2007-06-20: Being Noticed


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Summary: Peter's working the book store when a young girl walks in who he'd met before, and heard about since. Inside the otherwise empty store, they talk about abilities and talent.

Date It Happened: June 20th, 2007

Being Noticed

Enlightenment Books

The cashier's desk has seen tough times. Right now, though, it doesn't seem so bad. With open sign turned around, and no customers currently, the only employee on duty is left to sit behind the desk and read a book. Peter's book of choice at the moment involves dream interpretation. A plastic container with fresh fruits and vegetables sits in front of him, ready to be snacked on throughout his afternoon shift, until someone shows up to relieve him. Business isn't booming right at the moment, but that dosn't mean things won't pick up.

And in walks Portia. Really, she'd heard about this bookstore and was kind of curious if there was any sort of information on.. well, invisibility or other powers. She's been a little nervous about things, so she'd heard the bookstore happened to have some.. weirder books. Stepping in, she doesn't notice Peter at first.

There are books on many things. Alien abductions, psychic ability, and even one specific book that's gained popularity among a select group. Dr. Chandra Suresh's Activating Evolution. It's sitting front cover pointing out on it's own shelf. When the door opens, Peter looks up from his book to glance towards the entering costumer. Upon seeing the young girl, he blinks a few times, setting the book down and moving to stand up. This might be a good sign she'll find answers to what she's looking for. "Welcome to Enlightenment Books," he says the same token phrase he normally does, but at the same time he sounds surprised, almost stunned.

Looking up, Portia blinks for a long moment before smiling kind of meekly. "Oh.. Peter. It's you again. Hello." She rubs the back of her neck, a little awkwardly, glancing over at Activating Evolution for a moment before returning her gaze to Peter. "You work here?"

"Yeah, part time," Peter responds, closing up his plastic container of food before he abandons it to approach the young woman. "Do you need help with anything? I recently helped restack all the books, so I know where most of it is." That's one good thing of being hired just after a store has… extreme troubles involving electric girls and sprinkler systems.

"Um. That one." Portia glances towards Activating Evolution and gestures towards it. "Uh, is it any good? I've heard it might say something about… you know." She pauses, shifting a little awkwardly.

Moving around the counter the rest of the way, Peter approaches the display and picks up one of the heavy books, carrying it over to her, "It doesn't explain everything, of course, but it does… talk about it. When I was first discovering that…" She knows, he even kind of glances towards the door. He knows the store is empty, but he can't help glancing anyway. "I bought one of these books too. Helped me understand some things, but finding out I wasn't alone helped more."

"Oh, I know I'm not alone." Portia admits, but then she blinks for a moment. "Uhm, I mean, cause you have it too. But I was curious about.. well, other abilities."

"This talks about a couple of them. Regeneration, human flight— that sort of thing," Peter explains, still holding the book out for her to take, if she chooses to. There's no doubt in his expression that she means anything other than having met him. "It's interesting— a few days after I met you, I found out you were staying with a friend of mine's family." As he says this, he's looking her over a moment, a hint of a smile tugging on the corner of his mouth. "And that I actually know your mother."

Taking the book from Peter, Portia blinks for a moment. "You know Mama?" She looks horrified for a minute. "You didn't talk about me, did you? You didn't mention the… you know..?"

As his hands are free, Peter immediately shakes his head, "I didn't talk to your mother about you, don't worry." He doesn't have any intention to, either. "I honestly don't know your mom very well. I just met her a few times." And one of those times he hadn't even been physically alive when she entered the apartment, and she had left before he managed to come back to life. "Just— heard your name mentioned and— I was actually glad. I gave you my phone number because I hoped you'd make it back home okay— Central Park isn't exactly the safest place to walk around near dark. Kept worrying that I should have walked with you."

"Oh.. okay." Portia seems relieved that they didn't really talk a whole lot or anything. That'd be kind of weird. Still, she smiles at Peter. "Well.. thank you. I'm pretty good at taking care of myself, though.. my brother came and found me, and he's pretty much not going to let anything happen to me.. good or bad!" She smiles.

"Heard you had a brother— they tend to cause problems— but they can be pretty helpful too," Peter speaks, like a brother himself. There's obvious questions he could ask, about her, and her family, giving her advice, but instead he asks a question, "So what other abilities were you curious about?"

"Well. I may.. know of someone who has one. But.. it's a little weird." Portia looks over to Peter. "I'm not entirely sure how it works, but he kinda… well, I mean.." She pauses. "I guess the easiest way to explain is that they can.. control someone else."

There's a blink and Peter frowns a little. In recent weeks, such a thing keeps coming up. "Control people with their voice? Such as— tell them what to do and they just— do it? Without even realizing what they're doing isn't— what they want to do?"

Portia blinks for a moment. That wasn't entirely what she meant, but she shivers at the idea. "N-Not quite. I meant more like… taking over. Like.. actually controlling people. Taking over them entirely and being able to sit there and /be/ them.."

"I've never heard of that," Peter admits honestly, though he sounds relieved that the person she knows doesn't do the same thing he's been hearing about— and witnessesing— recently. "Sounds like— I'm not sure if that's in there, but it sounds similar to— possession." Which he only knows about from bad horror movies, honestly.
Portia nods once more. "Yeah, I guess that's the easiest way of putting it. Like.. taking control of someone and being them." She looks at the book for a long moment. "I don't know. It's all a bit weird, I guess. Kind of cements the fact that some of us don't really fit in.. right?"

"Must be tough," Peter says, looking at her quietly, expression getting serious. "I didn't discover my abilities until a lot older than you." And by a lot, he's meaning over ten years— he's not sure on her age exactly, but he's sure she's not over sixteen. "Still remember high school, though. Hard enough fitting in without interference from evolution or destiny or whatever's responsible for what we can do. Especially if you've felt you can't really talk to anyone about it— except your… friend with possession, maybe."

Another nod, and Portia shifts a little awkwardly. "Yeah. Well.. I don't know. It's hard enough being noticed by people when I'm visible…" She gives a bit of a laugh. "I don't know.. sometimes I'm not sure if I even want to bother trying to talk about it. Sometimes i don't know if it makes things better or worse."

"With talent like yours I wouldn't think you'd have much problem," Peter says, now smiling a bit more obviously, though it's still noticably lopsided. "There's downsides to talking about it," he admits, a little more serious. "But if it's someone you trust, or who you're close to— you should talk to them about it."

"You don't think they'll hate me for it?" Portia seems a little worried about that, but his lopsided grin causes her to giggle, glancing around a little. "You really think I'm talented, though?"

"I think I'd be more worried about a teenage boy with your ability— but I doubt anyone would hate you," Peter explains, still smiling a little. Because— yeah, most teenage boys with her ability? Someone would need to rein them in. Tightly. "The people who really care about you— they'll understand." He won't point fingers at who he thinks she can trust, even if he wants to. Because… "Yes, I really think you're talented. Hearing you play was probably the most memorable thing of the night." It's honest, if leaving out the fact that he doesn't like political rallies and their fake smiles and 'give us money' demenors.

"Really?" Portia's blushing full force now, beaming cheerfully. The compliments aren't something she's used to, especially not from someone outside of her family. And Peter.. well, he just seemed really nice. "I'll have to play for you again. I'd really like that." She smiles. "I met someone who told me I should keep trying, that I could really make it. She's pretty smart. Does her own contracts and plays music and stuff. I'm going to send my CD in to a few people and see if I can get somewhere. Then maybe I'll get noticed."

"Well, I work here, obviously. I'm sure my boss wouldn't mind if you set up and played in here once or twice. Might even attract costumers if they can shop to good music." Peter says with a smile, though vouching for his own boss may not be the best move on his part— but then again, someone playing the guitar and singing is a lot less damaging to business than some of the other things that have occured. "And if not— I'm good friends with your current roommate."

"Really?!" Portia loves that idea. Playing in a bookstore? That's like, almost a real gig! She's all smiles at the idea, looking back to Peter. "You're really nice! I'll come in and see your boss sometime then and play. I'll try my best.. Jane said she'd teach me a new song or two sometime." She grins. "I don't know them all so well yet.. Manuel's kinda weird. I'm not sure he likes me so much… but Elena's really nice. Mama says she dances."

And that's another connection between them that Peter has to smile at. Jane. Of all the people… Should have figured when she said her own contracts… But it's the Gomez's that keep most of his attention, "Manny doesn't seem to like me either, so don't take it personal." Manny only killed him the one time… "But I've been good friends with Elena for a few months now. Haven't seen her dance, but it's been mentioned. I'm sure she'd love to listen to you too. She's a pretty big music fan."

"It's kinda weird living in their house. I feel bad cause I don't wanna get in the way, but they're really nice, and I did overhead Ramon and Mama talking and he doesn't want us to leave. Really stubborn about it." Portia laughs. "Parker and I kept saying we'd leave and go stay in a motel or something, but he'd have none of it." She can't help but smile. "But Elena seems really cool. I want to talk with her more sometime.. I just don't want to bug anyone. Everyone always seems so /busy/! You know? Even Mama seems real busy."

"Mr. Gomez does seem a bit… stern. But he means well," Peter says, polite in referencing the older man. Couldn't even imagine calling him Ramon, honestly! As she calls Elena busy, he can't help but smile. "She— keeps getting involved in things. I wouldn't be surprised if she danced in one day and said she figured out how to cure cancer." But it's her mother that makes him look more concerned. "Things do get… busy around here for everyone. I'm sure your mother will make time for you if you ask her to."

As if Portia would call him Ramon to his face! She grins at the idea of Elena dancing and curing cancer. "Elena seems like the type to be able to, if anyone could. I like her. Even if I haven't talked to her much." She looks back at Peter, perhaps a little saddened, but she offers a smile anyways. "Mama's happy with what she's doing. And if she's happy, I don't wanna get in the way of that. Not at all."

There's a long pause, as Peter watches the young teenager quietly. "I'm sure your mother is happy that you're here too, Portia," he says, reaching up briefly to touch her elbow in a mild attempt to soothe, but it doesn't last long. Some people might take that the wrong way. When he lets his arm lower, he nods, as if he's made up his mind about something, though not something he's going to share right now. "Any other books you want? I think there's a few on possessions, but— most of them are either about ending one or how to induce one— like for the people who want ghosts to take over their bodies so they can talk through them."

Well, the elbow is the only place that couldn't be considered sexual harassment, after all. Still, it's enough to cause a smile from Portia as she looks back to Peter. "I don't know. I'll have to have my… friend come by and look at the books himself. I don't quite get how it works myself. It's kind of complicated.. so I'm sure he'd be able to pick out something better than I could." She looks at Activating Evolution. "But I'll get this one. It might be an interesting read… might help a little.."

Elbow is safe. As long as it's brief! "We're open six days a week, all except Sunday." Peter says, gesturing towards the door where the store hours are listed. So she can tell her friend. But for now… he walks over to the register and gestures her over, so they can get one book bought, at least. "It helped me. So— it'll probably help you out." Though now that he thinks of it… did he even see a chapter on invisibility? "Might be difficult to understand, but if you can corner her, Elena's a science person, she can probably help."

"Okay." Portia states, heading to the register with the book. "I'll definitely read it." She seems thoughtful at the mention of Elena, pausing for a moment, then nodding. "Okay. I might just do that sometime. When she's not busy." She waits for Peter to ring up the book, setting it on the counter.

After he rings up the book, Peter tells her how much she needs to pay, including the tax. Large hardback books of college level reading don't tend to be inexpensive. "I really liked the section on human flight," he admits with a smirk. Who wouldn't want to try flying?

"Yeah, I bet that sort of thing would be fun. You could be a real superhero, if you had something like that. You'd just need super strength and such and you could have a real life Superman or something." Portia sort of smiles at the idea as she shuffles to get the money to pay for the book, presenting it to Peter. "I guess I'll definitely have to read that section."

A real super hero. There's a brief moment where Peter can't help but smile, still lopsided, though— that seems kind of a permenant trait. His mouth is even slightly off-center when he speaks. Taking the money, he counts up and hands her the change, before he adds, "Just don't decide to become a super spy in your spare time, okay?" Invisibility would be good for that.

"I don't think I'll be joining the CIA anytime soon, Peter." Portia smiles, taking the change and tucking it away in her purse. "Besides, I'll be too busy being a star to spy on anyone!"
"You could hold more mystery concerts in the park, though," Peter mentions, still smiling. "Though not sure how much that'd help your career."

"I could." Portia giggles. "Perhaps even advertise them. Make them guess on who I was." She laughs at the idea. "Could be all sorts of fun. I like the idea of playing in here better. And being visible. I'm sure I'll need to save the other times for when I need to escape."

"And the really good news— when you're famous, you can avoid all the annoying photographers when you really want to." Peter says, smiling at the thought of avoiding his brother's stalkers sometimes. That's half the reason he had to go invisible to get out of the rally… "You could make sure they only see you when you look your best. You'll never have one of those 'bad hair day' photographs on magazine covers."

Portia giggles at the idea. "Well, I never have bad hair days. Learned all sorts of fashion tips while in France. They really care about this stuff.. like, almost /more/ than those back here in the states. It's kinda bizzare." She giggles again. "I'm sure I'll be able to avoid them. And this way I'll be able to come play for you whenver you'd like and we wouldn't have to worry about people coming to bother either of us. It can get lonely, sometimes. Being the only one." She admits.

"You're not the only one," Peter reassures softly, but then has a moment where he hesitates. If it weren't for one fact… "There's two other people I know of who can do what you can do— one's pretty harmless, if he's even around anymore." If he hasn't up and skipped town. It's the other one, though… Where he is behind the counter, he doesn't even need to hide what he's doing. It could look like he just pulled something out from under the desk. But actually he teleported an object into his hand from his apartment. A photograph. Turning it around, he shows it to her, "If you ever see a man who looks like this— invisible or not— you should— get somewhere safe, and call me, if you can." The picture? Happens to be a mugshot of a man named Gabriel Gray. He won't be after her for an ability he already has, but if she /does/ see him… calling him is still a pretty good idea.

Glancing at the picture, Portia studies it for a long moment. "Okay. I'll be sure to keep an eye out if I see him. He's dangerous?" She peers again at the mugshot, skeptically, but after a moment seems to deterine that he could be a creep, perhaps.

"He's… hurt a lot of people," Peter explains softly, putting the picture down on the counter. It's a very toned down version of the man's crimes, actually. After a moment of looking at her, he seems to decide something. "He has the ability to steal what others can do. Almost everyone I've heard of only has one ability— he has many. Invisibility is one of the most recent ones he collected. He probably wouldn't hurt you… in fact you might be one of the few people who would know if he's there, if he's in hiding— but he could go after your… friend."

That seems to get to Portia, and the girl looks over at Peter seriously. "I'll warn him." She murmurs. "Thank you for telling me. I wouldn't want anything happening to him."

"You're welcome. Don't know if he's still around," Peter admits, but… just the fact that he /might be/… It's better to warn people, than not to. "It was good seeing you again."

"I'll keep an eye out for him." Portia murmurs, then nods, taking her book as she head for the door. "It was really nice to see you again, Peter.. I'll call you sometime."

There's that lopsided smile again. Peter inclines his head in her direction, "I look forward to hearing from you. I'll mention to Cass that we might have some musical performances during store hours. At least on my shift." It can't be disallowed. Alyssa was singing and dancing around the first time /he/ walked into this store… and he kept coming back. He raises a hand to wave, watching her go.

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