2007-04-20: Spats, Puppies, and Robots


Niki_icon.gif DL_icon.gif Cass_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif Alyssa_icon.gif Gene_icon.gif

With An Appearance By:



Gene's R2-D2

Summary: Lunch, disagreements, puppies, breaking things, fly-by food, awkwardness, robots, Satan. A normal day at Enlightenment Books.

Date It Happened: April 20th, 2007

Spats, Puppies, and Robots

Enlightenment Books, East Village, NYC

The bookstore is serene this sunny New York afternoon, so it would seem. While Cass is out doing mysterious Cass things, and the other bookstore girls are off, Enlightenment is under the control of one person. …In a manner of speaking. Semantics! Niki is undoubtedly around somewhere, although the main area of the eccentric store is empty. The key to the cash register is gone, and there /are/ signs of life, after all - a radio set to low, its music drifting out from the backroom from a random rock station; the door is ajar, and the sound of a voice, Niki's, can be heard over the radio, despite her hushed and urgent tones. "I can do this on my own. I don't need your help. Not anymore."

"That's not good. I spent all morning making this lunch."

D.L.'s voice rings out as he probably phased himself in to be more of a surprise guest than an actual customer. He holds up a bag (which is probably a new purchase from Sam's or BJ's or something) and makes his way off towards where the Niki is. Since, well that's his wife (more or less) and he loves her (more than less!) like there's no tomorrow. "If you're about to tell me you're going vegetarian, I'm seriously going to have to look into divorce."

"Please, Niki. You don't have the first clue what's going on." But /that/ is not a voice anyone but she can hear, spoken from the small mirror that hangs above the sink - the edge of which Niki is clinging to, and has been for awhile, given how white her knuckles have turned.

The mirror image, arms crossed with self-assured defiance, tips her head off to the side just before the visitor opens his mouth, but despite the warning, D.L. gives Niki a start. She tenses when the voice that replies is someone other than— well, a warped version of her own— and her expression is one of not-quite-pleasant surprise. She actually looks guilty for a split second as she stands there, but she breaks into a smile in no time - tempered only by the cautious glance she gives the sink area. "You brought me lunch?" she reaches out to take the bag, stepping in close as she does so to give her husband a kiss. "You're my hero, you know that?" So that's a no on the divorce!

"Well, I figured since someone was out here bringing home the bacon, the least I could do is cook it." D.L. mentions this, making sure to hide everything about not feeling good about this role in the family from Niki. He doesn't really notice anything out of the ordinary, but that tends to happen when he's paying more attention to how fine his wife is than anything else in the room at the moment. Or ever. "So. How's everything going down here? Sell any books lately?" He looks around the shop with a lip curled up. "… or ever?" Clearly, he does not know the appeal of books and novels to the general public.

"Well, thank you. I'm starving." Niki beams and turns away to put the bag on the table. It's a 180 from the tense, heated demeanor D.L. walked in on a moment ago, but she's happy to see him. There's a sunshine breaking clouds sunshine metaphor going on somewhere. "It's been crazy busy this week, but it's been a little slow today. It's starting to drive me insane." No comment, D.L. For your own well-being. She whisks the lunch off the table, on second thought, and with a hand on her husband's arm, starts to take it into the main area of the bookstore. She's been hiding back there long enough. There might be actual customers, after all. "I know it's kind of… weird. And by kind of I mean … a lot. Last person who was in bought a book about, like… werewolves."

"With everything we've been through, I'm willing to bet there's one out there somewhere." D.L. lets himself be led to the main room and that's pretty much all she wrote. He's keeping close, but his distance, at the same time. Just in case he says something to set his wife off into the world of… well, nevermind. Let's just leave that part of this relationship alone. "You don't have to work, Niki. We've still got money. And after I drop off the check to that school for Micah, we can start looking at houses for ourselves." He's really trying to help her see the bigger pictures in all of this. No work and illegal money is a good thing.

"Y'know, I wouldn't be surprised, at this point." Niki leans against the front of the counter, beside the slightly beat-up old cash register. Her unwrapping of the bag's contents is waylaid as she listens to D.L., her brows coming together in a frown, fitting into familiar lines. "Money's not going to last forever," she tries to point out with a mild but insistent shake of her head that sways the blonde waves around her face just a bit. "We pay for the rest of Micah's tuition and get a house, then what? We gotta save what we can."

"Then /I'll/ get a job." D.L. states this as if it has been part of his plan the entire time. Granted, he leaves the 'illegal' out of the plan, but he's still going to get another job. Which will bring in a nice chunk of cash and they'll just have to live forever in the lap of luxury. That can't be that bad of a future, can it? "You don't need to be working. In your… condition." Geez, D.L., it's not like she's pregnant again. Right?!

That may as well be what D.L. is implying, for the look Niki gives him. It is, to say the least, unimpressed. She also looks a bit wounded, understandably. "I'm not some reject from society, D. We can both work." If he can land a job. A legal one. She leaves that part out. "Try to get opposite shifts or something so someone's there for Micah," she goes on, pretending as if she's not stung by what he said - maybe he didn't mean it that way, but it still stung. Her attempt falls short, however, as she glances off darkly to the side for a second. "Besides," the blonde shrugs one shoulder up, "It's weird, but I kinda like it here." Even with the werewolves.

Figures. Just figures. Every time D.L. comes up with a good idea, Niki (or somebody inside Niki) shoots it down. This is not going to be kosher because of the way that D.L. is not allowed to protect her from anything. All he wants to do is keep her safe. Geez. It's just not fair. Not fair at all. But all that anyone gets to see is that D.L. is frowning and leaning himself up against one of the bookcase things. Which is not kosher at all. Mang. "Alright. I ain't tryin' to argue. I just wanted to bring you something to eat." D.L. holds his hands up and immediately gets to thinking about another topic of which can be discussed. Thus, his quietness.

As she has been more absent from her store than she would like, Cass has gone to more extreme lengths to show her appreciation to her staff for keeping everything running and together. As such, today she's brought food! Good food, too, from one of the delis around the corner. A couple of sandwiches, bags of chips and some soft drinks to spread around. Even if Niki isn't hungry, well, customers are more than welcome to dig in, too. She looks tired - which is understandable given the early morning she had - but she also looks pleased. The first thing that people will see of Cass as she pushes into the store is her back, because that's how she's opening the door. And she's also talking to someone. "—not until 2012 on the Mayan Calendar are we supposed to have the end of the world. So, really, we're safe! Think about it, Peter!" Then she turns around grins at Niki. "Hey Niki! I brought some food! Hope you haven't eaten yet!"

A few steps behind the owner of this store would be one Peter Petrelli. Dressed mostly in black, as usual, there's one noticable patch of white against his chest, a fluffy patch of white. That moves. A pointed ear puppy that looks like a tiny white huskie, if nothing else. An American Eskimo, to be exact, with blue-gray eyes instead of the usual dark ones. Though she has a collar and a leash, he's holding onto her as they walk into the store, "I don't know… 2012 isn't that far away. I'd like to think we have longer than that." He'd only be thirty-two.

Maybe Niki has lost her appetite already after all, because the thoughtful lunch D.L. brought goes untouched. It's placed on the counter behind her before she strides toward her frowning husband, plowing through that space he was trying to keep between them. "D…" Imploring imploring, undeniably saddened - not to be confused with apologetic - tone, reaching out for one of his much larger hands. "I'm not trying to argue," she says with a soft shake of her head. That's when Cass bursts in backwards with /more/ food, followed by Peter, all of which throws her for a temporary loop. Their arrival certainly derails the Serious Conversation, which is lucky for D.L., right? "Hi, you guys! I… not yet, but my thoughtful husband here brought me lunch. I'd like you to meet D.L. D, this is Cass, she's my boss. And Peter, you might… remember." You know. That whole flying into the sky and exploding thing. Of course, she may have totally neglected to mention running into him again. In the sky. "Here, I'll help you with some of that," she offers and tries to relieve some of the stuff from Cass's arms.

D.L. is in the middle of getting ready to not-argue with his wife some more, but that's all thrown out the window when Cass and Peter enters. Unfortunately, D.L. does have a good memory and does quite remember Peter, but nothing more than that. He was kind of almost dying at the time. So he just offers the male entering a nod, before his eyes travel over to Cass and he offers a softer nod. "Sup." That's all he's going to say at the moment, since he's quite sure he should be keeping himself focused on not looking like he's ready to randomly punch any man that's daring to look in Niki's direction. He doesn't have jealousy issues. At all. Honest.

"That's true." Okay, so Cass' attempt at being optimistic has failed. "Well. Maybe it's another one of those things like Y2K and we're making a big deal out of nothing." She grins at Peter, deciding to stay optimistic. Undeterred by Niki's no-hungry-ness, she laughs. "Well, that's fine. These'll keep. Dinner, then?" Thinking that D.L. was just a customer, Cass didn't afford too much of a look in his direction when she first entered. But, when Niki introduces him as her husband, she smiles and is about to offer him a hand, but, well, they're laden with bags. "Hi! It's great to meet you!" As soon as Niki takes some of the food from her, she steps forward and offers a handshake. "Niki's been a real help. She's such a quick learner and such a relief to know she's here when I'm not here." That's what bosses do when they meet husbands/parents/children…tell the other how much they value their loved one. At least in Cass' mind it is. "Want a sandwich?" She's got enough to go around, after all.

"I'd like to think I'll make it to thirty-three," Peter adds on to the end, since, if that Mayan thing is accurate, he'd turn that two days after the end of the world. Which wouldn't be the most awesome thing ever. He's still giving a half smile, with tail wagging puppy in his arms, when he glances to see Niki and D.L. Just as D.L. vaguely recognizes him, he too also recognizes the man. "Hi Niki," he starts off at first, smile sombering a bit, showing a little more familiarity that might give away they've met before. Maybe here at the store? "Nice to actually meet you, this time, D.L." he adds with a hint that nod returned, very aware they didn't have the chance to exchange names last time, much less actually speak. He was busy getting beat, then punching, then trying not to blow up. Rough night, that was.

Since Enlightenment Books has easily become Alyssa's home away from home — or maybe now it's the home and her apartment is the away from… — anyway, it feels kinda like home so she certainly doesn't mind showing up for her shift comfortably early. Besides, the more that she's there, the more chance that her oft-absent boss will be around and anytime there's Cass-conversation then the week is complete. Plus there's news on Aly's side this time. She shoves the door with one hand and then gives an extra nudge with her foot to get in. Well, first glance reveals that Cass is, indeed, there, and so are several other people. That back is sort of recognizable as Peter Petrelli's so she pointedly glances away from that part of the room and finds the seeming strangers instead. She makes an interested noise in the back of her throat for the company.

While her husband is … Stoic Black Dude, his blonde wife is more chatty. "Sure. That's really nice of you, Cass!" The food, not the accolades, though she does smile somewhat modesty over those. Granted, she is torn between wanting to talk to D.L. more and being welcome for the distraction Cass and Peter provide, but thankfully for everyone, Niki's not so torn that they have to deal with a less hospitable self. "Stay?," she asks of D.L. on Cass's offer, giving him a hopeful little smile (who can resist that?) and laying a hand gently on his arm. The appearance of her younger coworker (not that… they're /all/ not younger) garners another smile. "Hi, Alyssa! You're early today. This is my husband, D.L."

D.L. was about ready to make himself get the heck out of dodge. Since, well, there's a whole lot of people up in this place now. This was much easier when there was nobody but Niki. He frowns a little bit, but manages to keep himself leaning up against the book case. He doesn't really want to do too much else but just stand here, which is likely the only thing he's going to do. He tosses a glance towards Alyssa and nods at her. "Nice meetin' you all." is the only response that everyone gets at the same time. It's much easier than trying to talk to like fifty people at once.

"You'll make it that far," Cass reassures Peter with a smile. It's slightly teasing, but mostly just to keep the mood light. As she's already turned to quip to Peter, she sees Alyssa's entrance and gives the girl a wave. "Hey Alysssa! Come in and have some food! I got sandwiches, soda and some chips for everyone." If she's being extra-nice, she just waves a hand. "Don't worry about it. I was getting hungry and figured you all were, too." Heading to the counter, she puts down the rest of what she's carrying and catches at her watch. "Oh, crap," she mutters. "Sorry to be the bearer of food and then to dash on you all, but I've got to run." Sighing, she frowns a bit as she looks around the store she doesn't get nearly enough time with any more before pulling out a smile. "It was lovely to meet you, D.L. Eat something. I'll see you two later. I think I'll stop by later today if I can. Peter, have something to eat, too."

"Aly?" Peter asks, glancing towards the young girl that Niki happens to point out to those still in the store. The fuzz ball of white fur in his arms tries to look around curiously too, tail wagging back and forth, ears perked up. There's people. And lots of things to chew on. Which would be why he is /not/ putting her down. "Hey, Aly. I didn't see you," he says, not realizing at all that she'd been avoiding eye contact with him. Though he stays close to Cass, he's right there when she offers food and then makes a move to leave. "That's fine, really. Thank you." For more than just the food. "I promise I won't destroy your store in any way." Which includes by puppy.

During most of this discussion, Alyssa has been glancing between the speakers without really seeming to register what's going on or who's addressing her. The reason for that would be the "Spamalot" playing in her ears, blocking out all conversation and forcing her to make up her own to compensate. Naturally, things go a bit more interestingly than your casual introductions. Therefore the snort of laughter suddenly from her may seem out of place, but at least it forces her to put her playlist on pause and come back to a reality where she realizes she /knows/ one of the previous thought strangers. Duh. I mean, right? That one's, uh… ya know. Blond employee. Crap. "Are you leaving already Cass?" She asks mournfully, seconds late for the conversation. Also, there is something white and fluffy at the corner of her eye. It appears to be an animal of some kind. Obviously, Peter is a dastardly mastermind in the art of making girls want to pay attention to him when they are trying their best not to.

"See you around, Cass," Niki tells her friendly boss, smiling as the other woman's on her way out. After quirking a somewhat silly smile at Alyssa after the girl's untimely laughter, she arranges the food took from Cass on the counter - hopefully a customer won't walk in right this second. That done, she steps back to stand near D.L. by the bookcase, looking up at him as if to determine his mood, or maybe read his mind. She might lack telepathy, but she can figure it out to some degree - it's a wife thing. She's not distracted by the puppy (or by Peter), at least. "Hey. We can have lunch on my break when Alyssa takes over." There's a shrug of one shoulder. "It could be nice."

Grinning, Cass raises an eyebrow at Peter. "I don't mind what you do as long as you clean up after." Now that her arms are free, she moves to pat Snowy on her way out. "Sorry, Alyssa, but yeah. Like I said, I'll try to be back later to help close up. Make sure Peter eats something." She says, pretending to be stern. The man needs to keep up his strength, after all. "And grab something for yourself!" Already, she's making for the door, gathering speed as she leaves. She's going to be late, but that's okay. By the time she reaches the door, she's all but dashing. "Later guys!"

"Don't even worry about it." D.L. states, not really sure if Niki's talking to him about this whole Lunch thing. There's just too much going on around this place of business. This is why he sticks to just being a thief and stealing things. It's all about the criminal element, if you really want to be all up in D.L.'s mind right now. Well that and how crazy the people are up in this place, running in (dropping off food) and running back out. It's really frickin' weird. "I should probably let you get back to work, anyway." Aw.

"I'm not…" Peter tries to say towards Cass' back after she gives her employee instructions to make sure he eats. He has to shake his head a bit, before he looks towards Aly with an apologetic smile. Has he totally not noticed that she's avoiding him? Apparently so. "I'll eat a little so she doesn't get on your case," he says with a hint of that smile. Totally oblivious. Or maybe he's just distracted by the puppy who obviously wants out of his arms right now. Food? Some of that's for her, right? She certainly seems to think so… Shifting her into one arm, he reaches into his pocket and picks out a wrapped dog treat be bought the other day and tries to unwrap it one handed. Not the easiest task.

Wow, when Cass has to leave, Cass has to /leave/. Frowning softly — she had /news/! — Alyssa steps quickly away from the door to give her boss ample space to dash out and then the employee heads further in, listening, for real now, to the others talk. "Alyssa can take over, oh, whenever," she gives in hopeful assurance, winding closer and closer to food. Food is good. We like food. White fluffy things like food, too. With a defeated rise and then fall of her shoulders, Alyssa guilts herself into glancing at Peter with the reasoning that she was quite ordered to keep an eye on him. Ohh maaan, it's a puppy. "That is… you're holding a puppy, Peter Petrelli." Dastardly! "Lemme help you with that," she means the doggie treat, which she will gladly relieve him of. "I suppose keeping the puppy fed falls under making sure you're taking advantage of food. Or close enough."

Niki knows D.L. is not exactly a social butterfly, but she still looks up at him wistfully. She does not, however, bat her lashes and pout or any such thing. "You're not in the way. I like it when you drop by," she insists, following up with a squeeze of his forearm, which either means 'stay' or 'you're dismissed'. Vague. "Lachlan might have left a leash around here somewhere," she says to Peter and his fluffy burden, heading behind the counter to rummage around. "Thanks Alyssa," she adds with a quiet laugh before finding a leash that is way, way too big for the puppy, but she offers it to Peter anyway.

"I'll see you at home." D.L. is not exactly cool with this working at EB thing in the first place. So he's definitely not going to want to hang around when people have entered and stopped what could've turned into something of a hot makeout session into a random meeting of Friends in Central Perk. But he's not bitter. Not at all. Nope. He leans over to plant a quick kiss on Niki's cheek (TERRITORY MARKED, PETRELLI) and he starts to make his way towards the exit. Time to blow this popsicle stand.

"Yeah, I'm holding a puppy," Peter repeats the young woman's words, the hint of a joking smirk quirking in the corner of his mouth. Obviously he's holding a puppy! "Thank you," he lets her take the doggie biscuit as he glances towards Niki's remark and doesn't think to stop her until she's already holding out the leash, "Oh, I have a leash, it's just… Snowy doesn't really know that chewing on books isn't a good thing, yet." Reaching into his pocket again, he pulls out a smaller, amply sized leash to show, "Thank you, though. I can at least put her down while she eats." Doggie buscuit should be more appealing than books. He /hopes/. He hooks the leash on the collar, and puts her down, glancing up to see D.L. marking his territory. Or just kissing his wife. "Good bye, Mr— D.L." What is his last name? He's trying to be respectful, but has to default to the name he was given.

Alyssa is happy to be occupied with the business of opening the treat and she hovers there a moment before Peter places the dog on the ground. She already gave a sharp snort at the reveal of the name 'Snowy', so when she crouches down to be on the puppy's level, she mutters, "That is an unfortunate crisis of identity," as she puts the treat on the flat of her palm and offers it thusly forward. D.L.'s exit gets her to glance along her shoulder at him. There's a name given thanks to Peter's goodbye, but chances are she's not going to remember the right two letters next time - if there's a next time. Feeling out how comfortable the puppy is with her, she goes for a safe pat on the head, at least. A scratch on the ear if Snowy (ugh) is obliging.

Kissing D.L. back on the cheek in turn, Niki watches him go with a vaguely troubled look, blue eyes faintly narrowed. She tucks the leash out of sight, cluing back into the current time. "It's a pretty dog-friendly store," thanks to Cass's boy, "Just keep him… her?… away from the low shelves." Swiping the lunch that D.L. dropped by with from the counter, plus a drink from Cass's random assortment, she sneaks away from the counter. "I'm just gonna be back here for a bit, Alyssa!" And so the other employee goes, presumably on break for lunch.

Poor Snowy. Peter notices the snort, and the mutter. The puppy doesn't seem to care either way, accepting both the chew treat and the scratching on her ear, tail wagging happily. "Her," the owner of said puppy says towards Niki, nodding as she starts to dismiss herself. "I'll do my best. I'd hate for Cass to ban me from her store." He practically destroyed a shelf that one time. Completely by accident. "See you later," he nods towards the blonde woman, leaving Alyssa to watch Snowy for a few moments as he steps over and rifles through the sandwiches, picking out one for himself. Seems he's a peanut butter man, oddly enough. "So how have things been with you, Alyssa?"

"Oh, this store's survived quite a bit now," It's really not possible to try and elegantly ignore Peter at this point and, well, she never wanted to all that much… it just seemed like one of those solutions. Staring at the unfortunately named puppy in front of her, Alyssa gives a shrug of her shoulders, "Normal, normal. Cass took me out drinking, I failed at that. Oliver took me bowling, I kinda failed at that, too." Pressing her lips thoughtfully, she shifts in her crouch, starting to half-stand and then reconsidering with the dog nearby, "That reminds me, I…" A pause, a reconsider. She moves the hand away from Snowy to push back her own hair in distraction, "Well, you've talked to the boss lately?" She didn't see them come in together, but there's been suggestions that it'll happen. With a glance to where Niki's disappeared to, Alyssa keeps her voice a little quieter, "How things are going with the, uh… the company and the, uh, /company/."

The puppy is content with chewing on biscuit, but there will be a small bit of crumbs to sweep up afterwards. She even lays down. "Not everyone's good at bowling," Peter admits with a small smile, though he frowns at what the young woman says next. Just as she did, he glances in the direction of the back room, and keeps his voice relatively low. "You were told about…?" He's surprised, but at the same time… "Yeah, I've been talking to Cass— and— the things with the… with them… haven't been ironed out yet. It's— in progress." Eyes lower from her face, sliding towards the sandwich, which he finally takes a bite out of.

"Well, I /do/ work here," Alyssa sneaks in at his question with a small huff, as if to be an employee at Enlightenment meant access to the VIP room of people's abilities. When he says it's in progress, she lowers her gaze and begins to rub Snowy's belly, biting her lip in even greater attempt to just leave it at that. She wants to leave it at that. She really, really should. So why is it that she's, instead, tilting her head and stating, "Yeah, I got to hear, like, five weeks too late sharing information with certain blondes wasn't the best thing for my well-being. I liked that one especially." The words out of her mouth and she's already noticeably wincing with a combined shoulder sag of disappointment, "Whiiiich isn't your fault. I'm just having a hard time keeping track of… everything. We need to get us some permanent markers and start writing 'Villain' or 'Spy' or 'Agent' on people's foreheads." Good thing Snowy doesn't care that she fails at conversation. Snowy will just let her stare at her fluffy belly and rub and rub, right? /Snowy will be her friend/.

Niki remains quite unaware as to what the others are talking about out in the bookstore - their low voices fly undetected through the noise of the low radio and the closed door. There's another reason she's not listening, however, and that would be because she's slightly wrapped up in a conversation of her own: she speaks in hushed tones from the back room, although her voice raises above the radio every now and then. Maybe she's on the phone.

"I'm not just gonna let it happen. What are you talking about? … then TELL me! … I know you were at the Company. I thought we were leaving them behind us. I'm done, I don't want anything to do with— what? No. You're insane. That's no sacrifice I wanna be a part of."

"Sorry about that," Peter says softly, glancing down towards the puppy with a hint of guilt in his eyes. Even if she just said it wasn't his fault. Maybe he didn't hear that part in his bout of guilt! "I didn't think you'd need to worry about that. I'd hoped…" he shakes his head. How can he even explain what he hoped? He's not sure he can. The puppy at his feet chewchews the remainder of the treat, and then rolls over to allow such rubbing. Yes, Snowy will be Alyssa's friend. "I'm trying to make sure you won't have to deal with anything from that. Elle… she's not— a villian, exactly. She just has… certain obligations." And they're to her father.

"I know, I know… no I don't. I just don't need to go into this, I have a feeling I wouldn't understand," Plus, in her current state, the last thing that Alyssa wants to do is talk about Peter's girlfriend. This is stupid. She just went out with a perfectly fine guy a couple days ago. What was her problem? In the search to find something else to talk about, Alyssa drifts into listening to the buzz of the radio from the back room but one of the voices doesn't seem to be tinny or talking about the latest craze. Maybe it /is/ the latest craze, because she's kinda thinking she heard something 'Company'-esque. Immediate dread fills her face and all the way to the bottoms of her toes and she jerks into a stand, leaving Snowy high and dry. "Probably shouldn't talk about it anyway. Me and my big mouth…" She eyes Peter and then the door where Niki is. If she's becoming paranoid, she would like him to tell her that now.

"I'd hoped to keep you out of these things," Peter admits softly, not hearing anything going on in the other room, with all of his attention on the young woman with him. "It is probably best not to talk about them, but— no one's in the store right now, so it should be okay. I don't think my puppy will be saying anything to anyone." The blonde woman might just be in the next room, but he doesn't seem to think she would be involved either. And he didn't hear a thing. "Cass has been helping me out, though. I think you should stick with her and… be careful about the Company." He may not have quite the same loudmouth problems as she does, but he did just mention them again, too. Surely no one would overhear! His voice is soft, though not quite a whisper.


Meanwhile, in the back room…

Niki is standing in front of the sink, clutching its edge, exactly where she was when D.L. came to visit earlier, when the store was empty. She really did go on her lunch break; really, she did. But she didn't get far into the actual 'lunch' part of 'lunch break' - the 'break' part won, it would seem. Spiraling out from the center, shards of glass from the mirror above the sink fall into the metal basin below.

Well… if Peter's gonna keep saying it. "I am trying to be careful," Alyssa assures, still watching the door, "but I'm not gonna stay out anymore, with everyone I know seeming like they're in it even deeper. That'd be lame of me to an extreme. And even lamer of them to be all 'oh noes everyone else can do it but not /you/, Aly'. Which reminds me…" She takes in a deep, courageous breath for what she wasn't able to communicate earlier when she tried— holy! A loud noise from the room she's been staring at once again stops Alyssa's plans. Flashing a look to Peter, she hurries forward and around the counter, putting a hand on the back door and giving it a push, "……." She… she can't remember her name. "….. ….. hey in there?"

Paying attention to what she's saying, Peter gives a few nods, and then listens, even opening his mouth as if to already respond to what she's said… right up until the crash occures in the back. That makes him jump, and makes the little dog on the leash skitter around in confusion. What was that? She doesn't really bark so much as breathe loudly. "What?" he asks outloud, though she knows the same thing he does. Putting down his sandwich, he bends down and picks up Snowy and moves over to the back door, not daring to go inside. Employee only, and he doesn't work there. "Niki? Mrs. Sanders? Are you okay?" He remembers her name, at least!

In the process of storming away from the sink and the broken mirror when Alyssa pushes the door open, Niki spins around sharply with an unintentional toss of blonde hair over one shoulder. She is, very briefly, like a deer in the headlights, but she's quickly flashing an apologetic smile. "I just broke something, I'm fine," she confesses, smiling disarmingly to, hopefully, put the minds of her coworker and Peter at ease. No one's hurt. No big deal. "I was clumsy." Clumsy like a punch to someone's face, practically her own, but never mind. "I'll get it!"

But Niki's clumsiness is more like a lifeline for a woman who doesn't want to go back to being totally stupid around Peter Petrelli. "I can totally help you," she offers, nudging the door open a little further and giving Peter a quick, reassuring smile. "Nobody's really out there anyway," Alyssa offers back to Niki. Ha, Niki. Now she knows, thanks to someone else saying it first. Niki. Niki. Niki niki niki niki. She's gonna remember it this time.

"I can keep an eye on the door until you two clean up, if you need," Peter adds, trying to be helpful. May not work here, but he knows so many of the people who do… and rather likes the company of the boss for that matter. He doesn't try to force his way into the back room and moves back towards the counter, putting the puppy down once again, but holding the leash close so she doesn't wander and chew on any books. With his free hand, he retrieves his sandwich, and turns his eyes back towards the door to watch for customers, while he takes another token bite.

"It's nothing," Niki assures the others, just smiling as she goes to pluck the shards of reflective glass from the sink. She glances up and away from the task frequently, making it a little more difficult, so she doesn't decline Alyssa's help. She just says "thanks," quietly under her breath to both of them. Between she and Alyssa, they should make short work of her anger-induced mess. She swipes at some of the tinier shards with a cleaning rag. "So how do you know Peter, too?" Distraction.

"This is totally retarded. I say that if I don't want to research Satan, I don't have to research Satan. The point of the GM is to be a lame ass and do all the work. It's why I don't do it, you know what I mean, Artoo?"


"Darn right. If I want to play a medieval Constantine, I should be allowed to play one without having to look up fricking lamer demon stuff. This is why I don't do online RPGs, Artoo. Just too many jerks that try and make you do dumb stuff just to let you play."

For those with good hearing, they would hear the banter between a man and his Astrodroid before Gene gets to the door. R2-D2 is right beside him, a bookbag strapped to his legs as he appears ready and willing to help his tragically unlucky master. As Gene moves through the door, he pauses and his nose twitches as he takes in the air of the place. "Smells like Gandolf in here…" Gene whispers to his robotic bud.

Moving into the room with her fellow employee, Alyssa watches the other woman's face, wondering a little bit at events and behaviors. She gets the distinctive feeling that there's more going on, but she doesn't know enough about Niki to really get a handle on it. "Hmmm," she begins to answer, crouching down and picking away at any shards she can find, "Uhh. When's the first time? I guess he came in here first, trying to buy a book. So, that's pretty generic." She grins, a little nervous and a little relieved. A soft hum takes over the otherwise silence coming from her until the sound of the /outer/ door opening turns her head. Wow, it's like every time she wants to pay attention elsewhere… and was something /beeping/? "Peter!" she calls out there teasingly, since it's easier when she can't see him, "Go be friendly and sell something!"

There Peter is, watching the door, and that may be the only reason he even notices Gene and R2D2 moving inside. The sight of the squat little robot makes him blink. Alyssa's words cause him to glance back, "What? Oh, right…" With that said, he puts down the sandwich and bends down to pick up his puppy again, just in case she decides to try and bark at or attack R2. "Hi, welcome to Enlightenment Books. Do you need help with anything?" He can help someone buy something, though his knowledge of the shelves would be very much limited. There's a small pause, before he glances down towards R2 with the bookbag and adds with a humored smirk, "Either of you?"

Niki just nods along with casual interest over the Peter-related smalltalk - then, during her efforts to brush her hands off into a trashcan, her movements slip into slow-motion, eventually stopping altogether as she eyes the door from the back room into the main store. It's that weird /beeping/ sound. What /is/ that? It's familiar— and when she hears Gene's voice, it clicks right away. "I know who that is…" She walks slowly away from Alyssa to spy on the young man and his… friend. Cleaning cloth still in hand, the blonde appears in the doorway, staring at Gene. Vigilantly.

"Two of us? Oh, Artoo is fine, we are just looking for books…" Gene looks around with a nervous glance for anyone with a WWJD shirt on or something. "…On Satan." Rubbing the back of his head, the normally astute young inventor doesn't notice the careful gaze of Niki upon him. Who knows, maybe it's a good thing. He doesn't know Pete's special gift or even that Pete is someone he would be honored to know. He's just a smart guy with a robot at the moment. Or so he thinks. Whatever the older teen is about to say, he pauses when he look to Snowy. It's a long and meaningful look as Gene gets a flashback into his past involving bullies and dogs. It's likely tragic and sad, but most flashbacks involving bullies are. Shaking his head free, Gene gives a small smile to Peter. "Um, nice dog?"

The good news is… Peter's both too short and skinny, and too friendly looking to be a bully. And the white fuzz ball that looks around with curious blue-gray eyes and excited breathing sounds certainly wouldn't be the kind of dog any man who worried about the perceptions of others would carry. "Thanks. Nice… droid?" That's what they were called, right? Droids? As he glances down at R2, he just knows, somehow, that there isn't a midget in there… "Oh, um— books on Satan… I'm afraid I don't know exactly where those books are, but…" he casts a glance around, looking towards two areas he knows. Mythological creatures and meditation and yoga… Not those areas… Moving around idly, he looks at a couple of the shelves until he catches a cover that gives off a religious vibe, "I think you might be able to find something over there?"

Niki only stays in the doorway so long before she steps out into the store. "A little to the left," she interjects to help out the stand-in employee, flashing a Customer Service smile that's a little guarded around the edges - much like the slightly wary look she gives Gene. "Does that thing follow you everywhere?" she asks of the robot-thing. It's a friendly enough, curious question in and of itself, the way she brings it up - but there's something less than casual about the way the woman continues to watch Gene, a hint of suspicion, a hint of concern.

Gene hrms to himself as he notices that Peter isn't exactly the most helpful of clerks. "Droid is the right name, but you can call him a robot, toy, whatever. I made him as a hobby and he's one of my favorite people around." Not exactly the coolest thing to say, but Gene figures he doesn't have anyone to impress at the moment. At the mention of the books, Gene chuckles. "I see… New to the job?" he offers with a small smile. It's somewhat insecure, but it seems sincere despite the nervousness. "I'm just doing some research because I have a friend who-" The geek stops what he was going on about to notice Niki there. Hun, the attractive mother who was relating to Gene earlier. And here he thought he'd never run into her again. Guess he can get to know her and maybe help that nice son of hers. Sadly, her beauty seems to blind Gene's judgment because he still is unknowing of the wary nature of the mother.

"Artoo? He follows me a bit. He's a helpful guy. Carries my stuff, plays music and video, serves cold drinks, the works. Why you don't like him?" the young inventor asks with some confusion. Never before has he met an R2-D2 hater. Because well, everyone loves R2. Likely triggered by Gene saying his name, the droid gives a few of its famed sound effects.

"I don't actually work here, I just…" Peter tries to explain, though he glances around for a moment. "I know a lot of people who do. I was just eating lunch and— offered to help out a little while…" They clean up a mess in the back room? He's not sure how else to explain that, before he glances towards the 'attractive mother' who reenters and offers a mild correction on his advice. "Niki works here, though," he says, wondering if the two know each other. Seems everybody in this town who comes into this store knows somebody. "I think he's pretty cool," he adds in passing, speaking on Artoo, before moving back towards the counter, and his abandoned sandwich, which he actually grabs a napkin to wrap it up.

"He's impressive, just… I'm not as into robots and technology as my son." Niki moves along the bookcase until she's at its end, looking down along the row of shelves Gene's interest in books lies. "What kinda stuff?" An interesting question to pick out of /everything/ Gene said about his toy, but there it is. She's onto you, mister. The blonde glances in Peter's direction, her gaze lingering on his eyes for a moment, transmitting a flash of concern.

Something isn't right here. Gene feels it. Why would a woman ask about R2-D2 right after saying she wasn't as interested as her son was? Mere chit chat doesn't cut it as an excuse, but Gene has no idea why Niki would ask on it. Maybe she's asking for Micah or something. He doesn't know.

"He has a pretty powerful harddrive, so he can carry a lot of computer and music files, a few nick knacks… you know, stuff," Gene offers with a shrug. Niki might be trying to get him to admit to more, but he won't do it. He doesn't want to lie either, so he goes for the omission and vague replies. Usually, it's enough for most people to leave him alone. The book stuff is dropped for the moment as is Peter, the drone just looking about a couple of times before going into Power Save mode.

Wrapping his sandwich up in a napkin, Peter takes another bite, and then carries it along with him as he starts back towards the two, paying particular attention to the blonde woman, because he knows her better, "I'm going to head home. Tell Alyssa bye for me, will you?" He looks towards R2 and the young man with the droid and nods as well. "Good luck finding your book." He's going to have to send a text message to Elena now, and let her know that he ran into the robot she mentioned in one of her many 'let's cheer Peter up' stories.

Knick knacks. Uh huh. Niki looks at Gene doubtfully, but she leaves it alone - sort of. He seems harmless so far, in spite of what she knows about his toy thanks to Micah. "Bye, Peter. I will!" she tells the man with a sincere smile. On the way to being left alone with Gene, she changes the subject. "Did you find what you were looking for over here?" she asks helpfully, her sincere smile lingering a bit more this time.

"Goodbye!" Gene offers toward Peter. He seemed like a nice enough guy. As he turns back toward Niki, the paranoia kicks into turbo. Maybe she's asking because she thinks he's a creep. That's why she didn't trust him. She thinks he's keeping uncool things like drugs in R2-D2 and that he wanted to sell them to Micah, hooking the young genius to heroin in order to have a customer for the rest of his life. Gene starts to breath a little heavier. She's gunna call the police on him, they are gunna take R2 away and find out his secrets!

The young man takes out his inhaler, taking out a few puffs to try and ease his lungs. "Just looking for a book on Satan for some research for roleplaying stuff… You know, demons and how to fight them." He tries to give a warm smile back, trying to put away the thoughts he knows are stupid. No one is out to get him. Few people even know how smart he really is, so why worry about it?

"Exorcisms or corporeal demon sword fighting?" pipes up Alyssa's voice from the doorway of the back room. She's nursing one finger with a new bandaid on it so there's chances that her long distraction back there was owing to some sloppy cleaning attempts. It isn't until she moves back around the counter and into the main room that she happens to notice the maker of those beeping noises. For a second, she just stands in front of the replica R2 unit with her eyebrows raising and then, "Holy /crap/. That's freakin' R2-D2. I think that beats out a whole bucket of kittens on awesome and cute." She puts out a hand at first as if to touch the droid but then retracts it carefully when he brain tells her that isn't the polite thing to do. Obviously such brain functions were not firing back when she petted strange dogs, but this is /R2/. That's intense. You don't want to break something like that. Dogs just bite.

It doesn't really help Gene's Nice Guy case that he's looking for books on Satan. "Hey, are you okay…?" Yet Niki seems genuinely concerned nonetheless when he starts to have breathing issues. "… I think there's a few books like that," she says, slipping around the power-saving toy to find said books: titles like 'Battling Unholy Legions' and 'The Mysticism of Satan' abound amidst the demonology section. The slightly look she gives them? Suggests that she's not exactly into the subjects, so she's grateful when Alyssa appears. "Peter had to go. He wanted to tell you bye," she passes on to Alyssa, smiling as she does so.

"It's fine, Niki… Just had this issue since I was a kid. Nothing big about it," Gene replies with a weak smile as he puts the inhaler away. Moving toward her, Gene looks over the books. R2 gives a calm "Bip bip" if brushed against, having touch sensors among its many features. If not, it remains rather motionless.

The geek glances over the books for awhile, frowning to himself. "Mysticism of Satan? That sounds like hardcore stuff You know, screw this, I'm just getting some D&D books and that's it. The GM can kiss my behind; my mom would turn in her grave if she saw me with that stuff." Gene pauses as he hears someone coming up and sees Alyssa. He freezes for a moment in time as he takes her in. Man, the staff either has nice people or cute people. No wonder everyone comes to this place for books. He doesn't even read hardback books and he wants to come here more often now. Moving a hand to brush his hair back, he says eagerly, "You can touch him if you want, Artoo is one of the safest people to be around, trust me." Of course, he doesn't know what Niki knows about R2, so he has no idea that this might be the WRONG thing to say.

Peter had to go. Alyssa gives a sort of half-appreciative nod for the news, feeling that rush of relief and disappointment combined. Attempting to shake it, she puts her concentration on the customer, since it's supposed to be about her shift anyway. "Ha, nice," The writer replies when she's given permission, reaching out once again and putting three fingertips against the droid's dome, "Did you make this yourself? He's some kind of incredible." Giving a small shake of her head, she looks up from the droid to the creator, tilting her head curiously, "What's the whole trouble with Satan, now? There's a couple other pieces in the back more on, like, the ass-kicking point of view. That might help a bit more. Unless you're totally decided on the D&D thing, which I don't discourage because they're good resources, but I sometimes like to look beyond that realm cause it can get a little stuffy in its own right."

More than willing to let Alyssa field the bizarre topic of conversation, because she certainly seems to know what she's talking about /way/ more than she could ever fathom, Niki extracts herself. She slips out of the aisle - brushing past R2D2 on the way and prompting the beep, which garners a surprised glance over her shoulder. "He's not so safe," she says quietly - under her breath, slows ever-so-slightly as she passes Gene - on her way.

"I did. I made him from parts and everything. The designs, plans, and construction, it's all my making." Gene seems proud of his work, while R2-D2 gives a content set of chirps and blips in response to the human contact. Smiling weakly toward the (more) helpful woman, the young man explains, "I was planning on doing a R.P.G. with some friends and I wanted to play some demon hunter. But the GM said that I needed to research it, so I'm here. Now that I am though Not too sure I want to, that's all. I mean if you think you can find some easy to read stuff that doesn't seem like it's creepy and scary I'd be more willing to-" Gene stops himself as he barely hears what Niki states. Suddenly, Gene seems to grow a backbone as someone is dissing his friend.

"He is TOO," he states firmly. It's not in a manner that's angry, merely pointing out what he believe to be fact. Of course, this seems to be something that Niki is bound to disagree.

Alyssa draws her eyebrows down thoughtfully, her weight shifting so she can put her hand on her chin to complete the real thinking man's pose, "Research? Just how serious is he trying to…" She trails off around the same time Gene does, having already been talking over him, and glances back at her fellow employee. "Why… why would he be dangerous? I mean, beyond the whole thing about how robots will one day learn greater intelligence and try to gain their own independence, forcing us to send some of them back to guard… whatever that kid's name is who grows up to be Nick Stahl." A small appreciative pause, "Connor, anyway, is the character, so that's all that matters. I think that you could play an important part in all this, being able to know robot's designs and stuff." She cocks a finger at the customer, glances curiously once more for Niki, and then moves past everyone in order to find the shelf of books she had been referencing.

"Maybe to you," Niki adds as she keeps on walking away; this, too, is under her breath. As if changing her mind on something halfway through, she stops — and waits out Alyssa's diatribe before turning around. The look she offers Gene is almost an apologetic one, strangely enough. "Look, I know what that thing has inside it. And - whatever, I'm sure it's self-defense or something, but I don't want it around my kid."

"My droids don't have advanced AI for that reason. I don't know enough about the stuff to feel comfortable with it trying to advance it as much as possible." Mostly because if Gene did no telling WHAT could happen. Though it isn't a fear of Judgement Day that gets him as much as the fear of conspiracy, which gets feed by Niki knowing things she shouldn't.

"How did you know about Artoo? I haven't told a soul about him. You must be lying or…" There is a pause. He learned that some people have powers. He doesn't know who has them and who doesn't, but perhaps Niki has some powers too. "Wait a second," Gene offers as he looks toward R2-D2. "Artoo? Mental guard equipment."

"Bweeep bip." With that, a compartment opens in the droid to reveal… Tin fold. Gene takes the substance of legend and begins to wrap it around his head. "There we go. Now, how did you know?" There is a REASON why Eric and Jaden have decided an intervention of cosmic proportions is needed to get Gene a girl.

"Good, good," comes the call from Alyssa from where she is, standing on tip-toe and picking through the shelves for anything that seems on the right track. She wouldn't be earning her pay if she didn't, ya know, do stuff. Employee stuff. She's sort of hearing the conversation but more humming and reading through titles so that when she puts the two best selections in her hands and strolls back to her spot…….. well. The customer appears to be.. uh, wrapping some tinfoil around himself. Yup. … Well, it /is/ that kind of bookstore. So, very carefully, Alyssa moves to stand across from the man, with R2 between them and the books held very casually against her hip. No need to alarm anyone. She just lifts her now free hand to gesture at the make-shift helmet and announces, "You know that stuff doesn't work. Right?"

"…" This is the time Niki is going to leave for /real/. She's not about to tell Gene how she knew his toy's secrets, and she's not about to have a conversation with a guy wearing a tinfoil hat, either, no matter how befitting it is of the store, because… she's… at a loss for words! She stares at Gene, gaping a bit, and ultimately just shakes her head in lieu of an explanation, strolling away to do some of that employee stuff Alyssa was doing.

The tin foil hat is scientifically proven. Or at least Gene read stuff on the Internet about it and considering how little research there is on TRUE ESP, he had to take it for what it was worth. Removing the hat in frustration, he casts the hat aside. If he were an evil jerk or aggressive, he'd threaten that no one leave the room until he got answers. After all, if Niki is part of some organization like the Illuminati or the FBI, he could be in serious danger with what she now knew about him. But he doesn't feel right with threatening a mom or Alyssa who seems to be a nice helpful girl. This leaves him with the only weapon left to the weaker or kinder: Venting and guilt.

He wants to yell at Niki. That the one time he trusted and opened up so he could help a kid like himself that he gets distrust instead of people complimenting him and even flirting with him. If he wasn't a pot filled with mixed emotions, he'd laugh at the irony. With his fists clenched to his sides, he doesn't say a word to Niki, just watching her go with tears at the corners of her eyes. His throat chokes out any words that he wants to say, forced to think them in a yell that might make telepaths shutter. Thankfully, Pete's off enjoying his meal.

Not really aware of some of this exchange, Alyssa quickly falls under the impression that her, delicate though it was, popping of his tinfoil bubble has led to this new upset behavior. Shoving the books off her hip, the employee stuffs them onto the nearest shelf haphazardly and skirts around the beeping R2 to where the customer is standing. "Hey, hey, hey," she says, pausing hesitantly but then dipping down to retrieve the abandoned hat. (She /knows how it feels/, Cass) Tinfoil seems, by nature, to be crumpled so she doesn't so much try to flatten it out as just sort of awkwardly play with the material while looking Gene in the face, "I'm pretty sure that a guy who /built his own R2 unit/ isn't allowed to ever be upset about anything ever again. That is pretty much more than anyone's gonna accomplish ever. Probably anyone who tries to read your mind and get the secret of droid building will mess it up along the way, being naturally not as clever as you, and then they'll go evil and unleash said metallic apocalypse on the world. And who will we turn to? You. Duh. You, uh…. whoever you are." A not so graceful end to what could've been such a, uh, promising speech. Crap, she's no good at this. Where's /Cass/?

That has to be one of the worst inspiring speeches Gene has never heard in his life. Perhaps it's the fact that Gene's oratory skills are only slightly better than dancing skills that he finds solace in the odd little speech. Wiping away the water from his eyes, Gene shuts off the water works as he gives an honest smile to the woman. "Sorry about that… Didn't mean to make a butt of myself in here," the young man replies to Alyssa. "Despite what Niki said, Artoo is a protector and is one of the safest robots around. He'll be a hero one day" He looks down toward his friend who looks up and beeps. "We both will." As long as R2 is around, people with knives don't stand a chance. "So, um, if you see your co-worker again, I guess tell her I'm sorry I got mad, but ask her not to talk about R2-D2 too much. He's special and I don't want him or myself getting hurt because I have him around."

She tried. Really, she did. Shifting in her spot, Alyssa chews on her lip and then gives a sigh through the open space there, making a loud 'huff' of defeat. "Yeah, well, sorry I suck at the rousing whatevers. It all sounds better when I'm in front of a computer trying but I'm not with the word making on a normal basis it seems." Her face composes to something more serious when he speaks of being heroes and she glances to the droid with the lightest tug of her lips, "Of course you will. He's freakin' R2-D2." It's said softer than before, but with no less awe. Come on. The guy's built a robot; it doesn't get much cooler than that. To this writer, Gene has all the good first impression points he could want with a girl. Though the crying is more endearing than manly at this point, "I'll be sure to talk to her, yeah. But if there really is a concern, I mean, didn't she say something about her son? That's some rough material to compete against. Even for a droid."

Gene is not hardcore when it comes to his own well-being. If he was more assertive and aggressive, he'd likely have a girl and perhaps be owning his own company instead of being content building at Lancaster. With his eyes to the ground, Gene speaks. "If she has a problem with my droid, then she should talk with me about it. She talks about not trusting people and then runs off without explaining herself? Hello, pot calling the kettle black?" Gene leans against a bookcase, though he is gracefully enough not to disturb any books. "Either way… Thanks for trying to help out. Means a lot," Gene offers as he looks up from floor to have his eyes meet Alyssa's.

Books about Satan are totally forgotten about now. Buddy Jesus may or may not be giving larger thumbs up than usual.

Alyssa weighs the two options carefully enough. Her arms come to cross over her chest just to show how seriously she's taking this situation instead of just launching into the rambling again. Her eyebrows knit with her concentration, "Yeah, maybe. But just because you talk about trusting people doesn't mean you do. Bringing it up is probably more about the paranoia of it than anything else. It's never gonna work out quite right where everyone just stands there and politely explains how every situation makes them feel. Plus, uh, she got her lunch break interrupted. /I'd/ be cranky." The last she tacks on with a little bit of humor creeping in, testing how the guy might react to a lightening of the conversation. Alyssa can't be like this for long, she loses focus. Oh, see, like this. Her expression lightens considerably as she remembers the sandwiches just, well, sitting there. "Oh! Cass brought and—" Moving to the counter, she snags herself a bag of chips and then gestures towards the shelf she'd been standing by, "I brought some of that stuff over, by the way, the reference guides. There's one by some guy obviously high on something, but the other sneakily got in here. Maybe someone left it. Anyway, it's a comic book encyclopedia for some demon-killing character. I scanned over it once. Might have some of the same applications as roleplaying if you're doing the right world." Ohh, Jesus' moment was not long.

Gene isn't really interested in the book right now. However, the girl is nice and he really wants to support the girls… Err, the store. The store. Gene wants to support the STORE. Because Gene would never support girls unless they wanted him to support them. Which they usually don't. "I'll buy the book. I need to get going after that, but maybe I'll come here again sometime and check out the rest of the place, see the recommended list and all that."

"Cool," is Alyssa's evaluation as she attempts to stuff the chips in her pocket, fails, and then tosses them back onto the counter in order to go back to the shelf for Gene's selected book. She wouldn't want to get chip grease all over this thing, after all. Tipping the book towards its back, she makes a 'hmm' of thought, "Siiiince it wasn't on our original list, so it's a bit prematurely beat up and all that, we're just gonna… take a notch off this price, why don't we." When she sets the document down near the register to ring it up, she pauses once to look him in the eye again and smile with an ultimately sincere, "I'd like to see you here again."

Gene smiles as he pulls out the money, just paying in how many twenties are needed. He seems to have quite a few of them, but when you live along, have a well paying job, and don't get out much, it's easy to save. "I'll do my best. I might just leave the droid at home… If you want to see him again, let me know and I'll bring him somewhere that doesn't disturb Miss Missed Lunch Break," the geek offers with a grin. "I'll talk to ya later though, okay?" That said, he takes the book after he gets the change. "Don't worry, don't need a bag for it. Artoo, get over here!" With his command, R2 gives a few beeps before coming over. With the droid near, Gene puts the stuff in the bookbag.

"We shall set up a most convenient meeting place of awesome and droid-friendliness," the employee assures him happily while doing her cashier duties. Alyssa then hands over his materials and watches him go. And damn if it isn't the cutest thing to her 'artoo, get over here!' like the most robotic dome looking puppy dog. Oh, Peter Petrelli had a puppy dog… Damn it! Caught somewhere between a frown and a smile, Alyssa forgets several important things- such as asking this dude what his name is, getting a contact number, and seeing if Niki's around and overheard any or all of that. No, instead she's wondering about chips and if the leaving customer would find it as amusing as she would if she put up a sign at the door reading 'We Don't Serve Your Kind Here'.

The young inventor nods. "Right. If you want to meet me again, check out the Starbuck at this address." Gene writes down the address of the Starbucks that Elena helps run. Considering that's where he met a lot of his first friends in New York, he goes there a lot. "It's where I go to get a bit of coffee. I usually go around noon every weekday. It's a ritual if you will," Gene offers with a small grin. "Well, either way, I'll see you around…" He moves toward the door, making his way out. R2-D2 follows him out.

A couple seconds pass.

Gene pokes his head back in. "Oh, I'm Gene… What's your name?" he calls out.

Oh, hey, cool, the guy's got it covered. Alyssa just delivers a bunch of acknowledging nods and maybe one 'Roger, roger' to the information. She doesn't immediately recognize the Starbucks' address, but then again she probably has never known it's actual number before. With another head-tilt of appreciation for the way R2 follows him out, Alyssa then begins to address her other employee duties. The store seems to have magically cleared out right when… oh! Names! Right. People have names. "Hey, Gene," she grins for his last-minute head-popping-inness, "I'm Alyssa!"

Gene nods. "Cool. Good to meet you, Alyssa. Talk to you later!" And with that, he takes his head back out and he's gone.

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