We Haven't Long To Be Young And Foolish


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Scene Title We Haven't Long To Be Young And Foolish
Synopsis A trip to the Romance section at the bookstore becomes the stage for delightfully ironic speechifying.
Date September 29, 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".

One of Mynama's afterschool 'obligations' is 'volunteering' at the Suresh Center. So it's not odd to see her wiling away the time between when she arrives on Roosevelt Island after the last bell and when whatever lecture, class, or activity she plans to attend at the Center begins in some venue or shop on the island. Today, she's chosen to check out the Ichihara Bookstore.

After all, she'd go blind if all she had to read were her English assignments.

Dressed in her school uniform - a navy knee-length skirt with matching socks, a white button-up shirt with a navy and gold striped tie, black Mary-Janes, and a gray cardigan. Her hair is pulled back in a tight ponytail at the nape of her neck, and a brown messenger bag is slung across her chest. It rests on the floor as she sits on her heels in front of the romance section, eyeing the covers of the various mass market paperbacks held therein.

There's someone else in the Romance section, too, already with a few books in hand that she seems ready to take home with her. Lynette is likely twice the school girl's age, but when her gaze flicks over Mynama's way, it's with a crooked smile. Hook 'em while they're young and all that.

She's dressed in a pair of designer jeans, a long sleeved black top, designer sunglasses resting on her head and a designer purse hanging from her arms. The shoes, too, peeking out from under her hems. Designer. She knows what she likes.

The same seems true of her literature choices, as there seems to be a running cowboy/western theme among her selection. And she plucks another off the shelf, too. Mean Heat; complete with barechested, rugged cowboy on the cover with a properly suggestively clothed female in arm.

More often than not, Brand has work awaiting him close to home after school. Not so today. In fact, he was free enough that after practice he could change into street clothes, marred but by his letterman's jacket. Without it, he'd be just another broad shouldered teen trotting around the city.

Not that he is very well noticed, mostly. Without his constant attention his Ability enwraps him like a security blanket, giving him a degree of anonymity. It allows him to enter the island unmolested, at least. To wander its streets.

The bell above the door rings, softly, as his sneakers take him to a new place.

"How are those?" Mynama asks the woman browsing the rack alongside her. Her English is perfect, but there is a lilt to her pronunciation that suggests it is not her first language. But the question itself is a subtle breech of Romance Reader etiquette. The genre is supposed to be a guilty pleasure, and for a stranger to pry into another woman's collection is comparable to that same stranger rifling through her medicine cabinet. Mynama straightens, a novel with a more contemporary setting given it's vector illustration cover depicting a woman with her hands on her hips and a rueful smirk, eyes seductively narrowed at the pretty boy in the background. "I've never read the historical ones. Are they good?"

When the bell rings, Mynama turns her head to look down the stacks, tilting to peer around a corner. Brand? Brand Wolf? Here? She swallows, then looks back at Lynette with a polite smile, as if momentary wtfery hadn't just happened.

This woman, however, seems to lack the amount of modesty needed to be embarrassed by the question. "Well, I haven't read these yet, but this author is one of the best. If you like the old west." By her tone, it's really hard to say if Lynette is really a fan of it herself, but she must be, by the stack in hand. "I'd stay away from the gothic romances, though, always with the vampires these days." Le sigh~ "But there are some excellent Civil War era novels here…" She glances around a bit before she points toward them. Yep. No modesty.

She looks up, too, at the sound of the bell, but seems more interested (or maybe amused) by Mynama's reaction to his entrance. "Oh my, have we run into your well-placed love interest?" She teases!

The young man is well-placed. The way the afternoon light comes in to play along his face, the slight breeze of the open door - it all adds together! His letterman jacket flutters appropriately, his jeans snug flatteringly, and his black t-shirt is stretched in all the right ways. One hand comes up, to brush through his thick, slightly curly black hair as his slate eyes sweep across the store.

Stepping away from the cover of the teenage romance he stumbled from, he moves deeper into the store, checking out the books on display at the tables in front. He picks up a historical book about the medieval era, opening it up to peer at the text inside.

The information on the historical romance genre is good, but Mynama doesn't seem to pay much attention to it. Instead, she's watching Brand's progress through the store, her eyebrows furrowed slightly. When Lynette makes her final comment, she shoots the older woman a look of offended shock. "No," she hisses, leaning forward slightly before she turns her head back toward the boy. "Just a guy I go to school with." It's not like they have any classes together, what with their difference in grade point average. Still - it's not like their school is that big either.

When she finally does look back at Lynette's collection, she hums thoughtfully. "Gladys Potter? She sounds like an old lady." What do old ladies know about steamy cowboys? "And yeah, I don't like the vampire stuff either. It's…overrated." Unlike when she was briefly discussing Brand, Mynama's voice goes back to it's normal volume. Given her accent and the general cadence of her words, coupled with the relatively empty bookstore, it shouldn't be difficult for her schoolmate to recognize her voice.

Even if they don't have any classes together.

"Oh, well, my mistake," Lynette says calmly, but with just enough amusement to hint that she's not buying the girl's denial. "I have no idea how old she is, hun," Lynette remarks on the author, "But keep in mind… with age comes experience."

She flips over her copy of Mean Heat, to look over the summary on the back before she recites… "Lost and alone on her way from Independence, Missouri to Oregon, Jessie Gibson has only the memories of her slaughtered family to keep her warm at night. But she's a brave, independent woman who is determined to make it all the way to Oregon despite the hard trail ahead of her." Dramatic pause! "A trail made harder by Dusty Bridges." Dundunduuuuun! "Dusty is in the middle of a cattle drive when he and the other cowboys he rides with find Jessie struggling to make a fire to ward off all manner of nightmarish terrors. Brazen and bawdy, Dusty isn't one to save anyone - but something about how Jessie doesn't want to be saved makes him want to prove the upstart wrong. Ride off into the sunset with Dusty and Jessie in… Mean Heat… now tell me that doesn't just grab you right off the bat." Lynette is making no attempt to keep their conversation hushed, either. After all, she's a firm believer in guilty pleasures.

The high schooler's head suddenly cocks, as if he were a wolf finding a scent. The book is set to rest on the table, softly. On light moving feet he stalks down the aisles and rows of the smallish bookstore, set to ferret out what drew his attention. He's very good at sneaking up on people. His Ability does help.

He steps from around a corner, having flanked the girls. "Hi Mynama. I didn't know you came this far out of the borough." He's got one of those getting-deeper-teenage type voices, with the barest hint of some kind of European flavor to it. "Ma'am." He nods to Lynette, politely!

Brand sneaks up just as Lynette is finishing reading the back copy of Mean Heat, and when he announces himself, Mynama nearly jumps out of her skin. She wheels around on a heel to look at him, eyes wide and barely containing the urge to shout at him for scaring her. "Hi, Brand," she says with a tight-lipped smile. "Oh! I'm just killing time before a lecture at the Center." She tilts her head to one side at that, her smile gaining a bit more confidence. "I'm SLC positive." And she says it with pride.

But that doesn't make her any less awkward given the section she's in and the fact that there is a boy from her school standing right there. She turns to look back at the shelf of books, grabbing a copy of Mean Heat for herself, counting herself lucky that there's more than one to be had.

Lynette doesn't jump. In fact, the older woman just sort of raises an eyebrow at the boy before she looks back to Mynama. And really, she seems to be letting the kids mingle for the moment without an adult butting in. Hey, look, another interesting book on the shelf. Indeed.

But Mynama goes and says the magic phrase. SLC positive gets Lynette to whip her head around to look at the girl, and then she glances around. Like she's paranoid of something. Maybe she's one of those people who expects the evolved to just blow up everything on a whim; she seems uncomfortable enough for it.

But she smirks lightly after a moment, murmuring, "Ah, to be young and reckless."

Brand tries and fails to hold in chuckle as the girl nearly hops out of her skin! "Oh, you're going on down there to that place then?" He shrugs his broad shoulders, slightly. "About what time, if I can ask?" He glances over towards Lynette, but focuses on Mynama.

Or at least he does until she drops the bombshell, and Lynnette starts gasping. He frowns at her darkly, his slate gray eyes all narrowed. "Something bothering you, miss? Something about SLC?" He sets his jaw firmly, expecting an answer.

It dawns on Mynama then that she doesn't really have a good idea of what time it is. She reaches into a side compartment on her back to withdraw her cell phone and check the time. "In about…" she says as she pushes a button to wake up the display, "forty minutes? Why?" And the question is asked as she looks from the phone to Brand again. But then he's talking to Lynette. She turns to look at the older woman, her expression wary. Did she miss something?

"It isn't reckless," she says in a clearly defensive tone. "It's just the truth. I'm SLC positive. What? Am I supposed to hide it? It'd be like trying to hide the fact that I have brown eyes." She frowns, but her mouth twists to make the face of of annoyance rather than disappointment.

"Bothered? Why absolutely not," Lynette says with an easier smile. "I think testing is vitally important to our country's state of national security, don't you? And don't worry about these dissenters yelling about our right to privacy. They just don't understand how the government is trying to look out for all of us. Yes, it's a big, bright, beautiful world out there, champ."

When Lynette's gaze falls back to Mynama, she gives her the same easy smile, shaking her head. "I wouldn't dream of advising you to do so," she says before she taps her stack of books. "I should get going before I buy one of everything." And with a wave, she starts for the cashier.

The teenager, dark of hair and of expression, reaches in a supple serpentine motion. His fingers enwrap Lynette's wrist, arresting her motion momentarily. "I think you are wrong. The government must register the minority, and mark them with a sign. For national security. You nod and go along. The government must round them up into neighborhoods and ghettos. For national security. You smile and nod. The government puts them on ride trains to special camps for the security of the nation. You smile and nod. You stand above the graves, blood on your hands and murder in your heart, and you *smile*! You smile and nod and walk in step with every lie against your heart! Gott im himmel, why did my family leave the Vaterland? To escape this shame before the war."

He lets her wrist drop, a disgusted look on his face. "I am glad my urgroßmutter is in her grave. She'd die to see you drink this poison, to ignore what you know is right. To swallow up all the hate den Heiligen would have you forsake." He crosses himself. "Mai mitgefühl finden sie vor dem Teufel." He puts an arm around Mynama's shoulders, protectively. "Come on. I'll walk you to the Center if you want me to."

German is one of the languages that Mynama does know - she's taking the easy way out and learning Spanish in school, since it's so close to her semi-native Portuguese. Still, she'd have to be an idiot not to get the historical reference that Brand is making, and she adopts a proud sort of smile that blossoms into a smirk when he puts his arm around her. "Sure," she says, leaning a little away from the boy so she can look at him. "But I want to buy this," and she lifts the small novel enough to remind him of it more than show him the title.

But she looks back to Lynette with a strange mix of apology and righteousness. "Thanks for the suggestion," she says with a nod as she lets Brand lead her away.

At first, when her wrist is taken, Lynette looks like she might turn and slap the boy across the face. But she doesn't. Self control and all. Plus, when he starts to talk… that expression looks like she might laugh. She doesn't argue or correct or anything. She just looks amused. Possibly mockingly so. Like he missed something important. Or obvious.

To Mynama, she just gives a simple nod before she turns back to the shelves again.

Brand nods his head, walking Mynama to the front of the store. "Don't worry, I've got it." He turns his, and her back to the woman, stalking out of the store. He pays a twenty for the book and tells the clerk to keep the change. Anything to get them away from her all the faster.

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