2007-04-10: Girl Talk


Cass_icon.gif Alyssa_icon.gif

Guest Appearance by:



Alyssa and Cass talk about the past couple of days, plus powers, boys and guns.

April 10th, 2007:

Girl Talk

Enlightenment Books

Since it has been said in the past that Cass all but lives in Enlightenment Books, her recent absence might have been noted by both employees and customers. It's just been that kind of week. What with burglaries, tunnel explosions and regrowing of limbs, the store owner has only stopped in to check on things in an distracted sort of way the past few days. Finally, though, she has been in the store for an entire shift and is just now starting to shut things down for the end of the day. They're not quite closed yet, but if she starts early then it's less time spent cleaning up at the end of the day.

The absence was quite noticed, especially by one Alyssa who would've much preferred things the other way around. So determined to catch Cass on an in-day, she cuts free from her usual Thursday obligation early. The walk to the bookstore is a familiar and well-tread one and Alyssa hums a little on the way over but her mind is caught stuffily between such other things that it doesn't always make it to the trademark headphones, despite their noisiest attempts to reach her. The mood of the end of the day is also one known to her, and she smiles to think of her boss packing up just as she bumps into the door, slides inside, and chimes, "What a charming little establishment you have here."

Beaming at Alyssa, Cass pauses in her reshelving of books. "Why thank you, miss. I do what I can." Honestly, the woman would prefer to be here more often as well. Things just haven't worked out that way. The customers are slowly starting to file their way out of the store and soon the little chatter that there was has died away. "I thought you had something to do Thursday nights?" That's always why she was never on the schedule.

"I do, I do," Alyssa replies a bit noncommittally as she wanders to where Cass is, reading over book bindings that she's seen a dozen times. She gets momentarily distracted peering harder at one of the titles before snapping back to the conversation, continuing with, "Annnd Dave'll probably throw his usual old man temper tantrum next week but he didn't have that much for me to do so it's his own fault anyway. So here I am. Cheating on him with you." Her hands drift absently up to pull away the earbuds from her ears, letting them fall about her shoulders and then dangle against her neckline, "I admit, I figured you might have better stories for what's been going on the last few days than him."

"I think between you and old man temper, I've got my money on you." Cass slips the last book in her arms into the proper spot and then heads back to the counter to start tidying up. "Oh, cheating, now? I've had enough of that lately." But, she's mostly upbeat, so it's to be taken as a joke. "Stories, huh? Well. Just this weak I was robbed at gunpoint and in a tunnel that exploded. That's pretty exciting, right?" As for Peter's hand…well, that's not her story to tell.

Alyssa grins, pushing away from the bookshelves to follow Cass as she works, and a contemplative sniff escapes for the cheating, joke or not. "Yeah, I guess that's not the /most/ flattering way to put it, despite." She recovers, though, since there was no weirdness between either of /them/ for the comment. "Holy /crap/, are you kidding? You don't sound like you're— well, I shouldn't be surprised anymore what with people makin' electricity and shit but, holy cow, explodey. How did you accomplish all /that/? And you didn't even take me along!" She gives a scoff, a joking scoff, but there is a tinge of excitement in her that is really how much she would've wanted to be there. However, this judgment likely boosted by the fact that she is not, and therefore not in immediate danger by saying so.

Laughing, Cass closes out the dented register and then goes to lock the door to officially close the store for business. "I wish I was. I'm starting to think I can't leave my house or the store any more. Maybe I'll set up a cot in the back and I'll just hole up here." Raising an eyebrow, she stares at Alyssa. "Well, no, I didn't. I didn't really go looking for any of that so it was impossible to call you up and ask you along. Plus, I wouldn't want you getting hurt." She smiles and gets to the counting of money. "I finally met that guy you wanted me to. Peter Petrelli. He's nice."
"I wouldn't get hurt," Alyssa insists stubbornly, which means a little sullenly, but she repairs it by cheerfully adding, "I'm quite adept at running and hiding." Hopping up onto the front counter, she puts her hands behind her and leans back onto them, though it's only a moment before she's moving again, swinging her legs around and dropping down next to her boss. "And I know all the best people to use as shields," she says as she goes. The next topic, however, manages to grab all attention. She makes to smile happily but it ends up tainted with a sigh; a really very cliched sort of Hollywood one when combined with the way she falls leaning against the counter, her hands against her cheeks. "Yeah, he is, isn't he?" It seems entirely obvious that she believes he's quite something else, as well.

Sorting out the bills in neat little piles, Cass glances up at Alyssa without missing a beat in counting. She can multi-task. "See, you say that now. But wait until there's bullets flying and things falling from the sky. And as long as /I'm/ not one of those shields, I'm okay with it." She smiles. It's good to be talking about this light-heartedly. "He is." She grins at Alyssa and her cliche sigh and happy smile. "Can it be that someone has a crush?"

There's a second where Alyssa just sinks deeper into her palms, "He's already got this bl– ohhhh no," Scrambling to stand up a little straighter, Alyssa bumps against the table and then shuffles one hand awkwardly through her hair, "There's— I mean, come /on/. How totally stereotypical would that be? Some nice guy wanders into silly girl but, woes, he's already hooked up. Plus, jeez, he's, like, some superpowered Hero's Journey. I'd be a laugh and a half to think in that scale. You've got it all wrong. I mean, I only /just/ got over this whole thing with Namir. ….." The name is barely out of her mouth before she freezes in absolute disbelief, her mouth widening slowly in a silent 'ohhhhh' of WTFness.

"He's got a bl?" Cass is pretty sure that's not a word. But, it's enough to make her stop counting money and actually study Alyssa. "Well, this isn't a story, Alyssa. Sometimes things are stereotypical." She blinks and tilts her head. Scooping up the counted money, she gestures for the girl to follow her to the employee room. While there's no one left in the store, it feels more private. "Namir? Who is Namir?" This is a tea and armchair kind of conversation. "And it's okay to like a guy, Alyssa. Peter's nice enough and if he has a girlfriend…well, we'll find you someone else who isn't on a Hero Journey. I can become the pimp of our little Enlightenment Books crowd. Niki's married, but I'll find some nice young boys for you and Rose."

Oh no. Oh, this is terrible. Alyssa shuffles behind Cass into the employee room with a sense of doom and an inner voice saying she's only going to straighten things out, yes. Cass' words seem hardly to light a fire under the writer but that's probably because she's busy beating herself up. "Namir's this /guy/," she explains, barely, "It's nothing, really. He was just… well, the first person I showed my ability to. It seemed," she shrugs, "nice." But she's back to scoffing quick enough, "Oh, boss, you shouldn't. I haven't had a date since high-school," she winces, that kind that's become typical whenever she discloses information about herself she didn't want to (so, really, /anything/ about herself). "I figured out a long time ago that it wasn't meant to be." She doesn't seem sad. She's probably gotten over that by now.

"Okay. Namir a guy. Got it." Cass isn't making fun, she's listing off what she knows so far. She's not here to pry information out of Alyssa, just to get her to open up if she wants to talk. The woman realizes that she knows her employee, but doesn't actually know that much about her. This seems like the perfect opportunity to remedy that. "That sounds good? What happened to him?" She smiles at Alyssa in a sort of 'caretaker' sort of way. "Oh, don't worry. I won't. I'll just make sure if I see a cute guy to ask him if he's single and then tell him to come into the store on days you're working. I'll be quite discreet." She grins, obviously joking. "What wasn't meant to be?"

The subtle joke is some sort of 'Nam flashback for Alyssa because she rolls her eyes and presses a hand to her forehead briefly, "Oh man," is the soon explanation, "I just had this horrible image of when my mom would escort me around her nurses' conferences. I swear to God she held my hand. You could never be so bad." This seems to be getting easier for her, and soon enough she settles up against a backroom chair. Not quite sitting, but at least not looking like she wants to flee back to the safety of UFOs and explosions. "Huh? … Oh! Me, and dating. And guys in general. And I'm not trying to be melodramatic or anything either. It just happens to some people sometimes, don'tcha know." If there were other questions, Aly has forgotten them somewhere.

PHONE: Your phone begins to ring. The Caller ID says 283-3194.

Pulling down mugs, Cass fills them with hot water and tea bags then brings them over to Alyssa so they both have beverages. "I would /never/ do that. I'm a lot more subtle than that." She grins. "You won't even /know/ that I set you up." Because she's sure that that's comforting. "Aw, you're just saying that because you haven't met the right guy yet. He'll show up." Just then, her phone starts to ring. "Oh crap. One second. Sorry." Fishing around in pockets and her purse, she finally pulls out her new phone and frowns at the caller ID. Then, she flips it open.

PHONE: You answer your phone, "Hello?"

PHONE: Niki says, "Hi, Cass…? It's Niki, I — I know I don't work until tomorrow, but…"

PHONE: Cass says, "Niki!" Cass sounds a little wary. "Hi. Yeah…that's okay. What can I do for you?"

Alyssa just sort of holds onto her given tea without seeming to realize it's there once the phone is answered. Okay, she is the least subtle conversation-listener-into ever. But there it is.

PHONE: Niki says, "Nothing, just— I think I owe you an apology."

Cass gives Alyssa an apologetic smile and puts a finger over the mouthpiece of her phone, mouthing 'Sorry' to the girl. "I'll be quick. Promise. And then it's back to talking about you."

PHONE: Cass says, "I…no, it's okay. It was just…kind of weird, you know? Seeing you with a gun and then running off. I can't say I blame you. I should have probably done the same thing."

Alyssa flashes back an even smile for the apology and mouths 'take your time!' and then she gives a cursory glance around the room as if that'll make her less rude. Her eyebrows obviously raise, however, at the sound of the discussion and she fiddles with the idea of Cass and this Mystery Caller as secret agents. Sort of bad, unsubtle ones. Subtlety, of the lack thereof, is the name of today's game.

PHONE: Niki is quiet for a few seconds, since half of that information is practically new to her. "Well, I'm still sorry. Did you make it out okay?"

PHONE: Cass waits for Niki to speak again before she says anything. First, she nods. Then, she realizes that means nothing to Niki and answers verbally. "Thanks for the apology. But everyone's fine. The woman in the tunnel made it out, as did her guard. Benjamin and Randall are fine, too. Are you okay?" Since gunplay wasn't exactly on her resume, her tone is curious.

"Oh! Tunnel! The explodey tunnel?" .. Oops. Cass on phone. Alyssa bites her lip.

Cass gives Alyssa a grin and an affirmative nod of her head. She realizes that the woman is listening in, but doesn't seem to mind.

PHONE: Niki says, "Benjamin was—" … let's slide right past the part where that sounds new to Cass's gun-wielding employee. "Who's Randall? I'm fine."

PHONE: Cass certainly sounds confused. Why does Niki sound so surprised? "Randall's a guy who comes in the store all the time. Black curly hair. I'm sure you've seen him around even if you don't know his name." Pause. "Glad to hear it. So…I didn't know you had a permit."

Who doesn't have a dri— oh, for the /gun/. Wait, she said 'Niki' before. Somehow, this has only filtered back to Alyssa now, maybe it's the mention of Anime Guy being around. "Niki's got a /gun/," she hisses in morbid fascination. If only there were, you know, actually somewhere else here to share this gossipy tone with.

PHONE: Niki says, "I don't." That she knows of. "I know I'm not making any sense. I'm sorry. But I'll just… I'll see you at work. Okay?"

PHONE: Niki may not be able to see it, but she might be able to hear the frown in Cass' voice. She's not upset with Niki, she's worried. "It's okay. I'll see you tomorrow, then?""

PHONE: Niki might be expressing a similar sentiment through her voice; a frown, but for a slightly different reason. "Yeah. Thanks. I didn't mean to freak you out."

PHONE: Cass says, "It's okay. You were the least freaky thing about that night. Take care, Niki."

PHONE: Niki says, "You too, Cass. 'Night!"

PHONE: The phone call has been ended by the other person.

Frowning, Cass pockets her phone and then focuses her attention back on Alyssa. "Sorry about that. Weird situation. What were we talking about before? Oh! Right. Boys." That's right, a subject change. Because she can. "What happened to that Namir guy?" Hopefully that will be enough to steer Alyssa away from the image of Niki having a gun in the tunnel explosion incident. Of course, with the other girl's imagination, she's not sure that it will.

Cass should know better! Alyssa is already writing the whole situation in her head and it takes a couple seconds after the phone call has ended for her to realize that it has. "Oh, was he there, too? … Oh, wait! Oh, off the phone. Heeey, guns do not equal boys. Sometimes. Okay, fine, though, shouldn't delve— actually, it's /totally/ my business to know if Niki did something kickass. I deserve to know." This may be 'boss', but sometimes Aly cannot stop the inner pushy.

Of course Cass knew that it was too good to be true, the idea of Alyssa letting such a tantalizing story go without a fight. "I dunno. Some boys /do/ equal guns. Niki's pretty kick ass just being herself. I'm not sure what happened in the tunnel, but she had a gun and looked like she knew how to use it." That's all she'll say about the subject. "Of course, it could have been a watergun. I wouldn't know."

"Hmmm. Still, pretty cool. I mean… not shooting people. Shooting people is not cool. But I don't know… cool to think of someone being so kickass. You know, with all the scary people around." Because apparently Alyssa does not find Niki scary. Then again, she wasn't there. Who knows. "I like guns when they're made of pixels and have a handy x targeting system in the middle of my screen."

"I like my guns non-existant," Cass grins, never having been a fan of violence or of the injury such things almost always cause. "Well, she certainly looked kickass. A little scary, but kickass nonetheless. It seems that everyone I've got working here's got something going for them that I didn't know about before." She smiles and picks up her mug of tea. "You know, you never told me what you could do." That's about her ability. "Of course, you don't have to."

Alyssa shifts in her spot a moment, tapping fingers against the tea cup and considering with the tell-tale biting of her lip. "Nothing, really, I've come to find," she says in that same way she talked about dating, matter-of-fact. She loses a lot of her flair when talking about herself outright, "Not since meeting so many more /amazing/ people. I mean— woow. I never could've imagined, even /me/. Sometimes I wake up and still wonder about it. We've had this conversation before, of course, but I don't think we'll ever be done having it."

Cass smiles. "You've come to find what?" While she's not exactly prying, she is curious. "And all of you are amazing. You've all been given a gift. Doesn't matter what it is. Some are just more easily observed than others." Grinning she nods and looks a little wistful about the entire idea. "I know. It's so farfetched. People being able to grow things back, make earthquakes, find things. Who knew this was actually possible?"

"Someone. I suppose. I wonder who was the very first person to realize. What they did. Then again, how could you ever know you were the first? Maybe everyone else is just being quiet about it?" Alyssa ponders on this for a while and then finally pulls around her chair and slides into the seat, "And I meant that I came to find that calling things to you or whatever is not much in the grand scale of remakin' plants and, well…. and Peter again. I mean— do you know what Petes does?"

"It's like the chicken and the egg," Cass offers as a metaphor. She buries her face in her tea mug again for a few moments while she thinks. "Calling things to you? Is that what you do?" That's interesting, for sure. It's kind of like what Jack can do. "I don't know. It sounds pretty great to me. Think about it, you'd never have to get up to find the remote again. Someone saved my life by calling a knife out of someone's hands." She smiles. "Yeah. He told me. Certainly is something powerful. Dangerous if he can't control it, but powerful."

"It seems weird to be," Alyssa starts in, immediately on the tail of Cass' words, with some urgency, "At first it was cool but it seemed weird after I thought about it. Like, who is he to get to do what we can do? Then again, who are we to give him that kind of burden? I can't decide. It's such a strange ability! You're basically sapping all the special out of someone else… but probably beating yourself over the head because of it. That's why I call him Hero's Journey. Sometimes it seems bigger than everything else. But I don't know if anyone was ever supposed to have to…." She frowns heavily, eyebrows knitting, and she sets the tea down without having taken a taste. She glances back and forth and then squints at Cass, "I'm not even sure what I'm saying anymore."

Cass listens intently to Alyssa. She doesn't have the same perspective as the other woman. Not having any powers to sponge off of, she doesn't know the problem of having someone take what made her special. "It's certainly a strange ability. But, I think it'd be more of a burden than anything else. To not when you meet someone if suddenly you'll have to control the ability to…who knows. Make kittens rain from the sky. Or to know that you have to control the ability to blow up all of New York." Like she knows Peter is capable of. "He certainly has things to work through." Just like Alyssa, the woman frowns. "I hope I can help him." She shakes her head and says louder, "It's okay. I don't understand all of it, either. I just want to help. I'm attempting to open a place where people can come and help learn control of and understanding for their abilities. When I get it up and working, you should come by."

Alyssa lets all of the unease leave her face when Cass takes, taking control to calm herself down from all the wild thinkings she's been having, "Of course I'm coming. In fact, I hope that if there's anything I can do before that, you'd ask me to help anyway." She shifts to the side, ponders her tea, but leaves it where it is. After a second of quiet, she pipes up, also quiet, "You said you hoped /you/ could help him. Is he still doing that other group thing or are you…?"

Laughing, Cass nods once. "Good. I'm glad. I could use some help. Or, maybe I won't. I don't know if anyone will actually come to get help. Who knows!" She puts her mug down on her desk and lets her arms rest in her lap. Realizing that Alyssa picked up on her quieter musings, the woman has a dilemma. Tell Alyssa the truth or lie? While she would normally be more open with her employee - and friend - this isn't her secret to tell. It's a pause that's easily covered. When she answers Alyssa, it's in much the same tone as before. Thoughtful. "Well, when I get my clinic opened, I'm hoping he'll stop by. And that he'll bring whoever he knows might need help along." And it's the truth. Just not all of it.

And the truth is hard to hear sometimes because that answer shuts Alyssa's mouth, has lean back in her seat, and sees her not pressing any further into it. She is, in fact, quiet for quite a while this time around. Finally, she just shrugs and asks, "You meet anyone else knew you're asking along or am I doing all the recruiting work for you, slacker?"

Cass laughs. "You are my main recruiter, Alyssa." Then, she pauses and remembers something that Peter said. "Oh, and you should take Elle off that list you gave me. She might be dangerous. I'm not really sure about the details. As long as you keep getting names, we'll have a good base to help people. I'm keeping my out, too."

Alyssa grins with noticeable pride and gives a light bob of her head for the appreciation, even if in the same amount of jest as her original note, "As long as people get what's going on then the—- whoa whoa whoa. Rewind. Did you say /dangerous/? Elle? Peter's blonde? 'Oh hay I'm so new to this I'm like a kitten with a ball of electricity-filled yarn'?"
Actually, that last one seems kind of bad.

"Wait, /Peter's/ blonde?" This seems like news to Cass. Surprise is evident on her face. "I…I don't know her. I was just told that I shouldn't include her when I started this all up. I knew from before that she was in league with the Company. That group of people that snatch others up." This is strange to her and curious. Definitely something she should bring up with Peter when she sees him next.

Confusion abounds! Because now Alyssa's beginning to doubt herself, "I.. well, I /thought/ that was the right person… he was in here buying presents and they were at the cafe and everything together… I mean. When she came into the store she was all 'oh noes what is this new power thing' so I gave her the whole spiel but… /oh jeez/ the kidnappers! With the dog-killing!" Dog killing is at the top of Alyssa's pyramid of super-bad-things and she jerks in the chair, lifting her knees up so that her feet are in the chair with her. "Aww, crap, now I can't remember what that guy who knew your dad and Peter were talking about again.. they mentioned those people, didn't they. Ahh, damn my brain."

Just as unsure as Alyssa is about this situation, Cass listens with confusion. "Yes. Them." Hm. So that's probably why Peter warned Cass against Elle. But she had no idea that the two were involved. "Benjamin," she supplies for the man who knew her father. "They mentioned the Company? What did they say?" She frowns and tries to think over all that she was told. "You didn't tell her that you could do anything, did you?"

Glance to the left. Glance to the right. Eyebrows once again falling, Alyssa brings her hands up to her mouth and presses steepled fingers against her lips. She shifts in her spot and one of her legs dangles off the chair again. "Something… arrgh… Peter was doing something, but only for people who really… wanted to or something. Benjamin wanted to help… I don't know with what. But I'm pretty sure the Company stuff came up. Except… actually, no I'm not. Maybe I just am because I'm paranoid now." Sighing, she brushes back her hair and looks helplessly at Cass, her forehead fair streaked with lines of concentration, "I don't remember what I told her."

Cass frowns and watches Alyssa as she tries to remember everything. "It's okay, Alyssa. I'll talk to Peter about when I see him next." Because if she tries to think any harder, the woman is afraid that smoke will come out of her ears. "Just…be extra careful. I'd hate for them to grab you."

That may, in fact, have been the worst thing that could've entered Alyssa's brain at that moment. She pales at 'grab you' with visions of strange black masks, hoods, and people shaking all of her dog stuffed animals at her as they are torn limb from fluffy limb. "/God/," she finally announces, "I think I'd sort of hate that /too/. Ohh, poor Fredric…"

"Well, that's sort of a given," Cass replies reassuringly. "I'm not saying that it will actually happen. We don't even know if Elle knows about you. I'm just saying be careful just in case. It'll be okay." Pause. Wait, she's missing some information here. "Frederic? Who's Frederic?"

"Well, my stuffed Great Pyrenees," comes the most matter-of-fact answer you ever could ask for. Duh, Cass. It's /Frederic/. "Though I've left a good deal of animals at my parents' house so I'm not even sure where that image came from. Thanks, though, appreciate hearing that from you because I even sort of believe it," a compliment, really, "but do tell me if you talk to Peter Petrelli first because if I hear nothing then I might just have to give him a piece of my mind about the sort of company he's keeping, no pun intended. Now then, though," she braces both hands on the sides of the chair and pushes to her feet, "Another day's a'comin. Just as long as you promise to be in more often, I'll leave it at that."

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