2009-11-30: Self-Help, Lesbian Babies, And Pocket Ninjas



Date: November 30, 2009


Merrick seeks out the bookstore for self-help books and gets help from people who didn't buy PhDs online…

"Self Help, Lesbian Babies, and Pocket Ninjas"

Enlightenment Books

A bit stressed now a days, Merrick aka Lloyd has decided to look for a self help book on mastering his confidence level. He had heard of this book store from a friend of his and decided he would make his way to the store and wander through their self help section. He is dressed like any normal college student would be with jeans, a t-shirt a jacket and backpack over his left shoulder. He is currently scanning a book titled, "You are ok!"

Bookstores always smell wonderful — like paper and print. Sydney had escaped the cool New York air to take a peek around Enlightenment Books. She hasn't been in here before, but having a penchant for bookstores, when she saw it in her lost-ness (yes, she's lost again), she had to check it out. She's been padding through the aisles glancing at various titles when she peeks at Merrick and shakes her head a bit and smirks, "Hmmmm. I don't suggest that one. It's full of terrible advice… and I'm pretty sure the author bought his PhD online…"

As he turns his head towards the voice, Merrick blinks as he cocks his head to the side. Anytime a pretty woman starts speaking to him he can't help but stare for a few moments before remembering that he should speak like a normal person would and says in his bartitone British accent, "Yea'?" He closes the book and says, "Thanks lass." He runs a hand through his long locks and asks, "You know any good books that will help a mate feel better about himself?"

"Well… I would stay away from any of the guys who have some kind of snappy name," Sydney quips as she grins at him. She glances through the selection and hmmms, "This one's not bad." She takes a book called Value in the Self. "I would stay away from anything that Gray guy wrote. I know for a fact he bought his PhD online. And Dr. Phil isn't to be trusted. Any therapist who exploits patients for notoriety deserves to have their license revoked…" She shrugs a bit as she tilts her head at him. "Are you okay?" She doesn't know him, but the tone reflects genuine concern. "I only ask because once it comes to the book-reading part it means that really a person needs to talk it out…"

As he puts his book back, Merrick turns and looks at the woman, "I have not been ok for nearly a month. Yet I am sure you have better things to do then listen to some poor wankers boo hoo story. A bonnie lass such as yourself?" Merrick slowly moves to take the book from the woman.

"I'm a therapist," Sydney admits with a shoulder shrug. "I spend my life listening to other people's troubles." She grins at him as she pulls another book from this shelf and hands it to him, "So no, I don't really have anything better to do." She shrugs again. Her lips quirk into a small smile.

Skimming the titles, she pulls another three books for him. "These are all good in different ways. I still am not entirely sold on the idea of self help. I find talk works better. But I guess not everyone likes to talk…"

Merrick looks down at the books and then towards you and cocks his head to the side, "Really? Does that mean your obligated by like law to keep everything I said to…well yourself?"

Tilting her head a bit, Sydney stares at Merrick incredulously as her eyebrows furrow into a v. There's a long pause before she nods slightly. "Yes. I do have certain ethics I'm obligated to follow unless…" she swallows because she's been pulling this card a lot lately, divulging information for people's protection "…I think you're a harm to yourself or others…" which she's since extended to include or harm will come to you, even though her discipline doesn't include it. "All-in-all I'm a professional secret-keeper. And I do my best to keep them."

Amy - the friendly woman behind the desk - has been keeping an eye on the customers and making sure they're being helped or left alone when needed. The door open and closes again - or well, opens - as Cass steers through a stroller with Abby strapped into it. The baby is wrapped up in jackets and tiny scarves and gloves in order to make sure she's warm. Cass' own cheeks are pink with the outside cold and she's holding a conversation with someone over her shoulder. "…Just for a second! Make sure Bonnie doesn't chew on any of the books!" Not that she would, but after that one time, she feels as if she has to warn him. Grinning, she gives a wave to Amy. "I know, I know, it's my day off, I just needed to check in on something! We'll be out of here in a second. Pretend we're not even here! Lachlan, you remember Amy, right?"

As he takes the card and looks down at it. He smiles a bit wider and says, "Sydney huh?" He looks up at the woman, "That was me Mimi's name. She was a good woman. She had a mouth that could make a truck driver blush but a heart the size of Texas." Merrick takes the card and slides it into his pocket and extends his hand, "Me 'ame is Merrick." His eyes move towards the door as if a little jumpy and then takes a deep breath seeing it is some mother as he focuses his attention back on the beautiful woman before him.

Bundled to the gills and bearing a cane and the leash of a large wooly dog, the gruff-looking Scotsman gives a wave and a nod to Amy, along with a smile twinged with long-suffering. Yes, Cass is doing it again, with the "just for a second" thing. "Righ', righ'," Lachlan grunts. "Hey, Bonnie, fetch one o' the expensive ones." Grin! Naturally the dog doesn't move, since he was only joking.

"That's me," Sydney grins broadly. "The name has done me well. Mimi?… Grandmother?" She accepts the hand into a handshake . "Pleasure to meet you Merrick." She glances at the door but only for a moment. "So, where are you from exactly? I'm terrible at placing accents…" she quips as she releases his hand. "So… had a rough month then?"

"You don't have to keep checking on the store, Cass. I've got it. I promise." Amy gives her boss a smile. "Everything's the same as usual."

"That bad, huh?" Cass grins at her own joke and pushes the stroller back toward the counter. "I trust you, Amy! I'm just here for a few of Abby's things I think left here the other day." At Lachlan's quip, she just gives him a glare. It holds no real fire behind it - it's obvious that they banter like this often. "You just watch what you're teaching my dog, Lach. Or I'll teach Abby how to pick up baby boys. Just you wait." Countdown to a Scotsman meltdown in 3…2…1…

As the name Cass hits his ears, Merrick's head snaps quickly towards the direction the mother entered. He looks back at Sydney to Cass to Sydney to Cass. He holds a finger up and says to Sydney, "Don't go anyway. Be back in a shake…" Merrick turns and begins to make his way towards the women's voices as he looks for Cass.

"Ye'll do no such thing," Lachlan retorts with faux indignation. "Abby's gonna be a lesbian, huh?" The last is directed to the child in the stroller, along with a gentle finger-waggle near the girl's face. "S'righ', there's no' gonna be any boys hangin' 'round ye, is there? Yeah." Cue ridiculous voice. Merrick's approach has the Scot on high-alert, however, and he straightens, fixing a cold stare on the other man, hand gripping his cane tightly.

An eyebrow is arched at Merrick before Sydney just shakes her head and continues to pad down the aisles of books. She finally stops at several on borderline personality disorder and pulls one to look at the spine. "I may as well do some brushing up… all things considered," she mumbles to herself. "I need to get that girl to a clinician…" Clucking her tongue she glances at the DSM-IV criteria outlined in the book's inside cover and she reads quietly to herself, "Personality disorder, characterized by manipulation… check… feelings of ambivalence to others… check… hot and cold towards others… check…"

With a roll of her eyes, Cass kneels down to unstrap Abby from the stroller and pick her up. At least this way, mommy's little lesbian will be up in her arms. "That would be just perfect for you. You two can discuss girls all day long. We'll have to have a gay son so I can discuss men with him." And then they'll have the perfect set. When Merrick approaches Amy and asks her if the other woman is Cass, the real woman grins at the flustered Amy's shake of her head and point at the brunette. "Actually, that would be me. Hi, hello, what can I do for you?"

Merrick 's eyes turn to look on Cass as he cocks his head to the side, and then looks at the little girl. "Me 'ame is Merrick Jones. We have some friends that dance in the same circles. I see you are with your family and well…I do not wish to be a bother. Perhaps I could call on you when we can sit down and chatter in private?"

"'F yer talkin' ta her, ye'll be talkin' in front o' me," Lachlan pipes up in a tone that hedges on a growl. Someone is still a bit paranoid. Just a bit. Maybe. Especially since things seem to have been picking up in insanity lately. Bonnie is stiff and alert at his side, apparently picking up Vibes.

Both eyebrows are arched as Merrick approaches the bookstore owner and her family, but Sydney only glances up for a moment before clucking her tongue at her own predicament, and still listening vaguely to the conversation, murmuring quietly to herself as she reads, "Borderline personality disorder is common in… homeless people… addicts… spoiled people. Yes. This is dead on…" She flips further through the pages.

"Well, I'm with my family pretty often." The mention of friends in the same circle makes Cass think for a moment, remembering the name Merrick from a conversation from before. "You know…Charity, right?" She's good with names and realizes that this may not be the best conversation for being in the middle of a busy store. "That's fine, you can chatter with both me and Lachlan when we're all free next. Let me give you my number. Here, Lachlan, hold Abby for a moment." Have a baby and stop being grumpy, mister. Even with his cane he's able to hold the baby for short periods of time. Grabbing one of the cards for Enlightenment, she scribbles her number on the back of it and hands it to Merrick.

As he looks down at the card, he nods and says, "Yeah Charity is awesome. She is someone I would want to have on my side in a bar fight." He chuckles weakly looking over at Lachlan and knows plenty of Scotsmen and how their temper can blow up a world in 1.3 seconds. He takes a step back and says, "I will contact you soon." He takes a second Enlightment Book Store card and says, "Here is my number." He writes it down and sets it on the counter. "Call me if you need anything before we can have coffee…or beer. The first round is on me." He looks back over at Sydney and runs a hand through his hair, "Got me a beauty to finish speaking to…thanks for your time."

But if he's holding a baby, Lachlan can't be Protective! He doesn't cut an intimidating figure when he's got a baby in one arm. Still eyeing Merrick with no small amount of suspicion, though at least less so now that it appears the man isn't going to whip some ninjas out of his pocket and whisk Cass away, the Scotsman murmurs something to the child in his arms and clucks his tongue. Yes, calm. He's totally relaxed.

Sydney reshelves the book and takes out another one. "Dissociative Identity Disorder," she murmurs again. "Hmmmm." She opens the front page and reads quietly, "Formerly known as multiple personality disorder…" she skims it quickly "…well, I'd already ruled this one out, but I would certainly love a case like this…" Her lips twitch at the thought.

That is the whole point of giving Abby to Lachlan! Cass has a masters degree in defusing Lachlan's protective anger. Lately, it seems to be apply baby to grumpy husband will create a better situation. "She is pretty awesome, from what I can tell!" Otherwise, she wouldn't have let the mechanic hide out in her basement. "Alright. That sounds good. It was nice meeting you. Lachlan, I think, would appreciate the beer." She glances over at her husband, trying not to smile too much at his clucking and calming baby noises. "Good luck with that!" she waves to Merrick. "See, no ninjas dropping from the ceiling to attack us, Lachlan."

Merrick looks over his shoulder and blinks. His eyes move back to Sydney as he says sincerely, "I am sorry lass. I heard a name of someone I was looking for who works here and that was her. Now…back to you. How much do your sessions cost? You see…I am a student and not made of money right now." Merrick tucks a loose strand of hair behind his ear.

"S'long as it's no' spiked," Lachlan grumbles under his breath. The expression quickly changes to a happy, broad and exaggerated grin for Abby's sake, and his voice remains chipper as he adds in response to Cass, "Yeah, well, ye can never be too sure, can ye? Nah, ye canna be too sure, baby!" Abby gets a little tickle. "Mummy thinks I'm paranoid, but she's wrong, huh? S'righ'." At this age, Abby can agree with anything Lachlan says, because he says so.

"It's fine," Sydney responds easily as she snaps the book shut and returns it to the shelf. She offers a bright smile to Merrick and a nod, "I work at Hope Hearth Distress Centre. It's somewhere in between private practice and non-profit. If you come in the afternoon, I'm paid by independent funding agencies. Morning appointments are generally reserved for people who kick in cash of their own." She shrugs a bit. "And all students go through that. Believe me, I'm just finishing with that phase of my life right now."

"Oh stop that." Cass reaches forward to take Abigail back and put her into the stroller again. She's done her duty and turned her father's mood around. "You are too paranoid." Not that Cass truly minds. For now, at least. One of them has to be while the other can be too trusting. "You just keep your crazy daddy sense on the lookout for Abby and we'll be fine." Cass gives Amy a roll of her eyes and then a grin. "I think we've done enough damage here for a day."
Merrick nods slowly and says, "Well…I would like that. I can give you some cash…maybe 50 bucks for now if that will help put me in the list to make sure I am with you." He smiles as the apples in his cheeks turn a few shades darker, "You seem right as rain."

There's a soft snort from Lachlan as he's de-babied, and he casts a quick glance Merrick and Sydney's way. Oh hey, she is a looker. Maybe she's also a secret agent. And maybe he is a little bit paranoid. His attention turns to Amy as he points to Cass in an illustrative gesture. "Y'see wha' I put up with?" Yes, he's so abused.

"You don't need to pay me now, I'll stick you on the list. I'll put you in later this week. Call my office and ask for my direct line… our receptionist is…" How Tara is still working there, Sydney will never know. "…well, just ask for me." She grins broadly. "Thanks. I think." Grin. "I just like to help when I can." Even to the point of having clients move in with her. She really ought to learn boundaries one of these days.

Oh, so abused. Cass rolls her eyes back at Amy and attempts to steer both baby and husband toward the door. See! She was telling the truth! It was only a quick visit! Luckily, Cass does not catch Lachlan catching a glimpse of Sydney or she may turn into the jealous wife. "Yes, a loving wife and baby. Pooor Lachlan!"

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