Penelope wandered through the dimly lit crowds of the after hours lounge. Red paper diffused the only lights in the place giving the space and old world feel. Men and women writhed together on couches and at the bar in some desperate attempt to connect before the night came to a close. A few of the men leered at her with lecherous intent in their eyes, she walked by them paying them little heed. On another night it might have amused her to play with one of them for a while, but tonight she had other matters on hand.
All her contacts within the supernatural underground had pointed to this place and the man that frequented it. Of all the supernatural creatures that inhabited Chicago Lucius Macaire Le Deschamps had been there the longest. He was a vampyre and like all of his kind he was entwined with the lives of mortals, if any could point her to the witch Mami Fortuna spoke of it would be him.
Penelope scanned the room for a sign of Lucius channeling the essence needed to pick a vampyre out of the crowd of mortals. Like all creatures of the supernatural world hiding among mortals was a thing of survival and vampyres did it well. Her grey eyes moved over the red lit room until they fell on a darkly alluring man, Lucius Macaire Le Deschamps. The vampyre sat in alone in a darkened corner of the lounge watching the coupling with a look of amusement and hunger. He held himself with an aristocratic, almost regal air as he sipped his drink in the shadows.
Locking eyes with the vampyre Penelope approached his table moving slowly through the crowd. His dark eyes lit up and he smiled with what seemed a genuine warmth as she took a seat next to him.
"Bonsoir mon chère," Lucius said as he reached out a hand. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"
Penelope laid her hand in his, his olive skin was paler than her own and slightly cool to the touch. She returned his smile and replied in silk tones, "How goes the hunt tonight?"
The vampyres eyes narrowed ever so slightly at her words and his grip tightened on her hand. Her smile remained and she cocked her head to the side fixing him with her grey eyed gaze. Lucius studied her with dark eyes as a pretty blonde waitress approached the table.
Before the girl could speak Penelope turned to her and smiled, "I'll have a rioja, mija, a well aged rioja."
The girl nodded and disappeared into the crowd. Penelope watched the girl walk off before returning her gaze to Lucius. With an unwavering smile she lifted her other hand to finger a curl of chestnut hair.
"Relax," she began coolly speaking in a soft voice. "I have not come to cause you trouble. I have need of information."
Penelope pulled the ornate pendant from her side pocket and laid it down on the table, "I found this outside my door, whoever left it there is watching me. Like all of us who walk hidden among the mortals I have certain discretions I would like to keep, you understand?"
At a nod from Lucius she continued, "An old seer told me I would find a witch in Old Town who could help me deal with this matter. Might you know where I can find him?"
Lucius leaned back in his chair studying her in silence. The vampyre's dark eyes traced over her every contour in search of something. Penelope returned the pendant to her pocket and for a moment let the vampyre glimpse her true essence pattern before once again concealing it. Recognition glittered in his eyes and she nodded. Despite her desire for secrecy it was at times necessary to reveal herself at least this much, and this was one such instance. She truly doubted Lucius would speak freely if he thought her mortal.
They sat there in silence, two immortals from the old world studying one another - he a vampyre and she a siren. The waitress returned with the glass of red wine interrupting their silence. Taking the glass Penelope looked up and smiled at the girl. She waited for the girl to disappear into the crowd again before leaning back and sipping the rioja. It was well aged and dry, certainly not the smooth and fruity crap the people of this age preferred. After another sip she placed the glass on the table and returned her attention to Lucius.
"It is strange to see one of you outside of the wild places. Your kind prefer caves and springs to cities chère, no?" he spoke his question matter of factly.
Penelope smiled and took another sip of wine, "The world has greatly changed, mi vida. You know that as well as I."
Lucius nodded and sipped his own drink swirling the dark liquid, "That is has, that it has."
He raised his glass to her and she raised her own to meet his. Their "chin chin's" echoed one another and both drank deeply from their glasses.
Lucius was the first to return his glass to the table and fixed her with his dark gaze, "It is not question, chère, of if I know where to find whom you seek, but whether or not I will tell you where to find him. He is one mortal I am rather fond of and I do not wish to send one such as yourself to his doorstep."
Still holding the wine glass Penelope returned the vampyre's gaze, "He has nothing to fear from me, I can assure you of that, corazòn. I swear, in the name of Diana, that I intend him no harm."
That seemed to satisfy Lucius and he smiled, "But of course, mon chère, and I will hold you to that. The man you are looking for is Alexander Sharpe, his offices are on North Street in Old Town. Just look for the Eye of Ra on the door."
Penelope returned his smile, "Gracìas mi vida."
Lucius simply nodded, "But of course. Now, cherè, why not stay for awhile? It is late and mortals need sleep more than you or I. It has been a very long time since I enjoyed the company of one my own age, I suspect the same is true for you?"
Smiling she sipped her wine, "Indeed, it has been very long."
Posted on 2009-09-06 at 18:04:29.
Edited on 2016-03-07 at 06:33:10 by Eol Fefalas
Moving through the store, Alex tried not to think about anything more than the list of items that he had come here to pick up - a few cans of tuna… maybe some salmon for a change… detergent and fabric softener, milk… how about some real coffee; no crystals… - but it wasn’t easy. Joe’s visit earlier in the morning (and the events that had precipitated it) kept running through his mind, as did Smoke’s freely offered thoughts and admonitions on the whole situation, and, as a result, he couldn’t help but wonder what Emily might have thought about all of it… about where his life had gone in these past years…
Of course, if Em was still alive, he thought as he dropped a few cans of tuna, mackerel, and salmon into his basket, I don’t guess I’d have to think about it at all, would I? If I’d have just gone to the ritual like she’d asked me to…
He shook his head as if to physically shake the thoughts free. “You damn well know she wouldn’t want you blaming yourself,” he muttered following a heavy sigh as he moved along up the aisle… Wish that made it easier not to… He wanted a smoke all of the sudden and a drink, too, in spite of his still-protesting head and stomach. …If I’d have been there… Another shake of his head to try and dispel the inner argument that he’d been having with himself on an almost daily basis for the past three years and Alex found himself pointed at the dairy case. The inner discussion had turned to the subject of how, if anything, Emily was still doing everything she could to help him move on… Even with all the rotten crap you’ve done… despite the rotten crap that you’ve become… Smoke came your way so you’d have someone to care about you; Rosie plopped into your life so you’d have someone besides yourself to watch out for. If that ain’t Emily tryin’ to tell you somethin’…
“Rosie?” Alex blinked and finally took his sunglasses off just to make sure that he was seeing properly. The milk racks were a mess, the various cartons and bottles all shoved this way and that, and in the midst of the chaos was little Miss Janelle Hirta.
“Em, baby,” Alex mumbled, his eyes ticking upward, “if this is you tryin’ to help, it ain’t funny.” He stuffed his sunglasses into his pocket, then, and returned his gaze to Janelle’s almost manic search of the dairy case. A grin had started tugging at the corners of his mouth as he approached. The grin faltered a little when, for whatever reason, he consulted his Blackberry for the time.
11:27, the hairs on the back of his neck prickled and the grin shifted into an almost nervous pursing of the lips, Crap! How’d that friggin’ poem go again? Rosie had serious issues with time. Freaky-serious. Those issues, coupled with the fact that the girl packed enough untapped essence in her tiny frame to attract the attention of some really nasty boogens from the supernatural underground, were what had driven Alex to develop his ‘big brother’ complex for the quirky Asian girl and, also, what had finally led him to start paying attention to that weird poem she was always reciting and trying to figure out what the precise times to look out for might be. For some reason, 11:27 didn’t seem as if it was one of the better picks.
“Hey, Rosie,” Alex smiled, reaffixing the grin so as not to tip her off to the time, “looks like the whole world runs out of milk at the same time, huh?” He snagged a carton of whole milk and a carton of cream from the shelves and dropped them into his basket before they got swept away in Janelle’s searching. “You gonna need a ride back home or anything?”
Posted on 2009-09-07 at 18:07:36.
Edited on 2016-03-07 at 06:38:22 by Eol Fefalas
He walked around the front of the Chevelle and started across the walk to the entrance but stopped suddenly looking back at her through the passenger door window. Hey, Ellgawen? he thought in her direction…
Thanks… you know… for… everything.
He didn't wait for her to acknowledge it, of course, and she'd probably pick at him for having actually acknowledging her efforts as he just had, but he felt that he owed her at least that.
"Get laid, she says," he chuckled softly as he turned again and headed into the store, "Crazy cat..."
* * *
Outwardly she just rolled over onto her back and started going about the laborious job of cleaning her belly as he thanked her, acting like it didn’t matter and didn’t bother to respond to him directly. If he had been closer to her when he said it, though, he might have heard her purr slightly.
Inwardly she thought to herself while he went into the store to get her things.
Yeah… you’re welcome Alex. Someone has to watch over you. Lucius can’t be there all the time, Rosie needs someone to look after her… and we all know you don’t look after yourself.
And yes I said get yourself laid.
As much as she tried to understand it, Ellgawen just couldn’t understand the relationships that mortals made with each other. They could be sentimental to the point of self-destruction. Loyalty often meant everything, even when the person they were being loyal to was dead. Not that she wasn’t haunted by the ghosts of her own past, but not to the same degree.
Emily was dead; had been for years now. Alex was still alive; had years ahead of him still if Smoke had her way. If he wanted to run around killing nasty cult members that was fine by Smoke. They were dark creatures who preyed on other Gifted like cannibals. The fact that they were themselves Gifted turned Smoke’s stomach. Before it was often those without the Gift who attacked her favored human. Fear drove them to do terrible things, it was unforgivable certainly, but it was understandable. Attacking your own kind was not understandable or forgivable by any standard. So Alex could kill them, and she would help, she liked helping anyway…
Everything else was unhealthy in her opinion. The drinking, the smoking, the way he ate (or didn’t eat), and this whole refusal to act on his more carnal needs. ‘Till death do us part’ was how the vows usually went. And Emily was dead; just as all of Smoke’s humans were dead, some of them by a few hundred years. She had loved them all, some perhaps more than others, some in different ways, but it had been love that bonded them together. And forming this latest relationship with Alex did not tarnish any of the loves before him. Alex simply didn’t see it that way. Smoke knew that he would see falling in love with another woman as a betrayal. So she didn’t ask him to find a new love, she asked him to find a woman to sleep with.
And if there was one thing that Smoke knew it was that sleeping with someone didn’t have to involve any long term loving relationship. Chet was good at those… and for that matter so was Smoke.
She licked under her right front limb and let her whiskers twitch a little at the thought of the black tom cat she had run into a few nights ago.
There had been something about the way the tom had slunk between the trash cans in the alley that reminded her of Thabes. Thabes. That gave her a pause in her cleaning. Before she was Ellgawen she had met Thabes. He was a bast, unlike the tom in the alley.
A purr rattled in her throat as she reminisced. Over the years she had had many lovers, but Thabes was much more than that. Briefly she wondered where he was, what he could be doing now. There was no point in it though. The time she had had with Thabes was ancient history now. Memories to make one purr but not to make one cry. Time had gone on without them. She supposed she would never again find him, or anyone like him, just as Alex would not find someone to replace Emily. It didn’t stop her from having her kicks now and then, though, something she never felt guilty about, and something Alex shouldn’t either.
The purr got louder as she wondered if that black tom cat was still prowling in the neighborhood…
Posted on 2009-09-08 at 17:11:11.
Edited on 2016-03-07 at 06:40:39 by Eol Fefalas
Janelle blinked, surprised. In her surprise, unbidden by her, the aura of her Essence flickered, revealing itself as a sheath of static for a split second. An aura almost like lightning... powerful, but quite apparently uncontrolled; something inside of her, unheeded by her. It was only 'visible' for a second, however, and quickly faded when she looked up.
"Oh, Mr. Sharpe, I haven't seen you in a while." Janelle said warmly, standing up. However, she saw a flicker of a colour out of the corner of her eye, and when she looked, she saw it. The milk jug she was after. In reaching for it, she saw her own watch.
She smiled. At least time, although it was undoubtedly out to get her, was forced to be both benignant and malignant.
"Oh, yes, if you don't mind. A ride would be nice... I can't run quite so fast if I'm carrying groceries anyway." Janelle replied, "Besides, you still bring your cat with you everywhere, right? I should say hi to her at least, and I like petting her... she's very soft."
(Just making an assumption here... but I'm not sure how Alex would know the times otherwise, since I don't think he'd memorize them, besides the obvious 12 and 6 of course )
Her warm gaze faltered however, when, by habit, she looked at Alex's watch.
"Um, your watch... you still don't have a digital one yet? I thought we had picked you out one a couple of weeks ago, and you said you were going to order it... Noon is only half an hour away after all..." Janelle nervously pointed out, a bead of sweat visible by her left ear.
"I-I could draw up a ward for it in the meantime..." She quickly added, her hand going to the sketchpad in her pocket.
Posted on 2009-09-08 at 18:01:56.
Edited on 2009-09-08 at 18:04:15 by Reralae
The frantic flickering of the girl’s essence prompted Alex to wince a bit and, like that first encounter with the sun this morning, urged him to put his shades back on. He also couldn’t help but smile at her return greeting…
Mr. Sharpe, he chuckled inwardly. “You can call me, Alex,” he reminded her. Of course, any of the times he had accompanied Rosie to any of her meets… or tournaments, or demonstrations, or whatever the term was where it applied to her fencing team… she had always introduced him to others as ‘my friend, Mr Sharpe’ so, despite the reminder, he figured that he’d probably remain Mr Sharpe for the duration.
His smile brightened a bit and he offered a faint nod when she accepted his offer of a ride home…
"Oh, yes, if you don't mind. A ride would be nice... I can't run quite so fast if I'm carrying groceries anyway," she chattered in reply a she snatched a carton of milk, seemingly at random, from the shelf, "Besides, you still bring your cat with you everywhere, right? I should say hi to her at least, and I like petting her... she's very soft."
…and Alex’s smile broadened even more at that. “Yeah,” he answered, “Smoke’s waitin’ in the car, in fact. I’m sure she’d love it if you said hello… she won’t give up the front seat,” he added with a chuckle, “but she’ll be happy to...”
The smile had suddenly faded from Rosie’s face, having been replaced by a rather nervous expression; “Um, your watch…”
Crap! Alex hadn’t even thought about his watch when he noticed Janelle raiding the dairy case. If he had, the thing would have already been stowed away, deep in a pocket and out of the girl’s sight.
“… you still don't have a digital one yet? I thought we had picked you out one a couple of weeks ago, and you said you were going to order it... Noon is only half an hour away after all...”
“Uh,” Alex faltered for a second, simultaneously sorting his hangover-addled thoughts and tugging at his sleeve in an attempt to cover the analog face of his watch “no, Rosie, not yet… I… uh… had to get the phone bill paid and all that and…”
“I… I could draw up a ward for it in the meantime,” she suggested, her hand already for the ever-present sketchbook.
“Yeah,” he conceded, noticing the bead of sweat that had formed near her left ear, “okay, kid. Sure.
How about I take this,” Alex tried a reassuring grin as he took her milk and added it to his own groceries, “so you’ve got two free hands. I’ll go settle up our bill and meet you at the car, okay? I’m right outside.”
A few minutes later, with Rosie’s “ward” securely wrapped around his watch, Alex stepped back out onto the street, several bags of groceries in hand. Rosie was already in the backseat of the old Chevelle, leaning over the front seat to pet and chatter with Smoke. The sight warmed his heart, of course – in the past few months he had come to love the nagging bast and the odd little Asian girl like family – but at the same time he couldn’t help but think; Lord and Lady! You’ve become the creepy, old guy with a cat! You kinda do need to get a life, Sharpe!
Chuckling to himself, Alex crossed the sidewalk and deposited the grocery bags in the backseat through the open window. “Look who I found, Smoke,” Alex grinned, nodding at Rosie and nestling a cigarette in the corner of his mouth as he opened the driver’s door and slid in, “Made me a ward for my watch and everything.”
There isn’t anythin’ wrong with this life, he told himself as he lit his smoke with one hand and started the car with the other. Better than plain ol’ booze and bonfires, anyway, he tried to assure himself as he pulled away from the curb and aimed the car in the direction of Rosie’s apartment building.
“So, you are headed home, right, Rosie,” he asked, flicking a glance at her via the rearview mirror, “got any plans besides grocery shoppin’ for the day?”
Posted on 2009-09-11 at 14:00:33.
Edited on 2016-03-07 at 06:43:58 by Eol Fefalas
Within a moment, Janelle had one of her "wards" sketched out. It was a square, with an irregular six-pointed star in it, with the two points on either side of the centre two stretching out to share the square's corners. Within this star was a circle, and within this circle were two pointed ovals, overlaying each other in an 'x'.
"Here you go, and thank you." Janelle said warmly, passing the page to Alex. "If you wrap it around your watch, that should be enough... I'll go say hi to Smoke."
Walking out of the store, Janelle headed over to the Chevelle. Smoke probably saw Janelle coming first though, since her aura was unmistakable.
Sitting in the back seat, Janelle leaned up forward, and tilted her head to look at Smoke. She giggled, before scratching Smoke gently behind the ear.
"Hi Smoke." Janelle said, smiling, although her eyes were slightly distant, "How have you been?"
Janelle never expected any reply... but she asked anyway, for the sake of asking. She moved her hand up to pet between Smoke's ears, but she didn't seesaw the ears, rather, stroking back between them.
"Are you taking care of Alex?"
Inside, Janelle knew the answer. Yes... Smoke would be taking care of Alex, just like Tabby had looked after her when she was little.
"Your fur is so soft... it almost makes me envious... but if I had fur I probably would have to have a really good conditioner, wouldn't I?" Janelle giggled at the thought.
Janelle moved her hand again, now petting along Smoke's back...
Inwardly, Janelle sighed. She kind of missed Tabby.
Just a bit later, Alex came back.
"So, you are headed home, right, Rosie," he had asked, flicking a glance at her via the rearview mirror, "got any plans besides grocery shoppin' for the day?"
"Not really," Janelle replied honestly, "Although... you know, we always seem to come across each other like this or you visit me at my place... what's your place like?"
Posted on 2009-09-11 at 18:04:16.
Edited on 2016-03-07 at 06:45:04 by Eol Fefalas
If you're not carrrrrreful, Smoke's ecstatically lazy voice purred in his mind as Janelle continued to pet her, she might rrrrrrrrrreplace you. Uh-huh, Alex smirked thinking his reply in her direction as he reached over to rub a finger under the bast's chin,and then it's long nights of homework, bags of Meow Mix, and dodgin' clocks for you, sweetheart. Have fun with that.
"Not really," Janelle had replied to his previous question, "Although... you know, we always seem to come across each other like this or you visit me at my place... what's your place like?"
My place? Alex hadn't been prepared for that and his eyes ticked to the girl in the rearview mirror, then to Smoke, back to the road, and then completed the circuit again before he could stammer out; "Uh..."
Great, Smoke offered, snickering in his head, except it smells of scotch and dust. And tuna and cat hair, Alex snarked back, his eyes sliding back to the bast before flicking back to the rearview. "Kind of a mess," he shrugged, regarding the girl, now, "but we like it well enough, I guess. Wanna see it?"
"Yes," Janelle's head bobbed enthusiastically for a moment, then Alex saw her eyes shift to the groceries in the seat beside her and then regard her watch, her expression going all uncertain, again; "I have this milk, though and if I don"t get home in time..."
"I do have a fridge, Rosie." Alex chuckled, already turning the car in the direction of home as opposed to continuing on to the girl's apartment complex. Watching the smile return to her face, then, Alex crushed out the remains of his cigarette in the near-full ashtray and, deciding that his headache had eased enough to handle it, turned on the stereo... He thought it was funny that The Stones were cranking out Time is on My Side at that moment... He wondered if Fate was a DJ... with a frigged up sense of humor.
"Okay then," Rosie chirped, her ponytail bouncing crazily off her shoulders when the nodding started again.
"Okay then," Alex grinned as Rosie and Smoke continued their 'bonding' and he returned his attentions to navigating the streets of Old Town.
A few minutes later, the Chevelle rumbled to a stop in the alley behind Sharpe Eye Investigations. On the way here, Alex had been reminded that one of the main reasons that he had never invited Janelle over was because, aside from the mess he'd made on top of it, the front of the place was still the same 'occult book shop' it had been when Emily was living. Janelle, despite the essence generator that she was, seemed to be completely oblivious to the fact that she was Gifted, at all, and was as in the dark as much as your average mundane where the Craft was concerned... The Craft? Yeah. That wasn't a bad movie. The chicks in it were kinda hot, anyway... Alex and Smoke figured it was best to keep her that way as long as they could - Alex wasn't sure he had the skill to properly coax the Gift out of her safely and Smoke figured that if he so much as tried before she was ready, the results would be disastrous - and, since they weren't exactly sure that something in the shop might awaken Janelle, they had done what they could to keep her clear of it so far.
Since Janelle had actually asked, though, and Alex couldn't think of one good reason to deny the girl a little escape from her 'everyday,' he'd had to come up with some way to make sure everything was in order where the shop was concerned before he walked her face-first into it.
"Here we are," he said, stepping out of the car and retrieving the groceries from the back seat, "home sweet home, for what it's worth."
Janelle scooted out of the car immediately behind the groceries and Smoke, after a leisurely stretch across the front seat, pounced to the pavement and slinked towards the backdoor. Nudging the car door closed with his hip, Alex balanced the groceries in the crook of one arm while his free hand sought out the proper key for this seldom used entry. He snickered as Smoke made a disappointed inspection of the two empty pie-tins that sat by the door and, before her human could unlock the people-sized portal, slipped into the house through a recently installed pet door.
"I know," Alex sighed, playing along with Smoke's display as he unlocked the door and toed it open, "Your little buddies need food, too. Gimme a minute, would ya?" He grinned at Janelle, then, pushing through the door and inclining his head indicating that she should follow. "Smoke's always naggin' me about somethin'," he laughed, depositing the bags on the counter between the sink and the refrigerator, "Come on in."
Before Janelle got across the kitchen, Alex looked up at her from the array of groceries he was unpacking. "Hey, kid," he smiled warmly, "could ya do me a favor and fix Smoke up a plate of this salmon and a saucer of milk? Maybe toss a can of tuna in those pie plates out back for the toms in the alley? I probably oughta go and check the machine, see if there's any work waitin' for me, you know?"
((OOC: There, assuming Janelle doesn't refuse to help out and feed the cats, Alex will take this opportunity to go and make a sweep of the shop. Secreting away anything too obviously magical, covering up or turning around any analog clocks that might be visible, etc... and yes... checking the answering machine... feel free to interject anything you like. ))
Posted on 2009-09-12 at 20:30:00.
Edited on 2016-03-07 at 07:25:38 by Eol Fefalas
Oooh... it looks mysterious... well, probably not in the back, that is
"Not a problem." Janelle said warmly, taking and opening the can of salmon.
It gave her a bit of time to think about her first impressions of the place as well. It was a bit different than she had been expecting, although, admittedly, under the pretext that Alex was a PI, her mind definitely gave her the image of a more office-like abode. She wasn't expecting it to be so... homey? Janelle giggled. Some people would call it a bit messy, but to her, it seemed pretty common. It just meant that the space was lived in.
A nudge to her ankle snapped her out of her reverie, and she quickly obliged by placing the stirred salmon into Smoke's bowl, along with a fair amount of milk in the adjacent one.
Janelle smiled, "You like the salmon, don't you? Tabby always liked tuna more, but not Meow Mix... she never did agree with the solid food, now that I think about it... I guess it'd be like a person trying to eat dry cereal."
Janelle excused herself momentarily to open a can of tuna to put in the pie dishes. While she was doing that, her mind wandered for a second, until she spotted the time on her watch. It was getting closer to noon... a bit too close for her comfort. She quickly closed the back door behind her, and began rummaging through drawers in her search for some tape.
Posted on 2009-09-13 at 06:44:56.
Edited on 2009-09-13 at 06:45:14 by Reralae
Walking down North street Penelope ran a hand through her chestnut curls. She had intended on finding Alexander Sharpe earlier but the vampyre had kept her up later than anticipated. He was a fascinating man and it had been refreshing to talk to another who had lived as long as she. There were not many left from the Old World, the burning times had seen to that. Ancient bloodlines had been lost forever and those that remained now hid in the shadows. The siren sighed, what had come to pass had come to pass and there was little to do move with the changes as they happened. Still, the presence of another who had seen the passage of centuries was welcome.
It was not long before Penelope found Sharpe's offices, the Eye of Ra was displayed prominently on the door. Smoothing her skirt as she walked up the stairs of the grey stone building Penelope subdued her natural essence pattern to appear more like that of a mortal. It would not fool a true being of the supernatural, but most Gifted humans would see nothing more that a woman with a spark of the GIft. She had come seeking this man's help and it would not due to let him know her true nature just yet, with any luck he would remain in complete ignorance of it.
Reaching the top of the small stairway a small sign caught her attention, Sharpe Eye Invesitgations. Penelope ran a finger along the sign and smirked, she had found her brujo and it seemed he was a detective. Things could not have unfolded more perfectly. She gave her dark hair one last tussle before knocking on the door. Three raps and then Penelope stood back and waited.
As Alex emerged from the hallway and into the storefront he stopped in his tracks, surveyed the place for a moment, and then, dumbstruck, shoved both hands through his hair. His fingers laced together on the crown of his head in hopes of keeping his skull from popping off and, his eyes wide as he scanned the room once more, he mumbled; "Oh... Damn... There's no way I'll be able to hide all of this."
Aside from the evidence of his life without her that had been layered on top of it, the shop hadn't changed much since the last time Emily had been here. The bookshelves were still stocked with volume after volume of materials regarding The Craft and related subjects; display cases and shelves still hosted collections of crystals, herbs, incense, candles, athames, and almost anything else a practicing Wicce (or some Goth kid just trying to freak out mommy and daddy) could ever possibly need; and the small Altar that Emily had built to perform her blessing when the store opened still remained on the small table at the very center of the shop. For the first time in years, Alex saw the place with fresh eyes and, awed at the enormity of what faced him, couldn't help but stand there gawking... and thinking; Rosie, kiddo, I hope invitin' you in doesn't bring the block down. Haven't I been telling you that it's a little much, Smoke's voice, with its I-told-you-so inflection, asked.
All Alex could do was nod dumbly for a moment. Then, casting a glance over his shoulder and seeing Janelle still working at feeding the cats, decided that he'd probably be best served to just take care of any clocks that might be obvious and not worry about the rest. If she asks about any of it, he thought as he unglued his feet from the floor and moved to drape a "Phases of the Moon" tapestry over the old grandfather clock that stood near the cash register, I'll...
...I'll worry about it then; that's what.
Alex was halfway through his 'quick clean' of the shop when two separate noises simultaneously snatched at his attention. The first was the sound coming from the kitchen that sounded like drawers and cabinets being opened and rummaged through...
What the heck is she lookin' for? Alex wondered as, having noticed it laying open amidst the clutter on his desk, he picked up Emily's Book of Shadows and turned as much of his attentions as he dared towards the source of the second sound.
Someone had knocked on the front door and he had been about to shout out "it's open" before he remembered that it wasn't... he hadn't come back in through the front door when they came back from the store neither, since he had gotten distracted by straightening up the shop, had he taken down the wards that he habitually put up around the place when he and Smoke were out. "Crap," he grumbled under his breath before hastily collapsing the webs of essence and heading for the front door, "hope this ain't gonna be Joe, again, already. If he didn't think I was off my rocker last night, he'll likely come in here, find Rosie, and think I've really gone off the deep end..."
"Doin' okay in there, Rosie?" He called back, more to assure himself that she hadn't stuffed herself under the sink in an attempt to hide from a clock than out of any worry that she might be breaking anything.
If Janelle had replied to his question, though, Alex wasn't sure... or just flat out didn't hear. Having reached the front door, his gaze had abandoned from its uncertain perusal of the hallway to the kitchen and turned to see who might be waiting for him to open up shop. It wasn't Joe.
Holy... God... Alex blinked and then couldn't help but stare at the vision of loveliness that stood on the other side of the door. Despite the way he had laughed at Smoke's earlier suggestion that he try and 'get laid' and his rationale as to why he wouldn't, the one thought that streaked through his mind at that very instant was; Please let this be one of those lonely wives that Smoke was talking about!
When, after a moment, he actually realized that he was ogling the woman and had yet to even open the door, though, Alex shook his head, offered a sheepish smile, and proceeded to unlock the door. "Sorry about that," he said, still unable to stop soaking the visitor in with his eyes, as he pushed the door open, "I wasn't... uh... I mean... I was expecting someone else... Can I help you?"
Posted on 2009-09-14 at 15:44:36.
Edited on 2016-03-07 at 07:05:13 by Eol Fefalas
"Doin' okay in there, Rosie?" She had heard Alex call.
"Oh! Yes, I'm fine!" Janelle called back, "Just looking for some tape!"
And naturally, just as she said that, she opened the one drawer that had some. Janelle wiped a hand on her forehead, since in her haste she had broke into a slight sweat. Now then, the wards to separate the 'inside' from the 'outside'. Before she began, however, Janelle softly recited the other third of the poem.
"Use five or six wards to separate the place,
To take it away from reality's face.
One to each door, one or two,
One to each direction that is true.
But if none are set and ready,
Time will still persist, slow and steady.
There's only one way to hide from time,
Else, one can still hear the clock tower's chime."
Janelle nodded to herself, before sticking up one of her wards on the back door, using only a single piece of tape; it was only temporary, and she didn't want to make a mess of tape either in someone else's abode. Then she taped one on the outer walls she could reach from the kitchen, which just left one for the front door and one for the other side of the house.
She moved to head to the other side of the house, coming to what appeared to be a strange library. Janelle blinked. So... did that mean Alex liked these sorts of mysteries and stage magic? Maybe he was a magician as a hobby. Janelle giggled. It was an amusing thought, The Amazing Mr. Sharpe, making a willing audience member levitate or perhaps saw them in half. Then again... a top hat and tuxedo would look a bit peculiar on him if he didn't shave first.
As she glanced over what was there, however, she did have to notice that some certainly seemed real, but that was the purpose of stage magic, wasn't it?
Still giggling, Janelle walked over and taped up the fifth ward, before heading to the front door where Alex was intrigued by another visitor. Probably a client, was Janelle's first thought.
"Um, excuse me." Janelle said, gently moving close enough to the door to tape the ward on it, "There... Um, by the way... why didn't you tell me you were a magician as well as a PI?"
As her curiosity peaked, her Essence, unbidden, did as well, flickering once again. It seemed to show mainly with her curiosity, as likely with her anger and fear, perhaps a slight indicator of her emotions.
Posted on 2009-09-14 at 17:08:37.
Edited on 2016-03-07 at 06:57:01 by Eol Fefalas
Smoke had wound around Rosie's legs while she took care of all that tuna. Her purr was loud enough to be heard by the girl even as she was standing. Though if it was the thought of the tuna, the petting, or the possibility of luring a certain black tabby in with the food is hard to say.
Then the girl had gone back inside, Smoke lingered a moment longer, trying to catch sight of the black tabby but he didn't appear so she slipped in through the little plastic flapped door she had finally nagged Alex into installing for her. The girl was looking for something. The Gods only knew what though, the girl was a bit off. However, Smoke decided that she would take full advantage of the situation.
A graceful leap landed Smoke up on the counter, she meowed once then stretches out before crouching down above a line of drawers and waits. Eventually the girl will open the kitchen junk drawer and there it will be: the spool of kitchen twine.
Sure enough the drawer is opened, and as soon as the off white thread comes into view she leaps down, perching momentarily on the edge of the drawer and bats the spool out of the drawer. It goes bouncing across the linoleum floor. In a flash of grey fur Smoke chases after it.
What Rosie does with the drawer, or with what she was searching for in the drawer is lost to Smoke. There is a knock at the door, that is so much more interesting then anything Rosie might do. Taking up a mouthful of string, Smoke bounds from the kitchen down the short hall to the front store room. The spool unravels some and then bounces along behind her as she goes.
She reaches the heavy carpet just as Alex opens the door. From the floor she cannot get the same view of the woman that Alex does. She does however catch his thoughts. Amused purring laughter filters through to him as she plops down on her back, tangling the twine up in her paws as she plays there in a patch of sunlight.
If you can pull your tongue back into your mouth, so that not only will you be able to remember how to talk but you won't ruin her shoes with your drool... you might just have a chance with her... IF...
The wise crack has to get in before she can take a moment to consider the woman. When she does she feels the Gift upon her, but there is more then that, the woman hides it, but Smoke knows how to look behind curtains. For a moment she is distracted from the twine. Still on her back she leans her head back some and inspects the woman visually, upside down, only seeing half of her as Alex blocks the other half. Pretty, monolithic from this prospective, and old... another old soul... After catching that glimpse of the woman who hides behind the magic curtains Smoke turns her golden eyes back to the twine, inwardly laughing with delight.
There are no curtains surrounding Smoke, she rarely tries to hide what she is. The fact that people dismiss her as a cute little ball of grey fur, as Alex did once, is simply not her fault. Outwardly she keeps up the cute kitty routine, her speckled belly exposed as she bats with the twine, her sharp white teeth clenching down on the twine and turning it into a spit laden mess. Inwardly though she flashes her true colors at the woman, much as a cobra flashes its hood in warning. The message is clear, this is no ordinary house cat. A bast who not only is fearless of death but can wield it as desired, and will do so if the man with the sloppy tongue standing before Penelope is threatened in any way.
Out of the corner of her thoughts she keeps track of Rosie as well, but it is secondary to feeling out this new woman who stands on the threshold of her home.
Posted on 2009-09-14 at 17:15:13.
Edited on 2016-09-20 at 07:26:29 by Eol Fefalas
The clamor of commotion sounded before a brown haired scruffy man came to the door, he stared at her with surprised look on his face before smiling sheepishly and unlocking the door, "Sorry about that," he said as he pushed the door open, "I wasn't... uh... I was expecting someone else... Can I help you?"
Penelope looked the man up and down before stepping into what appeared to be a magic shop. Was this Alexander Sharpe? He stood before her bedraggled with blood shot eyes and his essence pattern seemed dampened from exhaustion. This was not a good sign.
Turning her gaze from the man her grey eyes began to move over the space taking it all in. Beneath the untidy clutter of day to day life lay books, crystals, and other various tools of magic. It was so strange to see the signs of the Old Ways displayed so openly. She remembered a time when owning half of what this place held would have been enough to be put to death. Now people spoke of the Craft in the open, even if only just in pretense. The passage of centuries had changed the world so much.
Penelope continued her surveying of the room until her gaze fell on a cat in the corner. Small and grey, the feline lay on its back entwined with white string and staring at her with golden eyes. Flashes of essence flared around the cat as if in warning. That was no cat, that was a bast and it knew what she was. Penelope only smiled, there had to be much more to this Alexander Sharpe than appearances to have attracted the attentions of three immortals.
Still smiling she offered her hand in greeting, "Alexander Sharpe, I presume?" she spoke in a sultry voice with an Iberian accent evident on her lips. "I am Penelope Rosa and there is much we need to speak of."
Before he could reply a young asian woman walked up to the doorway with a roll of tape, "Um, excuse me," she said as she began to tape the door. "There... Um, by the way... why didn't you tell me you were a magician as well as a PI?"
As the girl spoke a massive aura of essence flickered around her being filling the room with brilliant light. Penelope's eyes immediately darted to her intently peering into the aura. The girl was exceptionally strong for a mortal, and far too strong for one seemingly so young. With curiosity piqued the siren continued to peer into the girl's aura searching for what lay hidden beneath. She found nothing, only a spark of the Gift that remained yet unawakened. Penelope continued to gaze at the girl incredulously for a moment before turning to Alexander again. What manner of man surrounded himself with such companions?
The way the woman scrutinized him before stepping across the threshold, for some reason, made Alex feel as if he had answered the door naked. It wasn't necessarily a bad feeling - scarcely even uncomfortable - but, whatever the sensation might have been, he felt a bit exposed under the lovely woman's gaze. He couldn't take his eyes off of her, either, as she paused just inside the door and rather curiously surveyed the shop before facing him again and offering her hand.
"Alexander Sharpe, I presume? I am Penelope Rosa and there is much we need to speak of."
Damn... Even her voice is beautiful! He blinked, then - probably more than once - and realized that he hadn't even taken the proffered hand yet. Get it together, Alex! You've seen pretty girls before, he chastised himself, offering another sheepish smile as he took her hand and nodded, preparing a reply. Before he could manage to get the first word past his lips, though, Janelle appeared - a roll of tape in one hand and one of her "wards" in the other.
"Um, excuse me," she said, slipping nonchalantly by Alex and Penelope to affix her charm to the door.
"There," Janelle said, apparently satisfied with her placement of the paper.
Alex's smile was half-amused and half-curious, one brow spiked high behind the tousled mess of hair that had fallen over his forehead, as he glanced first at the ward Janelle had just affixed to the door, then at the one still wrapped around his watch, and, finally, almost apologetically, at the lovely Miss Rosa.
"Um... by the way," Janelle spoke again, fixing him with a curious gaze, before Alex could get any words of explanation or apology out, "Why didn't you tell me you were a magician as well as a PI?"
Magician? Alex seemed to be blinking and shaking cobwebs from his head a lot today. What?... Oh... Right... the shop...
"Excuse me, Miss Rosa," he grinned apologetically to the visitor and, with a sweeping gesture that indicated any number of chairs in the shop, "Come on in and have a seat. I'll be right with you."
Draping an arm around Janelle's shoulders, Alex gave her a gentle squeeze and began to walk her back through the shop towards the kitchen hallway. "I'm no magician, Rosie. You remember me telling you about Emily, right," he asked as the two of them navigated around the bookcases and past the counter. "Well, most all of this stuff is... was hers. This place was her dream, I guess... Kind of a bookstore and supply shop for magicians, y'know?
I'm not sure I really understand the half of it, myself," he bluffed, hoping that she'd be satisfied with the answer for the time being, "Just haven't had the heart to get rid of any of it, I guess.
Listen," he smiled warmly as they made their way down the hallway to the kitchen, "this lady looks like she might be a potential client, so I need to go and talk to her for a minute but, if you want, I'll give you the grand tour once I've got her taken care of, all right?"
((OOC: Assuming that Rosie's good with all of that and Alex get's back to the shop afterwards... Mebbe he asked her to make some coffee by way of occupying her??? Up to you... ))
A few moments later, Alex reemerged from the hallway and made his way to where Penelope was waiting. "Sorry about that," he said again, flicking a glance over his shoulder as if to ensure that Janelle was still occupied, before regarding the woman, "Rosie's a sweet kid but just a little bit on the random side... Anyway, Miss Rosa, you said there was much we had to discuss... where did you want to start?"
Posted on 2009-09-16 at 17:15:56.
Edited on 2016-09-20 at 07:32:11 by Eol Fefalas