2007-04-05: Give Her Some Sugar


Niki_icon.gif Lachlan_icon.gif

Summary: Hopeful Lachlan goes to the bookstore with gifts for Cass, but meets Niki instead.

Date It Happened: April 5th, 2007

Give Her Some Sugar

Enlightenment Books, East Village, New York

It's not far from closing time and Enlightenment Books is seeing a quiet run with not a customer in sight. The person at the counter, blonde and blue-eyed, is definitely not Cass Aldric, but despite the bookstore's run of bad luck recently, it is - thankfully - not a robber, either. Er… not today, at any rate. Niki sits with her legs crossed and an open book on her knee, but the repose doesn't last for much longer. She sets it down and replaces it with a clipboard in the midst of standing to head for one of the aisles.

It's Cass that Lachlan was hoping to run into, judging by the fact that he comes bearing a rose and a letter. Plus, there's really no other reason for him to be in the bookstore — it's not like he /reads/ much at all. It's probably just as well that Cass isn't working this evening anyway. The Scotsman is sans dogs of any sort and enters the shop with a bit of timidity, peeking in before stepping fully inside. "'Lo?" he calls.

About to turn down an aisle full of the colourful books of Enlightenment, Niki pauses with one hand on a shelf and half-turns to see who's at the door. The man earns the vaguest flicker of recognition, the kind where you know you've seen someone before but don't really remember where. "Hi!" After taking in the presence of the letter and rose with a slightly questioning, but not prying look, she turns all the way around. "Are you looking for someone? Cass or one of the other girls, maybe…?"

Oh hey, that's … someone he's seen before. /Surely/. If not, he'd be a poor excuse of a man. But just as soon as Lachlan realizes he's ogling, he mentally slaps himself and pointedly looks at something unattractive in another direction. Ah, yes. Books. So non-sexual. "Uh, yeah, was lookin' fer Cass. She in the back?" When he asks the question, the Scotsman glances briefly at Niki before turning his eyes away once more.

"She went out. I don't think she's supposed to be back tonight," Cass's blonde bombshell of an employee tells Lachlan, polite and apologetic - the latter because of that rose, mostly. Poor guy. As she glances at the clipboard and then steps into an aisle, running her hand along some book spines as if idly looking for something on a checklist, Niki smiles knowingly at the Mostly Stranger. "But I've heard her say that before and she pops in again. Sometimes I'm surprised she doesn't sleep right here in the store."

"Oh." Lachlan frowns in a disappointed fashion, peering at the door to the back room ruefully. "Well … a'righ'. D'ye mind if I, uh, drop this stuff off?" He holds up the rose and envelope inquisitively. He wouldn't mind sticking around and waiting either, but that question can come later.

Niki furls a page on the clipboard back to peek at the next list, but isn't really paying attention to it, as she's listening to Lachlan; but she doesn't seem put out by his presence, either. "Oh, sure," she obliges with a smile, heading his way. "We should put that in some water so it doesn't die while she's gone," she points out with a nod to the rose. "It's beautiful, by the way. I'm sure Cass'll like it." Of course, she's not informed of all the couple's issues.

Still, such praise is encouraging to the man who has about zero understanding of the female psyche. He perks up a bit, smiling as he glances at the rose. "Yeah? Hope so." Lachlan examines the flower a moment as though finding new appreciation in it now that someone said it was beautiful, then he starts heading for the back room. "There a vase 'r somethin' I can put it in?"

Niki gives the Scotsman an encouraging smile, this time, as he examines the flower. She drops the clipboard off on the counter and heads in the same direction as Lachlan. "We'll find out," she says as she steps in and starts looking around the back room for anything vase-like. Counters, cupboards… "A-ha!" The opening of a cupboard reveals a tall glass, which she brandishes with a one-shouldered shrug at the same time. "It's not fancy, but she strikes me as someone who'd appreciate the sentiment." Even though she's the one who goes to fill it up with water. Lachlan is getting Wise Girl Knowledge.

Precisely what the man needs. Lachlan grins a bit at the glass, then sets the envelope down on the desk in the back room where it will be obviously apparent to the owner when she arrives. "Hope so," he utters again, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his jeans. "We've no' been, uh, real good lately." His own fault, obviously, or he wouldn't be trying to fix it.

"I know how that goes," Niki murmurs quietly while the glass fills up with water from the sink Cass must have because of all the tea she makes. Presently, she holds it out to Lachlan. Note: her wedding ring, which means she's officially educated in relationship troubles. Presumably. "I don't know anything about you guys, but I hope it works out for the best." Whatever that is. The woman grins at Lachlan, "And if you really want that rose to wow Cass, add some sugar to the water."

Lachlan lacks the observational skills to pick up on the wedding ring, but he does vaguely recall Niki having mentioned being married when that crazy Jaden guy tried to propose to her. Still, having never been married, he doesn't know what it's like — but he's sure finding out about relationship troubles and /fast/. He cocks his head to one side at the comment about sugar. "Wha' fer?" Subconsciously, he starts searching his pockets — always filled with a plethora of miscellany — in the hopes of locating a wayward sugar packet.

"It keeps roses alive and looking nice longer," Niki answers readily while Lachlan goes on his sugar-finding mission. Meanwhile, she heads for the door into the main area, but she doesn't leave the back room - she just leans against the doorframe lightly, arms crossed casually over the dressy grey vest she wears over a blouse. It's just so she can keep an eye on the store, glancing out into the empty space, given that it's been robbed lately.

The rose is placed by the envelope, and Lachlan manages to find not one, but two packets of sugar from Denny's, of all places. He must have picked them up without thinking when he had some coffee there a bit ago. "Oh." He frowns at the packets in his hand, looks between them and the flower a few times, then arches an eyebrow at Niki. 'Y'sure?" Niki /seems/ nice enough not to play such a cruel prank on him, but he can't be sure.

Niki can't help but laugh a little at Lachlan's questioning, offering him an amused, lopsided smile. "I promise. My sister used to bring in fresh cut flowers all the time when…" The woman trails off as if regretting saying part of that outloud, glancing down to the floor with a marked uneasiness — it mars the positive demeanor she's had so far with Lachlan, but she just shakes her head after few seconds pause and smiles. "It works the best with roses."

It's the downturn of Niki's mood that puzzles Lachlan and causes him to frown deeper. Still, she sounds like she knows what she's talking about, so he rips open the packets and dumps them into the glass, stirring the white crystals with the rose's stem to better dissolve them in the liquid. "Ye a'righ'?" he asks of the blonde once he's finished, tucking the now empty packets back into his pocket. Packrat.

"Hm? Yeah," Niki answers, still smiling, though her brow is furrowed in the same moment. "I hadn't thought of the flowers for awhile. Just— a memory," she adds after a moment, and though that smile turns a little nostalgic, she's avoidant because she doesn't know Lachlan from … anyone, really. Thus, she tries to switch back to Lachlan and his girl woes, posing the casual question of: "So. What'd you do that requires roses /and/ a letter?" She wasn't going to pry, but it's a change of subject!

And now it's Lachlan's turn to become uncomfortable and less than easy. "Oh, uh." He crosses his arms over his chest tightly. Niki doesn't have to know what he /really/ did. "Just … fucked up a bit." And fucked a few people he shouldn't. "We're, uh, werkin' through it."

"Well, good luck. Relationships take work," the blonde says, and she seems sincere. "It looks like you're taking a step in the right direction, at least." She indicates the gifts Lachlan is leaving for her boss with a look. "I'm Niki, by the way. I'm… new. I think I remember you from the Park, now…?"

"Yeah, tha's wha' people keep tellin' me," Lachlan utters wryly, rubbing at the back of his neck. Relationships take work. Fwuh. At the question of recognition, his hand drops to his side and he nods, grinning lopsidedly. "Yeah, it was with the … tha' crazy guy. Rich guy. With the …" He gestures with his hand to indicate a phone of some sort. "'M Lachlan Deatley. Ye can call me Lach."

"… Right," Niki replies through a light laugh, recalling Jaden - which prompts a few incredulous blinks and dismissive shake of her head. "It's nice to meet you officially, Lach. I have to do some stuff to close up, but… you can stay as long as you want. You know, in case Cass comes back." On that note, she drifts into the main store zone.

"A'righ'. Thanks." Lachlan smiles, then hesitantly settles himself in the chair at the desk. It's not like he has much better to do at the moment; he can wait until the store's completely closed before he heads out. However, he's not about to get in Niki's way, so staying in the back is the best bet.

Niki goes about doing exactly what she said, putting the finishing touches on the various tasks needed to close the store. The lights dim at one point when the main bulb is shut off. It's several minutes before she appears in the doorway to the backroom and casts a halfway worried look on Lachlan. "Are you sure you don't want to give her a call…?"

When the lights dim and Niki appears in the doorway, Lachlan figures it's closing time. Cass hasn't returned, so he figures he'll just let the letter do his talking for him. He rises to his feet with a sigh and shakes his head. "Nah, I'll just give 'er a call later 'r somethin'. Thanks, though." He looks at the rose and letter, then starts for the door. "Thanks fer lettin' me wait."

Niki steps out of the doorway, off to the side to give Lachlan room. At his thanks, she just shakes her head and smiles obligingly. "It's no problem."

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