions will cause a reaction that could make things worse. You don't smile enough…I bet when you smile and are really happy you could give the sun a run for his money." He looks at the third and final card. He looks back at Elisabeth and says, "Focus on this card…it is your future. Focus on what you want your future to be Elisabeth. Send your energy out into the universe and it will listen." He focuses his mind to hear her surface thoughts again.

The flirtation makes her smile some, but it doesn't quite reach her eyes as she watches his face. It is perhaps a test of whether he's just reading the cards or if there's more to it than that… her surface thoughts are very deliberate. I don't have a future, I'm going to die on Nov 8. It's already been foretold. Not that a precog will keep me from fighting tooth and nail to change it. She sips her coffee, her mental tone dry. Question is, are you a shyster or are you actually reading me?

As he blinks and stands up quickly taking a step back from the woman. He looks around the store and says, "Who are you." Aric begins to slowly move away from her.

"Well, now… that's quite an answer. And if you're not registered with that ability, my friend, I highly recommend you get a better poker face." Elisabeth's tone is calm and entirely non-threatening, simply matter-of-fact. "I didn't come into your place looking for trouble, and I don't intend to bring trouble down on you. Sorry if I startled you. I have a little experience with telepaths."

As he stops walking away from her, he cocks his head to the side and his eyes narrow, "Yet your a part of something. What is gonna happen Novemeber 8th. Why would a precog tell you that your gonna die." He hears Philipa coming back in and turns to her and smiles softly, "Philipa dear will you hear into the back and check over the stock for the organic coffee. I need to know if we are low on anything." The girl smiles dreamly at Aric as he nods and skips into the back.

The man looks back at Elisabeth and says, "So…now what?"

Both her eyebrows go up and Elisabeth leans forward on her elbows, her coffee set on the table in front of her. "I'm a part of a lot of things, Aric." She waits until Philipa's gone again before adding quietly, "Now… nothing. I don't care that you're a telepath. Given the announcement that's gone out about everyone getting themselves registered as Evo or non, I dont' think you're going to be able to hide it much longer. And I'm assuming based on your reaction that you're not already registered." She shrugs slightly. "If you need some help getting off the radar, I'll leave you my card. I might be able to help. If you want to be a good little law-abiding citizen, by all means go right ahead. Either way, it's no skin off my nose." She honestly has no intention whatsoever of causing the man trouble. "I wasn't kidding about the poker face, though. If you're going to use your ability to read someone, you should make sure your face never reflects what you catch."

As he takes a few steps towards Elisabeth he shoves his hands into his jeans. "Your right I do not want to be register. I don't go in to deep unless I have too. Yet I was gonna register once. I could hear what they really thought of us. It made me sick. I have considered taking a trip because when they find out what I can do. No one will ever really trust me again." His eyes gain a certain sadness, "Would you really want that…" His eyes narrow as he says, "By the way your speaking you know from first hand. Are you an Evolved?"

"I am," Elisabeth replies steadily. "And quite frankly, of all the abilities out there to get, I have to admit that I think telepathy's the one that sucks the worst. Knowing people don't say what they think — even when it's well-meant biting of the tongue — cannot be easy at the best of times. Knowing what bigots and bastards think? No thanks. I'm grateful I'm just an audiokinetic." She tilts her head at him. "But it doesn't mean no one would trust you. And for God's sake, before you pluck it out of my head and rabbit, I'm going to tell you two things up front. Read me for whatever assurance you need: I am a member of FRONTLINE. And I have zero interest in hauling you in or making you register or anything else." In point of fact… she idly wonders if he'd be interested in attempting to help change what's coming, but … he can choose to respond to that or ignore it at his leisure.

"An Audiokinetic?" Aric is curious now as he says, "The ability to control sound?" He makes a guess showing some intelligence behind him. When she offers to read him he says, "If your offering…mind if I see that for myself? I am not gonna be able to sleep and well I will be honest. I will leave the shop to my manager and take a vacation. Your the first person I have done that tarot trick too who figured out I was in fact reading them. So you will excuse me if I don't show alot of trust….yet." He moves to hold out his hand for her to take, "It will not harm you. I will just look for myself to see if your telling me the truth and I can….rest easier."

Elisabeth nods slightly and when he moves to reach for her hand, she offers it… perhaps a bit cautiously. She's every bit as concerned about letting him into her head as he is about the fact that she knows what she knows, apparently. It's clear in her own upper thoughts that she's well aware that he could essentially turn her into a vegetable if he wants, but she's making the contact with his hand and, God help her, hoping he doesn't. She has no mental shields to keep him out, though she seems to have some experience with compartmentalizing her emotions and thoughts some — FRONTLINE information she offers freely. She is in fact a member. And her motivations are entirely up-front. She has no interest in turning him in, and she does have faith in her own ability to help him get the hell out of Dodge if he needs the help.

There's a whisper of a thought when he says the tarot thing, and as she says the next words aloud, the thought in her head backs up what she says as truth. "I knew a woman who did a reading for me once, and I wondered at the time if she was reading me…. that wasn't her ability, she was simply uncanny in interpreting the cards. So I decided to test it out and see if you were reading me or if you were just good at the cards." She smiles slightly. "Cultivate that poker face."

As he releases her hand, he is trembling slightly. He moves to sit down and says, "I can not turn you into a vegatable. I don't think." He runs a hand through his hair and looks up at the woman, "You are a member of FRONTLINE. I can see you mean what you say." He looks towards the back to make sure Philipa is still busy as he looks at Elisabeth intently. "Why would you need my help? What could I do? That came in and lead me to a door. A door locked up tighter then Fort Knox. It had a name on it…" He leaves out the name and looks down into his lap getting his barings, "We all have secrets I guess."

Elisabeth leans back in her chair again and picks up her cup to sip from it. Her expression is calm, though a bit shuttered as he mentions a door locked tight. She actually assumes he's referring to something else — Endgame is not the first thing that pops into her head with the imagery of a door. But she says quietly, "Telepathy is both the worst and sometimes the most useful talent on the books. Part of what I do is… off the books and highly classified. Wondering about whether someone'd be interested in helping out is second nature to me, honestly. Though I ought to be more careful with a telepath," she says with a faint smile.

"You asked me what's coming on November 8. It ties into that. I know that if you didn't suffer a vision yourself, you had to have seen the news where a bunch of people in the city basically blacked out, had a vision of some kind." Elisabeth shrugs a bit. "We know for certain that it's a foreseeing. And we're trying to pull together details on as many visions as we can get our hands on and interpret what's to come in the hopes of… heading off things like Evo concentration camps." So far…. it ain't going well, clearly. 'Safe havens' anyone?

As he gives her a side glance and says softly, his hair falling into his face sheeting his eyes some, "Is that was Endgame is? Is that why you have it locked up so tight. I couldn't even get close to the door out of curious nature. That is what forced me out." Aric takes a few deep breaths. "I am always willing to help people but I…I have no idea what I could do."

She looks surprised when he tells her what the door was. Elisabeth pauses, debating what to tell him. "It's a group of people who are important to me, yes." She considers and grins. "Well, I don't know off the top of my head what your talents and skills are, but I will tell you this much… whether you help or not, it doesn't weigh in on the other offer. If you want out of this town or you need some help getting under the radar, let me know. Meanwhile…. mind if I think about this a little? I think I'm about as shaken as you are."

As he looks up and says, "No one deserves to die because they are special. If I can help you avoid from dying on the 8th. I will help." He looks around and sighs, "I just can't lose my business. This is my home. My heart." He nods and says, "You know where to find me." He waits till she leaves and flips over the final card. The Lovers. He cocks an eyebrow watching her leave.

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