Walk, Not Run


abby_icon.gif amato_icon.gif lydia_icon.gif

Scene Title Walk, Not Run
Synopsis Abby and Amato visit Ichihara Books to see who's running the place, get books and spark philosophical conversation.
Date September 6, 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".

Abigail's got work later, a promise to cover a shift for someone who was going on vacation post labour day. She'll be working all week which isn't bad and is the reason for the paramedic gear that the blonde is in when she picked up Amato from where he had been ferried across from Staten Island.

She was going to take him to Ichihara Books with her. Not wanting to go on her own and trying to figure out who she knew that might enjoy a second hand book store, the would be priest who really isn't a priest, came to mind. It was a peace offering of a sorts as well, after their last meet and she wasn't entirely sure that the man would even show up much less get in a vehicle with her.

The blue SUV coming to a stop outside the store and engine killed, the medic glances back and forth between Amato and the bookstore, unsure. A deep inhale, her purse grabbed, she plasters on a smile. "Come on, lets get you in, and see if there's anything to get for the safe house and for you. I think you'll like this place Amato. I did" Did.

The ride across the water and to the book store from The Garden was indeed a tense one. Not that, in some small way, Amato isn't grateful for a day away from the same set of walls and trees, but his last encounter with Abby certainly left a bad taste in his mouth. It could be argued, even, that it is because of her that he went and got his jaw broken. Not that he would ever blame her. But on top of it all is the shadow, the threat of being caught. Stopped. Asked for papers he doesn't have.

So Amato too pauses once the SUV has come to a stop outside the bookstore. He peers out of the slightly tinted window at the storefront, his brows knitted together as if the place might just be packed tight with government agents. Of course, Abby wouldn't take him someplace she deemed unsafe. Would she? Swallowing, he grips the door's handle with a set of long still slightly pale fingers despite his long hours working in vegetable gardens and with the safehouse's horses.

When the door opens, the pair are greeted by a loud chorus of meows a cluster of kittens piled into a giant ball of fur on the counter. The combined scent of lavender oil and green tea wafts from just behind the counter where a teapot has been left to brew.

One orange kitten in the centre of the counter meows the loudest, beckoning the attention of his mother who is, currently, nowhere to be seen. Oddly, neither is Gabriel. Although, they're heard. Much hissing and meows transpire behind one of the many shelves of the store that is Gabriel's home.

"I will make one of you stay upstairs," a woman's voice scolds loudly. "It'll be you, Gabriel, if you scratch me again," the tone resounds with warning, even if the cats can't understand her, she hopes they may pick up on the fact she is displeased with them both. She shifts from behind the shelf towards the counter with the black cat — Huruma — cradled in her arms. Presumably, when she put it on this morning, her dress was white. Now? It's almost a speckled grey, covered in the black cat's fur.

It's in this chaos that Lydia turns to face the door, a polite albeit, strained smile tugs her lips and eyes upwards. She clears her throat, unsure what her guests were privy to, instead, preserving her own smooth gentleness. "Welcome."

"Just give Gabriel Tuna, he'll hush up real good, and he'll love you more. There's also this spot right where his tail meets his arse that he just loves being lightly scratched. Right on that ridge of hip." See Amato, no plethora of agents to spring out and attack. "Hi, I'm Abigail" She'll let Amato introduce himself, using whatever name he prefers to use.

"A little bird told me that the place had re-opened" Delia in truth. "I thought I'd come down and pick up a few things and bring a friend" A gesture to Amato has the blonde woman - the younger one - coming in fully and making room, looking about to see what else had changed, besides the owner and the kittens all falling over one another. Delicate hands, longer fingers and lightly lacquered nails reach out to dance fingertips across the little bundles of fur."

There are few animals that Amato can say he really likes. Cats aren't among them. And despite the lack of boogey men set to leap out of the shadows at him, the tall, lanky man hangs back once he's entered the shop. He's dressed in Garden spares - an old t-shirt paired with jeans that have seen better days, and the boots that might as well be glued to his feet now. The outfit makes the working man's tan on his arms and face stand out all the more.

He gives Lydia a quick nod when he is referred to, and he slowly starts to wander among the shelf's, one arm held tightly against his side by the opposite hand, crossing his middle.

"Tuna," the painted lady's smile is somewhere between sheepish and bemused, "Right. That's probably why he liked Delia so much. I've never really had a pet before this… Gabriel came with the store and an employee rescued Huruma and her kittens from the alley…" Her cheeks flush a pale pink while her eyes carefully scan her latest visitors. She extends her hand towards Abby, "Lydia." Her smile strains when Huruma is allowed to roam the counter along with the kittens. "So.. you've been here before then — when Hokuto owned it?" The smile persists, "Welcome back, then." Her gaze flits to the man, but she doesn't press for information, instead asking, "Can I help you find anything?"

Rescued Huruma and the kittens? Abigail shoots a look to the black cat with a raise of brows. A palm goes up, an apology of sorts and warding off the offer of a hand in greeting. "Sorry, no offense, I don't much take to shaking hands. Old habit, from an old ability. But it's a pleasure to meet you. I was a friend of Hokuto's, I bought her the oil lamp up there" A gesture to the door and the antique lamp there. "After she read my cards and got upset. As a thank you." Abigail follows Amato, not too close so as to make the man upset.

"I used to stay here when I was going to school and the curfew was right after classes let.. She'd make me tea and breakfast in the morning. Help me" A tap to the side of her own head. "I thought my friend might be in want a few books and I've been a horrid friend to him and I was curious as to whom Corbin had found"

At Abby's confession, Amato turns to look over his shoulder at her, but he doesn't straighten. His expression is somewhere between 'you should feel guilty' and 'why would you think that?' But turning back to the books on the shelves, he releases his arm and clasps his hands behind his back.

"That's ridiculous, Abby," he says, his words, even in his manufactured American accent, enunciated with strange precision. He looks around the shop then, finally seeing the sign near the counter that advertises Tarot Card reading. Amato once again looks back to Abby, one eyebrow raised skeptically. "You?" he asks, the softest push of a single chuckle behind the words.

Amato pulls himself to his full height then, his eyes narrowing as he looks down at her. "And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people." As it always is when he quotes scripture, Amato's voice takes on the qualities of a man behind a pulpit, even if he isn't projecting to a large crowd. But with Abby, there is a tone of gentle reproach in the words. She of all people should know better.

"No offense taken," the gypsy woman replies smoothly while her hand falls to her side, brushing along the skirt of her dress, removing some of that cat hair in the process. Lydia lingers a bit behind, enough to keep that contact, at least during the pleasantries. "Corbin was very gracious and trusted me with much." And, consequently, kept her here when her instincts told her to run only days ago.

"I take it you have a problem with Tarot," her head tilts at Amato, though Lydia's tone lacks judgment or defensiveness in this regard. "Fortune-telling mostly loses its validity in a world of precogs." While the words remain even, her body language, tells a different story while her arms fold over her chest, effectively closer herself off from the pair. "And I certainly wouldn't call myself a wizard."

"Yes Amato, I." The blonde takes a look of sheepishness at the kindhearted lecture that she seems to be receiving. "She read them. I don't find an issue with her reading them, she knew I didn't believe in them. They're just cards and they passed the time that night. I put more stock into Pastor Sumter's ability than Hokuto's cards" No matter how eerily they had come about, and true.

Abigail's hand drifts out, almost like she might touch Amato's shoulder in apology for letting Hokuto read her the cards. "But Hokuto has passed, and it's not nice to speak ill of the dead" Does drifting about in dreams with an incorporeal body count as dead?

"You would let politeness hamper truth?" Amato doesn't react much at all when Abby touches the shoulder bearing the scar given to him through the join efforts of Felix Ivanov and Kazimir Volken, other than to knit his brows once more. He glances to Lydia, a dissatisfied frown twisting one side of his mouth. "The future is not ours to see, to predict. No matter what lies at the end of the journey, we must still put our feet down for each step along the path." Strange wisdom, coming from a man with a monkey on his t-shirt.

With a deep breath, Amato lifts a hand to loosely wrap fingers around Abby's wrist, trying to reach that calm state that will allow him to touch her without any ill effects. "Would you speak of the saintly acts committed by one, or of the evil ones for which he was vanquished?" Amato's master may not be dead in the traditional sense, but the axiom still applies. "When we are gone, all we leave behind are the memories others hold, be they ill or kind."

The frown is only met with an increasing serenity in tone and expression, "But self understanding in the present lets us know where to tread. And few understand their own circumstances at the moment they transpire. Moments and times of process are few and far between in a world wrought with turmoil, betrayal, and disappointment." At the last word, however, Lydia's smile falters just a little, twitching downwards as she directs her attention to the tea pot she'd left to brew when breaking up Gabriel and Huruma's scuffle. "But then, I suppose, there are those among us that fear their self understanding," her cheeks flush before she offers, "Tea?"

"I suppose we do only live on in memory… " and then, comically her lips twitch into an easier smile, "… unless we choose to live as ghosts — either in this life or beyond."

Amato may be referencing one thing, but those who know Hoktuo and what she did - unknowingly - can imagine what Abby is thinking of in relation to such words. "I would speak of both Amato. No one person who walks the world this day is truly saintly" Not even herself, not now. His touch yields no visions and no excessive warmth from her thanks to chemical influence. She turns her wrist in his arm, grasping his and squeezing before worming out of it so she can go look at some of the books further in the store. "No, thank you, for the Tea, maybe another day, I'm going to wander, let both speak, he will probably delight in speaking with someone with a differing view"

The rhetoric Lydia employs, whether she means to or not, barbs her words. Amato's frown deepens, and he steps away from the shelves of books toward the counter and the shops proprietor. And, of course, the kittens. "One could argue that self-understanding is only aided by whatever moral doctrine one has adopted, or even developed on one's own. Self-understanding comes from introspection, mediation, and prayer. Not from chance. Not from whatever symbol is depicted on the face of a playing card."

Abby may think Amato likes this sort of conversation, but in truth? It's just his years within the halls of the Vatican that make his blood boil and his tongue lash.

"Depends on your brand of self understanding," Lydia quips in return. "Moral fibre and community can create some semblance, but understanding the source or roots of one's own fears or desires, that can't inherently come from some moral doctrine. And self-reflection in a world too busy and too fast to accommodate it…" she shrugs. Her long locks are tucked behind her ear as she pours herself a cup of tea in a single china teacup. "And, I would think, very little in life is left to chance, if anything. Perhaps people think of their fates as chance, but more guides life than simple happenstances strung together. Not to say bad choices don't influence fate… but there are too many connections in life to be named mere coincidence."

She brings the cup of tea towards her nose and she drinks in the scent before taking a smooth even sip.

"I'm not talking about choices," Amato counters with a shake of his head and a slight upward pull of one corner of his lips. "I'm talking about the draw of a card. The roll of a dice. These…methods, this brand of self understanding is based on probability - nothing more. And forgive me if I prefer to take stock in weightier measures."

He takes a deep breath to steady himself, his icy eyes glancing down into the basket of kittens on the counter. "Do you have sugar?"

"Not all of it is probability, not even with cards," the statement is coy in both form and function; Lydia isn't in the habit of discussing what she can do, not after what DHS pulled so many years ago. Her smile gains warmth, however at the question, "Of course. Forgive me, I forgot my manners." She opens a drawer of the counter and extracts a small brown tupperware container which is placed on the counter as she eyes one of the kittens. "I'd leave it out, but I'm positive Huruma's brood would make a mess of it."

"Self-reflection is important, how a person conducts it is relatively irrelevant to the concept if it implores them to examine their own motivations in a given moment." Her lips press together as she brings the cup to her lips again. "There are, however, those of us that avoid it, even when it's so closely aligned to who we are." Beat. "And what we can do." Her features tighten.

It's a dance that Amato is used to. One for which he knows the steps and variations. His frown makes the turn toward a real, if weak smile. "Some people prefer modest sedans, while others are more at home in the flashiest of automotive machinery." The vehicle doesn't matter if it has the same purpose - this, he will concede.

He reaches to lift the teapot and pour himself a cup, selecting the most sedate one in Lydia's eclectic collection. Two level spoonfuls of sugar are then added, and after he's clinked the metal along the sides of the ceramic a few times, he lifts the beverage to his lips. "Truthfully, I prefer to walk. As close to the natural order of things as necessary, the way God intended." Scripture helps, to be sure, but it is only the key to the gate of those introspective journeys. Amato raises his eyebrows as he takes a second sip from the cup.

Some drive around in a hybrid SUV that's brand spanking new and can parallel park itself and really shouldn't be driven in a city like New York. It's fairly flashy and as many have said to her face, it's a really big vehicle for such a thin girl. That's till they need it to move, or they need supplies run for the Ferry. Then there's no comments about her brand new SUV. A few books plucked from obscurity in the back, one filled with oddly, vegetarian recipe's, she's sidling up to the counter and glancing between the two.

"Walking is a good method," Lydia concurs quietly before another sip is taken from the cup. She hmmms in quiet contemplation, an unusual consideration hiding behind dark eyes and eyelashes. And then? An unusual admission, "I've always been more of a runner." Not literally, but figurative. "Lately, I'm more of the avoid variety." She sips at the tea again as Abby sidles to the counter. "Did you find everything you were looking for? I have an inventory — one of my employees made it… if there's something you're looking for, I can cross reference it…"

"Pity," Amato says with a tilt of his head, those icy eyes not leaving Lydia even when she looks away. "Exercise is quite important to one's health." He takes a third sip, then sets the teacup down on the counter, wandering away to earnestly look at the shelves. He's nearly exhausted what the Garden has to offer as far as reading material, and his long legs propel him toward the religion and philosophy section.

"I don't come here with something in mind. I tend to just wander and let my fingers dance across the bindings and see where they take me." As she Amato end up trading spots while he goes to look for something now. "Always eclectic things in here. Do you have anything in Russian, or Italian?" There's a hopeful thought that maybe there is something in Russian. "Odds of childrens books in Russian, or anything in Russian is likely very slim" She might have to go have someone look online for such at work for her. "How are you finding the place? With everything's that's happened here"

"Maybe I need to get back at it," walking. Not running away, not when the only catch to her ownership of the bookstore was that she keep it open. Lydia turns her attention to Abby. "I believe…" she clucks her tongue before reaching around the kittens for a large oversized binder. "…I have one translation of Peter Rabbit in Russian…" her pointer finger runs down the words on the page quickly scanning for what she's searching. "And. There. We. Are," she whispers finally finding the book in the collection. She shuffles to a shelf just in front of the window, a shelf that Gabriel has claimed as his own. He hisses at her warningly before she clucks her tongue at him, only to bend down and find the book in question which she lets drop towards her.

"The store is… an adventure. I'm not a business-minded person. This makes me a pushover in my business dealings. And frankly, I believe more in compassion and understanding than drawing a hard line." All thanks to the eldest Sullivan brother. Peter Rabbit is laid atop the counter for inspection.

"Gabriel" Abigail admonishes the cat, tilting her head at the white and black beast. "Just like your namesake" Abigail murmurs, not daring to pet the cat without a can of tuna or some such other treat. Instead, she plucks up a kitten to hoist onto her shoulder and scratch gently while Lydia start culling for the book.

Success is met with disbelief and then a smile at the sight of the children's book. "I'll take it. These others as well, and whatever it is that he chooses" A glance towards the religious man. Whatever he wants, how much he wants, up to him. "Make sure to pick up a few things for the house" Called out to him, in addition to his. There's even a book in her pile for Francois.

Abigail's comment draws Amato back out of the stacks, his brow furrowed once more. Who names a cat after that Gabriel? What other Gabriel could it be? Suddenly very off-put, he mumbles a thank you as he nods to Lydia and makes his way toward the door. "I'll be in the car, Abigail," he says sedately before he opens it and steps out.

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