2007-02-24: Books, Sandwiches, and Other Such Oddities


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In another episode of Cass' Marathon of Weirdness, Namir strikes up a conversation about Activating Evolution, and then Tamara is confronted about her odd utterances.

Date It Happened: February 24th, 2007

Books, Sandwiches, and Other Such Oddities

Noodle Heaven, Lower East Side

It's right before the lunchtime rush for Noodle Heaven, meaning that while the place is busy, it's not completely packed. Cass has taken advantage of this to order herself a large cheesesteak on a baguette. She feels the need for some comfort foods today. Taking her large plate to one of the few empty tables, she slides into a booth and starts drowning her fries in ketchup. This is the only way to do comfort food. That accomplished, she opens up her messenger bag and takes out her battered copy of Activating Evolution and a pen to make more notes. Ever since yesterday, she feels the need to go over the book in even greater detail.

Standing out on the sidewalk, Tamara hovers in front of the shop's plate-glass window, her hood pulled up to cover her ears but not far enough to conceal her face. With her hands tucked in the pocket of her sweater, she looks like she's debating whether to eat lunch here or not. Although her gaze spends more time on the people in the sandwich shop than on the menu posted by its door.

The man in line after Cass gets his sandwich not long after her — a very specifically tailored sandwich that he didn't actually have to specify much of. The people at the counter seemed to know him immediately and had whipped up the sandwich quite quickly, despite its intricacies. After paying and thanking them with a smile, Namir Dayan — dressed in civilian clothes consisting of a dark blue button-down shirt and black slacks beneath a black overcoat — takes his plate and moves toward the table immediately behind Cass. As he passes by the bookstore owner, he happens to catch a glimpse of the book she's reading, and he lifts an eyebrow curiously. "A good read," he remarks casually as he takes his seat, but he offers no further comments than that.

In a busy place, it takes Cass a second to realize that Namir is talking to her. She's wrapped up in her book and has a fry poised halfway between her lips when she looks for whoever is speaking to her. She's looking in front of her, though, and doesn't see him. She looks to the side an doesn't see who was speaking either. Not thinking of looking behind her, she puts the fry back down on the plate, then looks at the book that she's reading. "Okay. Now I'm hearing things. This is worrying. Very very worrying." Cautiously, she closes the book, puts it on the table and slides it away from her.

Stepping in through the door, Tamara starts towards the counter, steps slowing as she notices Cass looking around in troubled confusion. Her gaze flicks to Namir behind the woman, not because he did speak, but because he happens to be close by - and might speak up again. Or might not. Either way, the girl's curiosity is piqued, and she forgoes the intended sandwich order in favor of walking over closer to find out what's bothering Cass.

The bookworm's confused statement causes Namir to grin as he settles into his chair, and he turns his head to glance over his shoulder at her. "You're not hearing things," he assures, "though I suppose with a book like that, I can see why you'd think such." And with a guy like Namir, one never knows when one might hear things /too/ well (or not at all!). When Tamara approaches, his eyes move to her, and he offers her a friendly grin. "Can I help you?" It's his job to help people.

Cass all but jumps in her seat when she hears Namir talking right behind her. She does start in her seat, making her plate bounce on the table, as well. Sliding over in her seat, she twists herself so that she can see whoever it was that startled her. "Geez Louise, you scared the crap out of me, mister." Glancing over at the book on the table and then over at Namir again, she blinks. "You've read it?" She sounds curious and a little suspicious of a man striking up a conversation over this particular book. When Tamara joins the party, she looks the girl over, but doesn't say anything directly to her yet.

Tamara raises a brow to Namir's remarks. "The book hears things? Or does it talk?" Her tone is such that it's hard to tell whether the girl's being serious or facetious in a deadpan sort of way. Despite the recent (relative) popularity of that particular tome, her study of its cover suggests the girl hasn't seen it before. Sitting down in a chair across from Cass, the teen proceeds to slide the book the rest of the way over and start flipping through random pages. "No," is her distracted response to Namir's query. "It's fine."

"Mm-hmm. It's interesting. How far along are you?" Namir doesn't seem to mind striking up a conversation about that book in particular, as his tone remains genial and nonchalant. Tamara is given another brief glance and grin, and the Middle-Eastern man shakes his head. "No, the book doesn't hear things and it doesn't talk any more than other books. It just has some rather different content."

"Hey!" Cass reaches forward to snatch the book back from Tamara before she's flipped too far into it. Her face flushes when she thinks of what damage could be done if Tamara reads some of her notes from just last night and today. "It's considered rude for strangers to thumb through other's personal belongings without asking," she adds, quickly stashing the conversation piece back into her bag. "I've finished it, actually. I'm just re-reading some of the more interesting parts," she answers Namir as nonchalantly as she can. "I assume you've read it, too?"

Tamara lets the book be retrieved without protest; she's not curious enough about it to make a bid for keeping it. "Just watch where you drop it," is her response, as she folds her hands on the table and lets her gaze wander over the room. It seems that, if it's a book like other books, the teen isn't very interested in it. But nothing else has caught her attention enough to make her leave.

The short scuffle for the book is watched with interest and even a hint of amusement by Namir, who has yet to even touch his sandwich, thanks to current conversation. "I have read it, yes," he responds, once it appears the book is safely contained in Cass' bag. "Once, a few years ago. I've thought about purchasing a copy." Tamara's strange interjection causes him to lift an eyebrow and stare at the girl.

Cass stares at Tamara curiously, as if trying to puzzle her out. "Where I drop it?" her voice is just laced with puzzlement. "It…it was one my table. The one you just seated yourself at without asking." Normally, Cass is quite friendly and happy to strike up a conversation, but events lately have put her a little on edge. Plus, she was thumbing through her book. "The store I own carries it, if you're interested in buying one," she replies. "It's become really popular the last couple of weeks."

Under Namir's regard, the girl turns her head to look right back at him, one brow raised slightly. Since he doesn't say anything, her attention shifts to Cass shortly afterwards. "Here, yes. No worry. But then?" Tamara closes her eyes for a moment. "Then was many things. Don't let it out if you didn't want it seen," she concludes. Recognizing that her welcome has probably been overstayed by now, the girl slides out of the chair, offering both Namir and Cass an amiable smile as she turns away.

The question of which store Cass might run is delayed by Tamara's strange utterances. These bother Namir. She looks young still, and wandering about spouting off such odd things is bound to be a cause for some concern. "Excuse me," he calls when she turns away, rising to his feet, "what's your name?"

"…." Cass doesn't know what to say to that. Oddness just keeps on abounding. "I'll…yeah. I'll keep that in mind?" The girl is watched after she stands and heads out toward the door. When Namir stands to ask the girl her name, she frowns and picks up some more fries. She's had enough of trying to puzzle things out for now. If the girl wants to be weird and say weird things, then she is more than welcome to. Cass will just sit there and enjoy her fries. Or try to enjoy her fries, anyway.

Tamara stops, not quite when Namir speaks, but just a hair before, when he makes the decision to ask. She doesn't answer right away, but tips her head to one side and considers something for a moment. When she does turn around, the girl's mood has clearly changed - no longer amiable in a distracted sort of way, but almost eerily focused and intent upon Namir; wary, and not so friendly anymore. "Don't cause trouble for her. Promise. There /are/ enough who worry."

The sudden change in Tamara's demeanor causes Namir to stop dead in his tracks, his brow furrowing further in concern, but remaining calm regardless. "Don't cause trouble for who?" he asks, keeping his voice level. The mention of there being 'enough who worry' unnerves him somewhat. He /was/ wondering if the girl had any proper guardians, as she seems a bit touched in the head.

Cass watches the exchange in a confused and slightly worried manner. As Namir has already asked the question that Cass would have had, she decides not to echo it. Instead, she keeps her attention on the conversation without adding to it. Distractedly, she starts on her baguette sandwich.

Tamara regards Namir steadily. "If you miss it, in the end, you couldn't be trouble. Not so easily." The explanation would be worse than the evasion, so that's a can of worms the girl opts to leave out. "The point is the word. Will you promise?" She gives him another chance, in the hopes of shielding whoever it is she won't, or can't, name.

The more this conversation continues, the deeper grows Namir's concern. He raises both hands slightly in a placating gesture, keeping his eyes steadily on Tamara. "I can't promise anything if I don't know what you're talking about," he murmurs, continuing to keep his voice calm and even somewhat soothing. "I'm just looking for a little information. Is there someone in trouble? Do you need help, or does someone you know need help?" It's almost like hostage negotiation.

Only almost. The girl gives Namir a disappointed look as he tries the alternate tack. It might even go so far as to imply 'You have failed'. Oops. "You know. Just not what you wanted. Doesn't matter." Tamara draws her hood up fully over her head. "No." Definite and clear, that answer. "That would be easier." She turns back around, starts walking again.

This time, Namir doesn't attempt to pursue. He's at least got a general description of the girl, and he'll recognize her if he sees her again. She doesn't seem to pose a threat to anyone but herself, and he's not in much of a position to do anything right now at any rate. He lowers his hands again and watches Tamara depart with a frown before he turns around and moves back to his seat. "This city," he admonishes with a sigh, shaking his head..

Cass's brows furrow when she watches Tamara leave. By this time her fries are gone, as are much of her sandwich. The girl is definitely strange and babbling something, but she can't make heads nor tails of it. "You're telling me," she replies to Namir as he sits down.

After settling into his chair, Namir picks up his sandwich and is about to take a bite when he recalls the previous subject of conversation. He pauses with the sandwich hovering over his plate before turning his head to glance in Cass' direction. "You said you own a bookstore?" he asks.

Cass wasn't really expecting Namir to keep the conversation going, but she doesn't seem adverse to the idea. "I do. Enlightenment Books, down in the East Village. It's an occult bookstore." Shifting in her seat a little so that she can see the man while she's talking to him, she takes another bite of her all but demolished sandwich.

The name is considered, Namir tilting his head to one side and narrowing his eyes in thought. After a moment, he shakes his head a little, still keeping his back mostly to Cass out of necessity rather than any intention of being rude. It's hard to hold a sandwich over one's plate if one is not facing that plate. "I haven't heard of it, but I might drop by, if you've got copies of that book. What did you say your name was?"

Cass gives a wry smile. "Not many have, unfortunately." Turning back toward her plate, she finishes off her sandwich with a quick bite. She chews and swallows and then realizes that she hasn't answered the rest of his questions. "Oh! Sorry, my name's Cass. Cass Aldric. I've deinitely got some copies in the store. It's so popular, I'm trying to keep backstock of it. What was your name?"

"Namir Dayan." When the name is offered, he sets his sandwich back down and turns to extend a hand toward Cass, offering a handshake as well as a genial smile. "Pleasure to meet you, Miss Aldric. I'll be sure to pay your store a visit sometime." He sounds like he means it, but then again he /is/ genuinely interested in acquiring a copy of Doctor Suresh's book.

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Dayan." Cass stretches her arm across her so that she can shake his hand over the two seats. It's a little awkward, sure, but it's worth it to be polite. "I'll look forward to that." She turns around again to grab her things and stands up. This time, she can face him without any difficulty. "Enjoy your sandwich." Pulling on her coat, she picks up her empty plate, slings on her bag and heads for the door.

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