2008-01-12: Aspirations For Success


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Summary: Benjamin hits Enlightenment looking for Cass. Kory hits Enlightenment looking for books. Instead, they find each other, and end up briefly discussing things they hope to accomplish in the future.

Date It Happened: January 12, 2008

Aspirations for Success

Enlightenment Books

Time management skills, I haz them. These days, it's good to have been an accountant. Efficiency, that is thy nature. Benjamin's head might be ready to explode otherwise. While his current assignment is of the utmost urgency, he has another duty that is on-going in an indefinite manner. This assigned duty is why he's in Enlightenment Books, looking for Cass. Upon entering the shop, he's not terribly surprised at her absence. Bat Country Labs must be pulling the woman's attention more and more these days. Perhaps he should have gone straight to the labs instead.

Kory is already inside — also already having looked for Cass and found her — well, not here. So now she's cruising the aisles, partly aimlessly, partly with a purpose. She moves with an unhurried pace, occasionally pausing to touch a finger to the spine of something that catches her attention and commit its title to her PDA. She finally sees what she wants at the endcap of the aisle, and quickens her pace. She nearly runs into Benjamin, and fetches up short. "Oh. Good morning, Benjamin," she says quietly.

"Good morning Kory, just the next person I wanted to see," Benjamin greets with a slight smile. He reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out an envelope. Inside is the accident report form. "I know I said I was going to get this back to you the next day, and I'm sorry that I didn't. Work got crazy." In oh so many ways.

Kory gives Benjamin a little smile in return. At least somebody wants to see her. She shakes her head. "Don't worry about it. I know how that goes." Considering he was there for the last time it went crazy. She accepts the envelope from him. "I'll make sure this gets filed away. I hope—" A pause; was she a friend's kid, or his daughter? Oh, right; 'fruit of his loins', wasn't it? Daughter it is " — your daughter wasn't badly injured?"

Benjamin shakes his head, "Just a sprain. She'll walk it off and get over it. I'm sorry she made such a fuss about a dog. I had no clue dogs freaked her out that badly." Now that he knows? He might feel mischievious and find the most realistic looking stuffed dog he can find. And leave it on Rose's bed. "She's.. well.. she's Rose. I think her behavior skipped a generation." Because her mother? Probably more repressed than Ben. Maybe it's good he had no part in raising her.

"I'm glad to hear that," Kory says, genuinely. "KeLyssa and I were both a little freaked out." So freaked out, in fact, the one went home early and the other closed the whole store early and went home to cry herself to sleep drink tea and unwind before calling it an early night. "You may want to ask her mother if she got bitten and chased when she was a baby. And perhaps what else she might have dramatic phobias of. I'd hate to see her play that scene out again at, say, the mall when she spots something at Claire's that triggers her." Kory may be joking. Then again, perhaps not.

"I can imagine. I only worked retail when I was in college, and it was never fun to have a customer get hurt in the store. It was always worse when it was the person's fault, not the store's." Benjamin fully blames the incident on Rose being herself. "Good idea. I haven't spoken to her mother in.." Let's say it's been too long. He shakes his head briefly, "Just to try and avoid that in the future. People are more liable to sue /her/ than the other way around."

"No offense, Benjamin, but I can see why." The kid's 'sparkling personality' has made its first impression on Kory, and it wasn't a good one. Still, she tries to be gracious; Benjamin has reassured her twice now that he won't sue. "And thank you; it's a relief to know we don't need to sully our acquaintance with a lawsuit." Even if there were multiple witnesses who could testify to Rose's behaviour. "So what brings you here to Enlightenment today?" Yes, a change of subject would be nice now, thank you.

"She's.. well.. she's spirited most of the time, but that's the first I've really seen her act up in public." But she's legally an adult, god help us, so Benjamin can't really ground her. (Not that she'd listen.) All the same, his tone is rather doting and expression fond of his daughter. For all her personality issues, he loves her blindly. "Especially when she was the one horsing around. Don't worry, I won't sue. As a matter of fact, I wanted to make sure she didn't /break/ anything.. Oh. Here? I've known Cass for about a year, I wanted to come in and say hi to her."

Kory "No, no, she didn't damage anything in the store. But thank you for being concerned about it." Kory pauses, and then continues, with a wry expression. "Unfortunately, if that's her normal mode of behaviour… I… may not be able to allow her back in the store. For the safety of the other customers." Not to mention their sanity. "And Chewbacca."

"I understand that completely and I don't blame you. I honestly didn't realize she had any interest in comics or things of that nature." Benjamin raises a hand and rubs at the back of his neck, looking away a little. "So I was a little surprised to see her in there myself." Realizing what a bad father he must sound like, he explains, "Her mother never told me she was pregnant, so I didn't know about her for awhile." Like until last year. *cough*

"Ouch," Kory says, with a visible wince. "That must have come as some surprise. But it seems you're doing your best to make up for lost time. That's admirable. A lot of men would just be glad to have not had to be responsible." She glances around, though, recalling he mentioned Cass. "Looks like she's out again. She did mention she had another venture going last time we spoke. It's been months. How's she been?"

"You have no idea," Benjamin says in a rueful manner. He still clearly remembers the stress he was already going through when Rose landed in his office. "It was good news, just bad timing," he says with a slight smile. "Well, she's my daughter. Technically an adult and in college, but I'm still responsible for her. She's living under my roof. Mmm.. Yeah, she's been busy between here and her other line of work. I'm kind of ashamed, but I haven't spoken with her since before my last business trip."

Kory listens, nodding. "I had just a quick conversation with her around the time Cam was sick. But hat was a little while ago. I'll have to give her a call." She smiles. "Well, I'm convinced you're going to do the best job of being a dad you can. You seem to have struck that precarious balance between being loving and being firm."

"Oh yeah, I saw Niki with Cam at the ice skating rink when I just came back. Cam mentioned he was a little under the weather. I'm glad to see Niki took him in." Benjamin's expression stays pretty even, although his concern for Niki's current status slips in there. "I've known Niki awhile, we kept running into each other in odd places." At Kory's compliments, he turns just a little embarrassed. "I'm not firm enough, but there's also not much I can do since legally I'm not listed as her parent and she's also of age. But I suppose I could be doing worse for having no experience." Although he does have a weapon some dad's don't have. Like putting your kid to sleep. Literally.

Kory knows only that Niki is missing, so the concern from Benjamin is chalked up to that. "Cam's doing a lot better now, and I'm glad Niki took him in as well. Cam was getting involved with some worriesome stuff. It's better someone's looking out for him." Especially since his SW got killed. "There's only so firm you can be in that circumstance, yes," Kory agrees. "A lot of people wouldn't even bother trying. But you are, and in my book, at least, that goes a long way."

"And Niki's a good lady. Cam couldn't have found better." Despite the personality disorder, which clearly is not her fault. Benjamin knows there's teams looking for her, so he's confident she'll turn up. She /has/ to. He turns to look at Kory with a distracted smile, "The way I see it, she came looking for me. I'm letting her live with me, because I want to. I've wanted kids, I now have one, and I'm determined to be as responsible about her as I can. Even if she seems ungrateful about it."

"She is a good lady," Kory agrees. She's done all she can in this instance; got word out to those she suspects can help better than she can. "And she must've wanted to know you if she came looking." The fact that he's such a doting father also sets her mind at ease about the little girl situation from October. He probably wouldn't harm a hair on a child's head if he's so googly-eyed over his own cute eighteen year old. "Maybe she just comes off ungrateful because she hasn't figured out how to come off grateful without seeming 'uncool'. A lot of kids at that age think their image is more important than anything." Kory chuckles, knowing that at only twenty five years of age, she probably sounds silly pulling the authoritative phrasing. It's her degree talking.

Benjamin laughs at the analysis. "You're probably right. She could up and leave at any time if she wanted to live on campus." But why? Daddy's paying for food, shelter, college.. "You talk like my psychiatrist," he says in good humor. "And like someone a few years older than you appear."

"I was an advanced placement student," Kory explains, with a slightly sheepish expression. She blows a wisp of hair out of her eyes. "I have a psych degree. I just don't get to trot it out in ordinary conversation very often. Plus, I try not to; otherwise I'd end up having to duck and run, because I haven't gotten the license to practice as a therapist yet." Which is why she does it in people's dreams, because there's no precedent for it, and who'd believe it even if word got out? Hooray for human rationalization.

"I see.. are you actively going after a license, or PHD or do you prefer working at the comics shop?" Benjamin isn't downing on the comic shop, he's just curious. She could be like the garbageman in the Dilbert strip!

"I haven't decided," Kory admits. "Peter thinks I might be able to help a lot of people that way." Though Peter also thinks that she should stay out of dangerous situations. "I rather enjoy working at the comic shop. It started out as a favor for a friend, but it's turned …well, semi-permanent to permanent. But I'd still have time to study if I did want the license."

"Do what makes you happy," that's Benjamin's advice. Even if he doesn't follow his own. "And if you decide to take on psychology, that's good too. It is helpful, especially if you find a doctor who can really relate and specialize in your situation." Even if said doctor humors you for months about imagining having an ability, when all along he knows.

Kory smiles, but it doesn't quite reach her eyes. She was happy. Until last week. Still. Four days down. Twenty six to go until… She blinks, hard, trying to clear the thought away and answer Benjamin. "Maybe," she agrees, forcing herself to consider it. "Maybe I could specialize in social dynamics. Find that mysterious middle ground on which the geeks and the jocks could stop hating each other."

"I hate to be the bearer of bad news, that's not going to happen. It's been a feud that's lasted as long as humans have walked upright," Benjamin says, trying to joke with Kory. He can now see something's not quite right, but he won't pry. Not yet anyway.

"Probably not, but you never know. It's at least worth a try. I might find something out about both even if I don't find a way for the gelfling and the skexis to make peace." At least the geeky children will have a shrink who can speak their language if she does decide to go for the license. She smiles, adding, "Though I always root for the gelflings, myself."

Benjamin laughs aloud. "Oh my God, you did not just make that reference." Yeah, he saw The Dark Crystal. A looooong time ago. "I did not know anyone still watched or would remember that film!" He was young enough to have been interested in it at the time. "Anyway, I need to get back to work, I've got a full plate on my hands these days. I'll come back around to the shop soon to buy stuff and to say hi." And to peek around for other reasons.

"You are still young in the ways of the geek, Padawan," Kory says, bowing to him solemnly, but with an amused twinkle in her eyes. Wow; there's hope for him yet, if he recognized it! "Trust me, if I'd made that comment in the Lair? I'd have gotten the next six or seven lines in response." She nods, though. "Okay. Well, always nice to see you. And Rose too, if you can make sure she keeps it in neutral next time." She waves, and takes her purchases toward the register: books on puzzles, anagrams, expanding one's mental abilities, and codes.

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