21 July 2014
It's a book signing! And this topic is still this topic, so it goes about like /that/.
<NYC> Strand Books - East Village
The Strand manages to pack a whole lot of character into one bookstore, but they have a lot of space to fit it in. They advertise themselves as having eighteen miles of books, and whether or not that is true, it certainly is true that they have an enormous number of shelves packed into their rows and rows and rows of books. A book-lover's haven, this East Village landmark boasts an enormous collection of volumes of all types among their stacks, crammed into the narrow aisles. Well-known for their rare and out-of-print collection, they have many hard to find volumes tucked away in their labyrinth of shelves as well.
The clock has just rung eight but it's bright out still, the sky a pastel sweep of blue with a tint of gold. The temperature is sweet but inside, the air conditioning is cranked to eleven /anyway/. If only Neve had known it would be so chilly! She might have opted for something other than a leaf green sundress that leaves her pale arms completely bare. Only the very perceptive would notice the regular wash of goosebumps that works down her arms--she's in constant movement, which helps, and the deep and genuine warmth of her broad smile speaks more of sunshine than ice.
Given space constraints within the store, the author's table is tucked into a corner near the front windows. Just a small card table has been provided, and a folding chair, and the author seated there has been penned in by set of shelves to her right and a display case to her left. The lefthand case is filled with (what else?) copies of "Mirror, Mirror". The line snakes out from the table in haphazard array, every bit as penned in as Neve herself. Some are obvious mutants--and so subject to frequent glances from employees--while others are not so obvious, or not mutant at all. The only commonality is that each holds something for Neve to sign and this duty she is attending to with the ease and graciousness of a manor hostess.
Micah looks like he's actually had a chance to stop at home today, work clothes swapped out for jeans and a black T-shirt on which Flutterbat unfurls her somewhat less than intimidating baby-pink wings over a pale blue-purple moon. His hair has gone a little spiky from air-drying out of the after-work shower. The young man has managed to find himself in this line, with a copy of the book of the hour tucked under one arm, messenger bag hanging at his opposite hip. Enough people would be curious about it back home to warrant a /physical/ copy, he's decided, himself included. Rather than /eyeing/ poor Neve with potential to make the poor girl nervous (considering), he has been chatting with the people in the line around him and doing more listening than talking from the look of things.
Strange how small the world gets, when interests overlap. The mutant scene draws in its freaks and fad-followers, it's scandalous and its scandalized. Then there's Jim, who no longer wears the old mantle of stubborn leaves and bark and shedding plantfodder. Still pretty chewed up with the scars and dents left over from Masque's love-swipes, he's further ahead in line from Micah - POSSIBLY he got coffee with him earlier on the way here, to grouch and kvetch about This Fucking City, but now he's gotten ahead.
His book is sat down on the table in front of Neve, mangled hand resting atop it to keep the fresh spine pinned open to an inner page. And it's pushed forward, to sit beneath her industrious fingers, dropping down his gruff voice upon her: "Can y'make it out to James."
It is possible that Neve caught sight of Micah before the shuffling of the crowd blocked her view. It is possible, because her gaze swept over him and /paused/. Nothing changes in her expression, the lock is in on staying pleasant, but it /is/ a blip--a moment of brief surprise, maybe enough to make her blink. Reassuring, perhaps, that her smile doesn't dim? /That/ particular honor is reserved for Jim. When she drags her eyes back from the line and looks up at next in place, here is a shift of expression: it goes utterly blank, even as reflex sees her fingers tensing to leave the pen's tip poised just over the page.
But that moment too passes. Her lips curl again, though they remain pressed together, and she tilts her head at the man. "To James, of course. Thank you for coming out...James? And for this." Buying a copy, she must mean, because her other hand settles with fingers splayed on the pages to help him in keeping the surface flat for writing. There she writes a neat, 'To James, thank you for your support of the printed page! It's harder to sign e-books. Regards, Neve Leone'.
That look? Micah noticed. You might be able to tell because there's a hint of pink (not quite to the degree of matching Fluttershy) settled about his cheeks for no apparent reason. He eavesdrops a little on Neve's conversation with Jim, though not a great deal is being /said/. Though that tension is curious. He hadn't known they had met at all. Attempts are made not to be too obvious in his listening in, several people back as he is.
Jim looks back one part perplexed, three parts /obtuse/ in the standard nature of anything Jim-bound. It makes smaller motions between the big flat surfaces somehow more visible, darting of eyes over her face, the pulling tighter of brows. The faint leaning back on his heels. But no recognition. And he keeps eyes locked on her face like he's not certain she won't spit acid or something if he goes easy a pretty face, pulling his book back to himself slowly, "Thanks." And, seeming about set to take his leave (even half turns to hold up his book to unflourishingly waggle it at Micah like 'LOOK WHAT I GOT or... something') he abruptly stops and turns back to the seated woman. Puts a hand on the table like he has an important inquiry. Opens his mouth. Closes it again. And jerks a thumb over a shoulder, "Guess you met my friend." Hi, Micah. We're talking about you like you're not RIGHT there.
The turning away prompts a pleasant, "It was nice meeting you, and thank you again." Standard parting words, right? Except. Jim doesn't part. Neve's smile wibbles again, dipping into confused territory. Fortunately she is armed with /incredible reflexes/...or just gritty determination to keep things light and sweet. "Oh...you're...you know Mr. Zedner? We've met, yes. I tried to run him over with my bike. Hello, Micah. I didn't think I'd see you here, but thank you for coming. I'm glad you did," she says, regard shifting from banged up gentleman to the colorful one. Her empty hand extends and turns up, ready for the placing of the all important book within.
The people between Jim and Micah part, one young woman actually gesturing him /forward/ with uncharacteristic politeness for a New Yorker. Perhaps it helps that they did see Micah and Jim come in together and Micah drifted further back in line listening to /their/ stories on the way through the queue. Maybe they sense some of that tension and just want front row seats to what's going down. Drama? Maybe? Micah's blush picks up another layer of pink, perhaps /really/ working on fitting his colour scheme for the day eventually. He steps forward, handing over the book. "Jim an' I live in the same complex. Known each other for...pretty much since I moved up here." He nods at the thanks. "I meant it when I said I wanted t'know your story an' hear what y'had t'say. An' I wanted t'apologise again for you bein' in the middle of the...unpleasantness that our meetin' with your father turned into. Weren't...intended for you. If that's even the word." Yep, there's the shade. Deeper colour threatens to dip into red territory on his cheeks with the bit of fluster. "Um. Y'can... This's gonna be shared out in a home with a lotta folks with X-genes in it. Whatever message /you/ think's important. Personally."
Jim's body language is as abrupt and solid as his every-/other/-language, and Micah coming nearer triggers a rolling of foot wider, weight shifting to a hip, thereby annexing the smaller man /into/ the subtle arboreal shelter of his otherwise unapologetically /hard/ personal space. A barrier that... doesn't seem to know what to do about Neve, seated there so pleasantly. And scoff-sounds to the woman, looking down into his book like he's otherwise /done/ with this conversation... except that he's intoning, "Bet you thought the rocks'd stop flying when you joined the great American Majority, huh?"
Let's make that blushing for two, shall we? Neve's own cheeks take on a brighter tint, though nothing to rival Micah's full ruddy glow. "I wasn't in the middle," she says quietly. The book is drawn towards her and held open to expose the cover page. There she writes, 'Always, always be true to yourself and follow your own path, though you needn't travel it alone. Regards, Neve Leone,' without seeming to need to think about it. Perhaps it's a canned message, something she's written to others. Perhaps it is exactly what she feels. And yes, she totally wrote 'needn't'. Upon finishing, a look of quiet concentration becomes rather more /pained/. Reluctantly pained, at that--forewarning that what she's about to say hurts her as much as it might hurt Micah. "You were rude," she tells him, her voice dropping out of consideration for their crowd of eavesdroppers. "We went out of our way for you and you were impolite. That wasn't fair to us. I heard...far more lecturing than listening."
Following the taking of a small breath, she's able to lift her eyes to Micah's and adopt a small apologetic smile, however. The book is gently closed and offered back. "That said, I /am/ glad you came. It means a lot to me." A slight shift to encompass Jim in the next statement occurs. "Especially as friendly overtures make the rock throwing bearable. I didn't expect to be welcomed with open arms, no. No one's quite ready for that, I think."
Micah's eyes sketch over the words written with a soft, nearly subaudible hum in his throat. He takes the book back with a gentleness, expression surprisingly /not/ chastised. "There are things that bear sayin', hon. An' when y'say 'em once an' y'say 'em twice an' y'say 'em /politic/ an' they don't get through? Bears bein' said a little harder. Words I said were /gentle/. Word on the street? Eugenics. Genocide. Not my words, but I've heard 'em more'n once." His fingers drum on the book cover. "Y'were in the middle. What I was tryin' t'remind? It was one medical practitioner speakin' t'another 'bout the /promises/ we make. Maybe that sounded like a lecture, but it's one we get in school an' worth rememberin'. Again, not aimed at you, hon." He chews on his lip a little. "It's a topic that's gonna rouse passions. An' it /should/. Please take care. There's gonna be...folks that /aren't/ tryin' so hard t'be on your side."
"Eugh," Jim is glancing kind of lazily over a shoulder, at the wall of people, all their curious eager eyes, and making /eye contact/ with a few like WHAT, "a bookstore's kinda 'terra nullius' on the speaking-hard department. Not really in a mood to get shot today," though his faint nearer lean that places his shoulder just faintly against the back of Micah's might suggest 'or see YOU get shot today', "By a rabid - whatever they call librarians that /sell/ books." Bookkeeper, Jim. Do you feel that, Micah? That is Jim's ARM. He's not going for a quick goose, don't worry. More kind of hooking it around those narrow Micah-shoulder's as though he's concerned he might need a wingman to HOLD HIM BACK, BRO. Save that his... eyes are actually dropped back down for a final longer look at the penmanship written within his book. And brows are furrowing /harder/. It transfers perhaps a bit incidentally into a tension down his arm.
"That knife cuts both ways, Mr. Zedner. The same could be said of my repeating to you, my father repeating, our intentions. It is not getting through, and you are lecturing me again. Perhaps when you can recognize that in yourself, we might have a respectful discussion in which I share my story. Right now, I don't feel comfortable speaking with you any longer." Neve does not have it within her to be cold towards someone. Even cool is beyond the scope of her abilities. But she does speak as if something has detached, a portion of focus drifting some distance from all of this. The effect has even managed to take that pitched color from her cheeks, returning them to their former pallor. "Thank you both for coming. Take care."
Aaaand cue smile, as she looks past the two of them to the next person in line. The older woman standing there--short, stout, wearing a /rainkerchief/ for heaven's sake, is acknowledged with /dimples/ and a hand outstretched for the book she carries. "Hello!"
“Apologies, hon. /I'm/ tryin'.” Micah's fingers tap on the book again, illustratively. “Didn't mean t'hold up the line. Y'can hang back if y'like, Jim. An' don't be ridiculous, there's no one shootin' just now. I didn't even bring Jax with me.” Yikes, there's gallows humour now? “Have a good evenin'.” His departure isn't hurried, but it /is/ direct.
"Not really my /crowd/, dude," Jim /snorts/ as he heads out with Micah, a final puzzled frown thrown over a shoulder at the woman at the table. Of course, not watching where he's going means he nearly bodychecks a book rack along the way, leaving it spinning cockeyed behind him. Maybe a paperback takes a nosedive. Watch, it'll be Dean Koontz. It's always Dean Koontz.