2046-02-15 Blah Blah

From X-Factor

2046-02-15 Blah Blah
Date Posted 2016/02/14
Location Wee Book Inn - Greenwich Village
Participants Ciel, Rohan
Summary You never know who you might find in a bookstore.

Also: how much history can be summarized by 'blah blah.'

Prompt [Random Scene] Ciel & Rohan @ Wee Book Inn. Ciel's word is: buy; Rohan's word is: start. Rohan sets.
Ciciel.jpg Rorohan.jpg
Few bookstores linger in this digital day and age, but Wee Books has fought hard to retain its scrap of real estate, and as a result, it's one of the most visited shops in the Village.

The place is a warren of shelves, a labyrinth of closely-stacked book piles. It's easy to get lost inside the shop, which has expanded with a twist of staircases and side doors to encompass two stories and several additional storefronts. The books here are new and used alike, and though sorted by genre, a good browsing is generally required to find anything in particular. Wee Books caters to just about every crowd it can; it carries a wide variety of fiction, both historical and new, as well as non fiction ranging from philosophy to hobbyists guides to cookbooks. A small, locked-off section is even devoted to rare, antique books.

Nearly every free nook or cranny holds some sort of furniture designed for reading. Here it's a cushy wingchair, there it's an aging library carrel or an overstuffed bean bag. The place is large and twisty enough that it feels possible to remain lost and undisturbed for several hours, if you choose the right spot.

The presence of a small cafe near the entrance only adds to the homey atmosphere. The place smells like old books and fresh coffee, with the underlying sweetness of fresh muffins or cinnamon rolls to tie it all together. And if you're very lucky, you may gain the favor of the Inn's resident rumpled tabbycat, Milo.

It is a winter day. The weather is cold and fair.

The Wee Book Inn is full of twisty shelves and book-lined passages; easy to lose yourself in. Which Rohan has done. Possibly it wasn't on purpose; there's a bag beside him that appears to be full of some sort of shopping that implies this was a second stop. In any case, he's found himself collapsed on a beanbag in the history section, poring intently through a heavy hardcover, turning the pages with reverent fingers while his other hand is absently patting the resident cat. The cat found him. Probably because he smells of Other Cat. Rohan is so rapt on what he's doing it would likely to be easy to sneak up on him. Or trip over him.

Which is not /quite/ what Ciel does, but she does come to an abrupt halt as she rounds a corner to find Rohan there, her eyes widening with surprise. She blinks at him for a moment before breaking the silence (and his concentration) to say, "Rohan. Hey."

Rohan does not squeak. He does not. He does, however, emit a muffled sound (manly grunt, really) of surprise, and sits bolt upright and drops his book in the same motion, scrambling to catch it before the book he does not own lands, pages splayed, across the floor. The cat flees in a streak of tabby-coloured lightning, leaving Rohan sitting upright on a beanbag, clutching the book to his stomach, blinking at her in surprise, his hair rumpled. He stares at her for a long moment, a myriad of emotions wrestling across his face before he manages a genial smile and a "Hey."

Ciel watches these emotions with a slowly-growing frown, as if such things really ought to be off limits. She tucks her arms across her chest, folding them over the book she's picked up somewhere in the store. She flicks her eyes after the cat, then back to Rohan, and after a beat she offers, "Sorry about that. Didn't mean to scare off your company."

Rohan softens his grip on his own book, his gaze ducking down to it as he checks for any folded pages or damage, fingers skimming over the paper as he smooths a page. He keeps an easy smile now, his composure better sorted. "It's all right. He likely wasn't going to stay much longer as it is, and he's left enough interesting smells on my trousers for Holly to puzzle at, I'm sure."

"I'm sure she'll super love that," Ciel presumes. She shifts for a moment, glancing down the short aisle, then looks back down to Rohan. "Find anything interesting?"

"I was reading about feminism, philosophy, and poetry in the late 18th and early 19th centuries," Rohan tells her, his smile shifting a little sideways. "Plenty absorbing for a lazy afternoon."

Ciel blinks rapidly, clearly surprised, and she rocks back on her heels a little as she says, "Gosh. That seems-- um. Heavy."

Rohan gestures with one hand, lightly. "Biography. Dual biography, really, of Mary Wollstonecraft and her daughter. Rather interesting--and rather sad. So many promising lives ruined by depression, stupidity, and people who were rubbish at /talking/ to each other." He tilts his head to one side, and considers, his voice almost teasing, "Why, what do you expect me to read?"

"Hell if I know," Ciel answers, dry and a little blunt. "We didn't exactly spend a lot of time in libraries." Her eyes flick up, noting the shelves, and she adds, "Or bookstores. Hell, I don't even know if India /has/ bookstores anymore."

"I knew someone in India with books." Rohan sounds more than a little sad briefly, unfolding his legs to rise and replace the book on the shelf, his fingers lingering on the spine for a moment. His smile re-asserts itself a moment later. "I think, Ciel Kane, you've accidentally stumbled on my deepest darkest secret, the one I took great lengths to preserve whilst I was in India." His smile twists a little, and he announces, with a sigh, "I'm a nerd."

Ciel's brows flick upward over a snort, and she gives him a small smile as she shakes her head. "I don't think that one's as a big a secret as you think, Ro." She steps backward as he rises, adjusting her gaze upward, and adds quickly, "I didn't mean to interrupt. You should keep reading. I'm nearly done."

"Yeah, well, when I arrived in India, as a nerdy foreigner with an English accent and no combat skills, I nearly got eaten alive," says Rohan, voice carefully wry. "Sometimes I'm impressed I lasted the first three years. Taught me things." He touches the spine of the book and snorts. "Oh, no worries; I'll save the rest for another day. Besides," he adds with a flash of a grin. "I know how it ends. Death in childbirth by a stupid midwife, a drowning in Italy, preserving a husband's poetic legacy, the meaning of the Vindication of The Rights of Woman, the impact of Frankenstein, blah blah."

"Dramatic," Ciel remarks, her gaze dropping to the press of Rohan's fingers against the book spine. Amusement touches her voice as she adds, "Except for that last part."

"Ah, that's the real reason I didn't finish my history degree," Rohan tells her. His tone is outright teasing now, light and wry. "My tendency to sum up my perfectly crafted arguments with 'blah blah.'"

"I'm guessing it doesn't go will in the defense," Ciel agrees with a quick smile. She shifts a little, not quite certain, and tucks her book under her arm.

"It inspires an absolute orgy of red ink," agrees Rohan. "And a certain amount of 'What in the world are thinking, Ainsworth?'" He glances to her, and then back to the bookshelves, his fingers running along the books as he at least pretends to be considering the titles. The gesture of his fingers is lingering, the motion of someone who really does like books even in their physical form. "And what are you in search of?" he asks, voice still light. "I'm guessing something lighter, but if you're carrying the complete works of Spinoza, you're allowed to mercilessly mock me."

"Oh. Um." Ciel glances down at the book in her arms, which, let's be honest, is fairly silly looking. That is to say, there's a girl on it, and a boy, and they are gazing into each other's eyes in a particularly sappy fashion. Rohan gets only a glimpse before she tucks it closer to her side. "I was actually after a paper copy of this book-- I have this electronic version that I use a lot, and I decided I wanted paper. Sort of a PI's handbook. New York, I mean. But. I couldn't find one."

Rohan's gaze dips to the book, and for a moment his smile turns uncertain, and then returns. "You can read whatever you want," he tells her, his voice lowered a great deal, as if he is imparting a secret. "Even if it's a bit silly. Sometimes I read history. Sometimes I read comic books." He glances at the book again, and then back to the shelves. "Sometimes I read really terrible novelizations of sci fi series meant for ten year olds."

Ciel was not defensive before, but she certainly is now. Her expression flattens as she says, "Thank you for your permission."

Rohan blinks at her, and sighs a long sigh, a sigh of frustration. He runs a hand through his hair. "That's not what I meant," he says quietly. "I just meant--you don't have to be embarrassed. I thought you were. It looks like the sort of book I don't know anything about, to be honest. You don't have to share it, either. I'm sorry."

Ciel stares at Rohan for a beat, brows furrowed down, but then she shakes her head, exhaling as she lifts a hand to scrub it over her mouth. "No," she says, "it's fine. I'm sorry. I'm not /embarrassed/. It's just kind of--" She shrugs, and after a long, considering pause she finishes more carefully, "Sometimes you're just in the mood for this sort of thing." You know. Sappy and romantic.

Rohan's expression goes distant. It's a careful sort of distant; betraying nothing specific but the distance. He draws in a breath, catching his lower lip against his teeth, and he reaches out to touch the spine of the book he put back earlier. "Like sometimes I'm _not_ in the mood to read about great people's lives being ruined by depression," he says, his voice more wry than anything. When he looks back to her, his gaze is steady, and his smile is back, if a little uncertain. "It's all right," he says, careful. "I get it."

Distance is betraying enough, let's be honest. Ciel watches Rohan for a moment, her lips twisting in an odd expression as he looks back to her. Her fingers tighten around her book. "Yeah," she says finally. "So. Anyway. How're-- things?"

"Thing-like," replies Rohan, all lightness again. "I've picked up a third job. There's a stable by Prospect Park, of all places. I'm cleaning stalls. Not very glamorous,'s sort of oddly nice. Guess I'm still a country boy at heart. I get to do a little bit of riding and although I am apparently so old and decrepit I can barely walk after, it's..." He watches her as he fumbles for a word. "Nice," he manages finally. "Didn't realize how much I missed it. And that's pretty much it, except for the fact Holly is bigger every day and no doubt will soon conquer Avenue B and make us all bow to her whims." His smile strengthens a little, a little lopsided.

"What, really?" /This/ bit of news seems genuinely shocking to Ciel, and she blinks at Rohan in surprise for a long moment before she says, "Huh. Well. That sounds-- nice. Yeah? It's good that you're enjoying it. If you-- you know. Ever need a quick hop to Brooklyn. Let me know." Cause she's there kind of a lot now.

"They do trail rides in the park when the weather's better," explains Rohan. "But they're also a lesson barn, and partnered with with some stables further out, I think. The pay's shit," he adds, quite cheerfully, "and the work's hard, and I've been told come spring, I might be pushed out by pony mad teens who'll work for free, but it's--nice." His gaze slides past her for a moment, and he bites his lip again, before he looks at her. "Maybe," he says. "If timing works out. It's a bit out and I've got the bike." His smile returns, uncertain. "I could probably see my way to giving you a riding lesson if you wanted."

Ciel's smile spreads slow across her face as he talks, gaining cheer. At the end, though, she tilts her head in answer to his smile and checks, dry, "Are you sure that's on the approved list?"

Rohan tilts his head, too, unconsciously mirroring her movement. One eyebrow goes up. "There's an approved list?" he wonders, sounding a touch confused. "I mean, you'd probably have to sign a waiver for the stable and I'd probably have to sweet talk the trainer into letting me borrow one of the beginner horses, but it should be fine."

"Rider's," Ciel clarifies, brows lifted expectantly. All, /remember/, Rohan?

"Riders," repeats Rohan, his confusion only growing. "Isn't that what we're talking about?" He stares at her, and the effort he is expending to attempt to make this make sense is almost tangible. "Or--do you mean Rich? But he doesn't have anything to do with it, does he?"

Ciel watches Rohan for a moment, gone silent in the face of his bafflement. There is a clear beat of hesitation that etches itself across her features before she shakes her head, quickly agreeing, "No, he doesn't. Dumb joke, sorry. Anyway, I should go."

Rohan is quietly baffled a moment longer, standing in the aisle considering her. "Probably not offering him riding lessons," he says, light. "I think he might confuse the horses. And, yeah. I guess--it's late? Hard to tell the time in here sometimes." He stoops to pick up his bag; the opening shows a brief glimpse of leather. Maybe he finally found another leather jacket.

Ciel glances down to the bag, then up to Rohan again. "Not too late," she says, blinking at her Eyes. "Still." Her smile is quick as she backs through the way she came. "I'll see you around."

Rohan's confusion lingers a moment longer, but he grins at her, easy, bright, a grin that crinkles the corners of his eyes. "I'll see you around," he agrees.

And with that agreement, Ciel twists around, and a moment later she's lost amongst the shelves once more.

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