2007-07-23: Stars And Stripes Forever


Jane_icon.gif Cass_icon.gif Rudyard_icon.gif Lachlan_icon.gif Felix_icon.gif Portia_icon.gif


An attempt at serious discussion is interrupted by Brits and Scots and customers.

July 23rd, 2007:

Stars and Stripes Forever

Enlightenment Books

Coming up on 4:30, the door swings open as it doubtless has many other times this day, but on none of those occasions was it opened by Jane Forrest, musical lawyer who the New York Times claims explosively broke up with Jaden Cain recently. She's not seen Cass since the hospital stay. On entry she closes the door behind her and spends a moment looking out the front window remembering before heading further in to seek out the bookstore owner.

Things have slowed down slightly since lunchtime. The sky is still overcast, but the threatened rain has yet to fall. With only a few more people left in the store off in their own world (perhaps it's the fifteenth planet of Goobledegook), Cass is left to finally enjoy some food and a sudoku puzzle. A bit of quiet that she's definitely enjoying.

The solitude of sudoku is potentially disturbed by the brunette who sets down backpack, guitar case, saxophone case, and finally the umbrella she carries just in case near the counter. Nothing is said yet, Jane opts to let her friend continue working the puzzle for the moment and drifts toward a nearby shelf to browse. While doing so her thoughts turn toward the things which brought her here and possible methods to assist in those goals.

It doesn't take Cass very long to figure out that Jane is approaching the counter. Even in her most thoughtful and wrapped up, the opening of the door is enough to jar her out of it. It's instinctual and by now a Pavlovian response. Seeing her set down an entire bands worth of cases, the storeowner raises an eyebrow and then smiles at the other woman. "A one woman band now? That can't be very good for your back." A hello, as it were.

A broad smile breaks out as she's greeted, and a reply is given. "Not quite the whole band. I just decided to branch out some and teach myself some new things. I'd have left the guitar at home, but I kinda feel naked without it. If I could marry Fender Strat, I would." The last words there are spoken with a slightly saddened tone. Jane's guitar is faithful. She won't find it in bed with blonde twins.

A shake of her head chases those thoughts away as she states "It's good to see you again, up and moving around, Cass."

"However, I think a Fender Strat would be slightly less fun on a cold night." Cass is happily oblivious to any sort of hiccup or break up. She hates gossip columns and never reads them unless they're forced upon her. "But I'm all for learning new things." That's the fun part. "Thanks. It's good to be moving around." Even though it's been a month since her run in with the shooter, once in awhile she's reminds herself just how happy she is to be moving.

Her eyes move away from Cass to travel the store and spot the few remaining customers, then return to the owner. "I've been busy," Jane relates, "with music and other things. I've come across some interesting people and found a practice spot for some unusual hobbies." A pointed look she takes on suggests this is code she believes the proprietress can easily decipher. "Some of them you'll find interesting, I'm sure."

An eyebrow raises as Cass listens to Jane. "A practice spot?" Though she's pretty sure she's deciphering this code properly, it doesn't exactly make sense to her. Giving a sweeping glance around the store, she sees that almost everyone is taken care of. "Come on, let's go to the office for a few minutes." The store watches itself a lot of the time. Hence her ability to do sudoku. This way they can talk quietly, but frankly. Standing up, she takes her sandwich, but leaves the paper and leads the way through the employees only door.

Following, she remains silent until the safety of that office is reached and the door is at least mostly closed against prying or otherwise unwelcome ears. She brings her gear along for the short trip and deposits it in some spot not likely to cause tripping. "Thank you, Cass," Jane commences. "About two weeks ago I found myself in an ethical dilemma and two days after that made an unpleasant discovery, so I felt like screaming. I rented an abandoned building in the Bronx as a practice spot and started work to expand my vocal force."

The door can't be totally closed because Cass still has to be visible to her customers. That's the problem with trying to have a discreet conversation during store hours. However, if they keep their voices down and stay back here it's unlikely that anyone is going to try and overhear what they're talking about. "An ethical dilemma?" Frowning, she leans back in her chair and does a quick check through the door to see where everyone outside is. "That seems like a good idea. Though, I think maybe you should look into the problem you have with feeling like you have to scream every time something bad happens." Because while screaming for Cass doesn't do any sort of public damage, with Jane it's different.

"Someone I know was influenced by a potent suggestion," she explains. "And while I understand the reasoning, it still troubles me, given my own experiences." Jane takes up a position where she can see anyone approaching the partly open door while speaking in a voice of reduced volume. "It made me feel like I had to let something out, so I found a safe place to do that, and work at expanding the ability. Doesn't happen all the time, but on occasions it does." Her back settles against a wall, her stance one of leaning, as she continues. "Anyway, I remember you talking about wanting a place to help people train their abilities, so I thought I'd offer it for your use, although it isn't much."

"Suggestion is definitely troubling," Cass replies thoughtfully. She should know, there's been Peter and Ali and that's without much training, if any at all. "It just seems like every time I talk to you, there's something that makes you want to scream. I'm not trying to suggest anything huge, just that it's worrying." Because even without the ability to burst out windows, always screaming as an outlet isn't all that healthy, in her opinion. "Maybe you should take up knitting or something? I heard it could be relaxing." Then, she frowns and studies Jane. She hasn't really been keeping her clinic a secret from anyone, but she doesn't remember telling Jane about it and she never wanted it widely advertised so soon. It's been one of those things to play close to the vest until it's feet are on the ground. That and with three people coming to her she doesn't remember talking to about it has started to weird her out. "When did I say that?"

"Every time?" Her brows furrow, thinking it over. "I hope that isn't true, but I do tend toward the intense experiences. Being made to think I'm an addict, having memories taken, seeing others have memories taken, finding a boyfriend in bed with twins, being hit with the power of suggestion…" Jane trails off there, not wanting to elaborate on what she did during that time. "I've other outlets, and the urge isn't constant. Maybe I'm just more aware of it than most, knowing what my voice does. For stress relief," she grins, "I find playing music for hours on end works well. And ice cream also helps."

The second question sends her into deep thought, seeking out a specific time it was mentioned, and she can't come up with one. "I don't think there was a set occasion. I just remember talk of people with abilities and working to help them, not to mention you're much more of a scientist than me. So when I found a place for my own purposes, I thought I'd offer it to you too." Cass and a clinic? She hasn't even the first clue such a place exists.

Oh, Cass knows a thing or two about intense experiences. Getting shot in an alleyway, exploding buildings, midnight rendezvous in the park that leads to memory wiping (not that she actually remembers that last one). It seems like her past couple of months have been about intense experiences, all but exclusively. "Wait, you had a boyfriend?" Cass is a little behind the times on gossip. She's had a lot of other things on her mind and hasn't really been caught up with who is dating who or cheating on who or wanting who other than what's been right in front of her. That's really what she has latched on to for all of this. "Yes, well, med school and all. It helps with the science stuff. Thank you for the generous offer, Jane. But, I've already gotten some help on that front."

"I did," she answers in a bit of a subdued voice. "I'm surprised you didn't read the recent articles about my alleged explosive breakup with Jaden Cain." Her eyes close and she faces a wall for a few seconds. "It'd be easier to get past if the papers didn't throw his face at me so much." Silence follows for a stretch of time before Jane turns back to face Cass and switch topics back to business. "Oh. You've already got a place? That's excellent, Cass. I ran across some potentially dangerous people who need help, one gave me permission to talk about her. The other I gave my number to but haven't heard anything from yet."

"I avoid tabloids and gossip columns as a rule," Cass explains. "I've got enough drama in my life to try and take on celebrity's." That and the soap opera she's kind of involved in now soaks up all the break ups, cheating, marriage proposals and dead people coming back to life she can handle. "Wait. You dated /Jaden/. /Jaden Cain/." Even though the two are in the back room, the customers out front might be able to hear that exclamation. She's so surprised it's hard to keep her voice down. This is a little bit more shocking than dangerous Evolved people. Those she knew were a threat. Jaden being in anything called a serious relationship, though, that kind of floors her. "Crazy chipmunk guy?" The guy who made Elena dress up in a sexy Robin outfit? "I mean, he's nice but…he's /crazy/."

Rudyard enters Enlightenment Books. From the outside, it reminded him of bookshops around his hometown, and he couldn't pass up the opportunity to go inside. Sleeves rolled up, hands in his pants pockets, he quietly peruses the shelves, taking his sweet time. He's oblivious to any conversations taking place in the backroom.. but if he wanted to be nosy.. he could always ask a few 'friends' to fill him in. Alas. No reasoning to do so. Besides, he's quite content to familiarize himself with the shop.

"One tha' won' go away~
One tha' won' keep me up all nigh'~
One tha' won' make me sleep all day!~"

Someone called for crazy? Lachlan comes bearing gifts! They are roses. And the sound of his approach to Enlightenment Books is none other than his own singing, which isn't bad, but it's probably not the most beautiful either. He bumps open the door with his shoulder, bouquet in hand, just in time for the chorus — which is belted out without shame or care:

"ONE THA' WON' MAKE ME NERVOUS WONDERIN' WHA' TA DO. ONE THA' MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I FEEL WHEN I'M WITH YE~" Oh, uh. Cass isn't out in the front part of the shop. The Scotsman's singing tapers off a bit to finish: "When I'm alooooone with ye~— " he trails off with a grin at Rudyard and whomever else might be present for his impromptu concert. "Hi."

"Him," she confirms. "And yes, he is. I thought we just fit. I'm serious a lot, and he's so rarely serious, you know? The center. But I should've seen it coming. I mostly feel stupid that I didn't. And it's still hard to stay angry with him." Oblivious to the Master of Bees and the rose bearing Lachlan who wants a new drug arriving in the main store area, Jane again leaves the Jaden topic behind. "One of the people I came across is a radio DJ whose voice is compelling. She can make people do things, and I'm lost for techniques to help her get the handle, Cass. She's consented to being talked about. The other one, well, I can't be totally certain but I think she caused the windstorm here in the East Village a few weeks back."

Hearing the front door open and close the first time, Cass leans forward to see who it is that has entered the store. All of the sudden, she's a little antsy. Not because the topic is boring, but because she's a store owner and there are new customers. It's just the way she operates. When she's talking back here, she's not welcoming people and making sure they don't need help. "You're not talking about Ali, right?" The radio DJ who can compel people? Could there be two of them? "I think I may have met her." If they're talking about the same person. The second she doesn't know, however, she frowns. "Windstorm, huh?" That's certainly something to keep on the lookout for. However the singing is something that /she/ definitely can't ignore. Because it's being done by none other than Lachlan Deatley. That, and he's kind of belting in the middle of her store. "Just…hold that thought," she tells Jane before slipping out of her seat and poking her head out of the employee room to grin at the rose bearing Lachlan. "Pardon me," she says very seriously to Lachlan, "We don't allow flowers in this store. Nor do we allow singing of any kind. Or anyone from the British Isles. This here is a good, clean American store." While she starts out with a straight face, by the end of her admonishments, she's clearly trying to hold back laughter. "Now, if you don't have any business here, I'm going to have to ask you to leave because you're disrupting my customers." That, at least, is true. The few afternoon shoppers are staring at Lachlan in something between disbelief, amusement and annoyance.

Rudyard's brows quirk upwards in a mixture of annoyance and amusement at Lachlan bursting into the shop. It might not be a library, but aren't bookstores supposed to be as quiet? "Hello to you sir as well," he says in a crisp and all too proper British accent before returning to looking over a shelf of books with interest. Great. A Scotsman. The blighter is possibly pissed already today. There's a mild shaking of the head as if to say Rudy wouldn't expect less of a Scots' behavior in public. He looks over his shoulder as Cass comes out and makes that announcement. "Very well then.. shall I promptly bugger off if that is the case?" His tone is quite dry, and it's possible he is being serious with the inquiry.

Who cares if people are staring? Lachlan's totally awesome and wonderful and they should all bask in his gloriousness. Still beaming like an idiot, he glances at Cass when she steps forth to put her foot down. The more she speaks, the more his face falls into a thoughtful frown. "Oh." Pause, think, consider. Shrug! "A'righ' then. See ye." And with that, he turns right back on his heel and moves to walk out again. "Bloody American shops, aye?" he grunts to Rudyard as he holds open the door with almost saccharine sweetness for the Brit.

She listens as Cass speaks, her eyes moving to the door when the owner sticks her head out through it. The words she chooses cause Jane to grin a bit. She moves to lean against a different spot and wait to resume the conversation that was at hand, all the while contemplating things. Windstorms, viruses, and prophetic paintings pass through her mind.

"Oh man, they're invading. Quick! Call Paul Revere!" By now, there's no possible way she is keeping a straight face. Cass is all grins. Because, well, Lachlan came by with roses! And how can you not grin at something like that? If Rudyard is being serious, he's in for more rudeness. Because, Cass can't help but take things like this the right way. "Oh, you see that," she tells Rudyard with a knowing tone. "Easy to dissuade. Those Scottish boys, as you so appropriately say, bugger off with little but a polite suggestion." Even more of a devilish grin. "Perhaps Braveheart was entirely fiction." Actually, the movie was, but she'll get into important historical discussions later, when she's not trying to tease the hell out of Lachlan.

"Quite so. Afraid that our colorful money isn't good enough, I suppose. Bloody Yanks." Rudyard says, in a stroke of communication.. and the urge to mess right back with the woman. Jerk is something he speaks well. When he chooses to speak. He sets the book he was glancing over back on the shelf and strides for the door as well, breaking out with 'God Save the Queen' as he walks. At the door, he looks over at Cass, in, amusement?? "Forget Iraq and Iran, the Redcoats will be storming the shores while your backs are turned."

What! What! This is war! Lachlan straightens as soon as it's apparent that Cass is not letting up on the teasing. "'F ye think a movie with bloody Mel Gibson playin' the honorable Will Wallace is anythin' ta do with the Scots, yer a daft ignerant American tha' doesna know a Scot from a Paddy." (But Braveheart was cool because it was bloody and violent.) And as for Rudyard, well, the Scotsman can't help but scoff. "Yeah, the bloody Redcoats'd have ta storm the shores when yer backs're turned. Tha's the only way they can win a bloody figh'." It's spoken at least somewhat good-naturedly, as though it's something the other man would of course have to believe, because It Are Fact.

Listening to the exchanges, and perhaps feeling a mix of American pride as well as her own playfulness, Jane opens the saxophone case and puts the pieces together. She can be heard to laugh behind Cass briefly before her lips close over the reed and playing begins. But what tune, she wonders in that space of time? Over There? No. Star Spangled Banner? Also passed by. What she picks is a classic. Yankee Doodle.

"Colorful money? Like…monopoly?" Because Cass doesn't back down from verbal sparring, either. It's just more fun that way. "With their lovely red easy to see coats. Isn't that how we got you the first time?" They're surrounded, but she's got wit on her side. "What, isn't Mel Gibson Scottish?" she asks Lachlan innocently. Because, well, she can't help it. Braveheart might have been a good movie for movie's sake, but that doesn't make it fact. As Cass will gladly tell Lachlan at a later date. The warring between Yankee Doodle and God Save the Queen makes her blink. She looks between the Brit and the Saxophone player and sighs. "Now now, no independence fighting in my store unless it's me kicking you all out." Grin.

"Pardon? It is a fair sight better than headbutting and kicking people who are already down. You know, the Scottish martial arts as it was quaintly described by Mike Myers." Rudyard doesn't seem easily flapped by the banter. He's doing what he does best. Being a jerk with other people. "Bloody hell, now she's gone and insulted our kingdom with that tosh. You going to stand for it?"

Well, no, Lachlan isn't going to stand for that. First he's utterly flabbergasted and can only stare in bewilderment at Cass. And then? Then he attacks. "Aw, tha's it!" he huffs ferociously (except he's still grinning). He starts forward with a Mission — a Mission to grab up Cass and tickle her mercilessly (if she doesn't flee for her life first). But first, he swings by the front desk to drop the roses. No reason those should get ruined in the Scuffle For Scottish Honor.

The brunette with her sax keeps playing while she takes several steps back so Cass can run in case this turns into one of those playful chase things. Jane's tune is still Yankee Doodle, heedless of the owner's instruction. Her eyes show amusement as she watches events playing out before her.

Yes, indeed, this will turn into one of those playful chase things. But, this is also Cass, so it has a large potential for disaster. "Stars and stripes for ever, Limey!" She grins at Rudyard. It's a testament to her good mood that she's willing to be like this in front of a total stranger - a potential customer no less. But, then, she's attacked! Oh no! Fierce Scotsman on the loose! With a bit of a squeal, Cass tries to dash away from the surging Scot behind the counter. However, he gets a hold on her and starts to mercilessly tickle. Giggling and snorting a bit from laughter, she quickly loses her balance and starts to topple over. Lucky for her, then, that she already has a very strong grip on Lachlan. Either he's keeping them both up or they're both about to tumble over.

Rudyard's brows merely raise in quiet amusement, not that he'll admit to such, at the outward display of affection. Disgusting in a way that Yanks and Scots let loose with. Regardless of play or not, he makes sure to give the pair a wide berth. "Mmhmm," he replies to Cass through pursed lips.

It's a good thing Lachlan's so strong (contrary to the beliefs of some), otherwise he and Cass might wind up on the floor. As it stands, he manages to remain upright in spite of his fiance's toppling and even helps steady her with his arms around her. But does that stop the tickling? Nooooope! "Take it back!" he demands as the torture continues. "Mel bloody Gibson s'no' Scottish." EVER.

She keeps well clear of Lachlan, Cass, and the tickle torture session right in front of her, and the sax continues to sound out under Jane's musicianship. Yankee Doodle ends, next is a few bars of Waltzing Matilda to hint at something, then she segues into the one Cass asked for. Stars And Stripes Forever.

Impervious to torture! Or, well, tickling torture. Writhing, Cass attempts to get out of Lachlan's grasp. "Yes! He! Is!" She says in between gasps. "As Scottish! As! Robert! Burns!" Maybe even if they had toppled, the tickling would stop. Then again, knowing Lachlan, it probably wouldn't. "Stop!"

Rudyard glances towards the pair. Just like a Scotsman to be so .. crude and overt. "Now those are just fighting words, Yank. I'm afraid that you have coming whatever he is prepared to give you in retaliation," is stated quite dryly as he returns back to the bookshelf he was looking over earlier.

Yes, she does deserve every little tickle and poke and jab that she gets, and Lachlan is not letting up. In fact, it gets worse. "Take it back!" he insists. Don't make him get medieval now.

Stuck in the office while store owner and fiance' have their session of tickle torture and resistance, Jane ceases playing at least briefly when Stars And Stripes Forever ends. Jane watches in silence for a very short time before calling out to the other British person. "Englishman," she begins, "twenty says she outlasts him and he doesn't know which shores Mr. Gibson hails from." A pause is followed by clarification. "And that's dollars, not pounds."

"I! Do! Not!" Slouching a little against Lachlan and the tickling, Cass does not let up quite yet. "No!" She manages in between giggles and deep breaths of air. Finally, though, she gives in. Because, well, the store is all looking at the pair of them and the already pretty silent store is all but dead other than the noise that the four of them are generating. A little while after she comes to this decision, she breaths in and out and resignedly says, "Alright! Alright! He's not Scottish! He's not!"

Rudyard's fingers brush over the spin of Activating Evolution, and passes right on by. Another book is plucked up, leafed through then placed back on the shelf. Figuring those two need to just get a room, the man turns from the shelf. "I'm not interested. Save your funds for more entertaining gambles." Without another word, he exits the shop.

That's right. Never bet against a Scotsman. As soon as Cass relents, Lachlan stops tickling and just holds her, grinning. "Was tha' so hard?" he asks of her before giving her a quick kiss. Then, he glances to Jane — and everyone else in the shop. "… wha're ye all starin' at?" It's not like they haven't seen weirder things. Hell, look where they're standing!

Her jaw drops open when Cass gives in. Jane is stunned! Then the other guy snubs her money. Wait. That's not a bad thing, since Cass made her lose. But… this is still partly salvageable. "So, Lachlan, where is Mel Gibson from?"

When Rudyard flees, Cass frowns. She's still breathing heavily from being tickled to breathlessness, but it looks like their antics scared away a potential customer. Not good for business. Hopefully he'll be back so she can apologize. "Lach," she scolds gently. To the rest of the staring customers, she smiles and waves. "Don't…mind us. If you need…any help…just well!" Still gathering up the proper amount of air, her words are punctuated with pauses. While she normally doesn't give up very easily, it's Lach. And he was using a particularly dirty form of torture.

Well, they're staring! Lachlan grunts and picks up the roses to hand them to Cass. "Got ye these!" He beams proudly, because that makes him a Good Boyfriend. And he likes being a Good Boyfriend. To Jane, he raises an eyebrow and responds, "He's from Australia." And all Australians are idiot criminals, amirite?

It's just not her day for making bets. "Crap," Jane murmurs, fishing a twenty out of a pocket and passing it toward the victorious Scot. She then turns away and goes adrift in thought.

Gladly, Cass takes the roses from Lachlan. "Aw, thank you, Lach! They're gorgeous." And, really, they are. "Lemme get a vase for them." She sneaks back into the office for a vase and to fill it with some water. Then, she can stick the bouquet in and arrange them however she likes. "You don't have to give him your money, Jane. He already just tried to tickle me to death."

Oh hey, Lachlan's made some money! He's not entirely sure why, but hey, money! He stares at the twenty for a moment, then pockets it. "Hey, if ye put sugar in tha', they'll last longer," he tells Cass. Niki taught him that one, see, and he hasn't forgotten it. (Which is some sort of miracle.) The Scotsman heads into the office as well and leans against the doorframe to glance at Jane. Is she going to give him money for that too?

It's the principle of the thing. She made the bet and Cass lost for her, then Lachlan knew the answer. Never mind the person it was offered to declined. One British person's rejection is another's gain. "He won the bet," she explains. Jane faces the two and studies Lachlan for a moment as a confident smile forms. Is this over? No. She's hatching a plan to out-Scot the Scot. She's going to buy and figure out playing the Great Highland Bagpipe.

"Sugar?" Cass sounds a little skeptical. But, she does what Lachlan suggests. Tearing open a couple sugar packets, she dumps it into the water and stirs it around a bit with one of the stems of the roses. Then, she puts all the flowers into the vase and starts to swish them around to make an artful display. Really, they just look like flowers in a vase, but they're pretty even without arrangement. "He did, but he did it, basically through extortion." Not that /she/ minds all that much. Taking the roses, she brings them back out into the main room and sets them on the counter where they'll get sunlight and admiration. "Thank you for them." Leaning forward, she gives Lach a quick kiss.

That's a big word Cass just used there, and Lachlan doesn't know what it means. Maybe it means he won because he tickled her into submission. Oh well, not important! "Yer welcome." Then on to the business that brought him in the first place: "Finished up early t'day. Mebbe ye can close early an' we can go out an' get somethin' ta eat. An' a movie 'r somethin'." You know, like a date.

There's the jingle of the bell at the door, and Felix pokes his nose in. He doesn't look like the usual clientele, perhaps, with a sharply tailored suit, and wire-rimmed glasses. He glances at the incense, as if that's what he's after, but is immediately diverted by the shelves on western ritual magic - face taking on the pleased, absentminded expression of someone quite content to browse.

Her Plan for the outScotting of Lachlan is forming. Next stop: a music shop to buy those pipes so she can learn them. Jane's smile is confident and broad. As the man speaks about taking Cass out, she's putting the sax away. "Call me soon, so we can talk more about that thing, Cass?" Her eyes glance at the store outside the office long enough to spot Felix, and she pauses. A familiar face, but one she wouldn't expect to see here.

But Felix is not the only one heading in to Enlightenment. Shortly after, Portia enters, guitar on her back. She's been in a few times, but hasn't seen Peter and she'd been hoping to ask the owner about something. Looking around, she steps out of they way and just surveys the whole store.

That bookstore owner would be behind the counter with her man at the moment. The roses are settled into a safe place where they're looking very pretty and suddenly, there's a lot of activity going around. People leaving, people coming in, people wanting to take her out on a date. All at once! "Mmm. I think that sounds really nice. Everything but the closing early part." She leans over and rests her forehead on Lachlan's chest for a moment. "And since I was late coming in yesterday…" she trails off on that one, so he can make his own conclusions. As Jane is leaving, she nods at the musician. "Of course. We'll talk about it." Then, Felix and Portia are coming in and she has to greet /them/, too. "Hi! Welcome to Enlightenment! If you have any questions, feel free to ask! I'd be happy to help."

"Wha'?" Lachlan glances over at the rest of the store with a frown. Okay, so it looks a little busy, but so what? Looking to Cass again, he utters, "Could take care o' tha' fer ye." And then he steps away and more towards the customers as though about to do just that. "Oy! Ever'one!" If Cass wants her store to remain full …

Felix glances up. "Oh, actually, I mean to ask," he says, putting down a copy of 'Triumph of the Moon' with a regretful air. "D'you have grain incense - like frankincense tears, or church-style incen-" And then Lachlan is calling attention to himself, and he glances over, expression curious.

With help offered and Portia mustering up the courage to talk, she begins to head over towards Cass. She lets Felix talk first, but then there's Lachlan's shouting. Oh.. what could that be about?

From that office doorway, Jane spots Portia arriving and breaks into a smile of warm greeting. "Hey! How've you been?" She abandons the task of packing up and steps out into the main store. A glance goes to Cass, finding her speaking with Felix, so when attention settles on the girl again she offers "I'll introduce you in just a bit. If that's cool."

"Mmm. I'm sorry to say that my selection of incense is, really, very limited. I'm more of a bookstore than a merchandise store." Cass tells Felix apologetically. She opens her mouth to say more, but Lachlan starts shouting. "/Lach/!" No wonder he needed help with his business before. "That is /not/ helping." Raising her voice she gives him a /look/ and then adds, "Have a great day! That's all!" There. Problem solved. "We can go to the movies and to dinner after the store is closed at a regular hour. Turning back to Felix, she smiles a tad embarrassed. "He's just a really friendly guy," speaking of the Scot. The approach of Portia doesn't go unnoticed, either. She gives the young girl an expectant look, but doesn't engage her just yet as Jane already has.

Glancing back to Jane, Portia offers a warm wave. "Hi! I'm pretty good." She pauses, looking between Jane and Cass. "Oh, could you? That'd be great. I kinda wanna talk to her."

Felix makes a little 'don't worry about it' gesture with a free hand. "It's fine. An idle thought," he says, simply, before nodding at Lachlan. He doesn't seem offended.

But. Lachlan was helping. He pouts quite wonderfully and whines, "Aw, c'mon!" at Cass, but he doesn't make any further attempts to chase all her customers out. Instead, he just crosses his arms over his chest and stands there. Pouting.

"Cass," she starts off, looking in her direction and turning toward the teen as she speaks, "this is Portia. Portia, Cass." Jane's eyes move from one to the other while continuing. "She's a talented musician with a bright future, starting out in New York."

Aww. Cass knows Lachlan was trying to help in his own way. However, his helping is very different from the way that she would execute it. "I'll make it up to you later." For keeping him here when he obviously has big plans. Or just plans. Either or. "If you have any other book questions, feel free to ask," she smiles at Felix before having her attention divided to turn toward Portia and Jane. "Oh! Another musician! Lovely to meet you, Portia. If you need help finding anything, feel free to ask!"

"It's really nice to meet you, Cass." Portia says, taking in a deep breath before she impulsively rushes forward with her request. "I met Peter in here before and I was talking with him and he thought that maybe I'd be able to play some music in here or something." She pauses. "You wouldn't have to pay me or anything and I'd let you see what music I've written and if there are any songs in particular I'm pretty good at learning things quickly so I could learn any ones you'd like to have in the store, but I'd realy just like the opportunity to play somewhere that people would hear me." She glances towards Cass hopefully.

Yeah, sure she will. Lachlan will still sulk, though. And he pretty much stays out of the conversation, as he has nothing really to contribute.

The smile is constant while Portia speaks, and Jane listens. "She's the daughter of a friend, and someone I've given advice to. Hopefully you two can work something out." Her expression shows understanding of the girl's enthusiasm.

"Peter's a good employee." Not to mention a good friend. Cass listens to Portia's proposition, and thinks about it for a second. "That might be nice. A little live music for the store. I mean, we're pretty small. I don't know where exactly you'd set up or anything, but it could be good! Why don't you come in with some music and we can talk about it when everything's not so crazy. How about a little while before the store opens some day when you're free?" It's the summer, so she may have a lot of plans.

"Yeah! That'd be great. And I don't need a lot of room. Just somewhere to sit with my guitar." Portia nods, then looks back at her. "Oh, yeah. I can be here anytime. Just let me know." She reaches into her pocket, scribbling her cell phone number on a little card.

More quiet sulking from Lachlan. Only he doesn't have the attention span to sulk for long, so he's a bit distracted by books that are hanging out on the counter. One of which appears to be talking about pagan sex practices or something of the sort. The Scotsman picks it up and begins to thumb through it thoughtfully, pausing now and then when he comes upon a picture.

Hearing Portia and Cass reach easy accord, Jane retreats into the office and collects her gear. She emerges moments later with guitar case, backpack, and saxophone. As she passes Lachlan she totally fails to spot what he's reading, and thus can't shelter Portia from it and whatever pictures it contains. "Talk to you soon, Cass? Good night, Lachlan, Portia."

There are some books with pictures not quite suited for young eyes. However, Cass is more preoccupied with finishing business and then she can take care of Lachlan's monkey business. "Thanks. I'll do that. We'll talk soon." Taking the card, she slips it behind the counter in a place she's sure to spot later. "Sure, Jane." So many things happening at once again.

Giving Cass a warm smile, Portia nods, moving to head for the door. She got what she came for. "Just call me anytime and I'll come by." She notices the book. She stares for a long moment. Then at Lachlan. Then at the book. Then at Cass. And she hurries for the door.

Lachlan doesn't seem to notice that his book has been noticed by the minor in the store. He's a little … uh. Distracted. Coming upon a particularly risque picture, his eyes widen and he blinks. Holy God, what kind of bookstore is his fiance running?

Ahead of Portia, unaware of what the teen saw, Jane is out the door and headed for someplace where she can b begin to enact her plan to out-Scot Lachlan. Must. Buy. Bagpipes.

"Of course." Cass follows Portia out of the store with her eyes. "Thanks for stopping in!" And that's how she spots Lachlan with the book. At first there's a sigh and then there's a grin. Sneaking up behind him, she puts her arms around his chest. "Since when did you get interested in the books I sell?"

So absorbed in his book, Lachlan is just the slightest bit startled when there's suddenly a voice and a pair of arms around his chest. His head quickly snaps around to stare at Cass over his shoulder, then back to the book. "Since ye started carryin' sex books," he responds quite matter-of-factly. Not that he really reads them. He just looks at the pictures.

Oh, and that is /so much better/. "That's not a sex—-well, okay, it /is/ a sex book, but not the way you're thinking." Cass laughs and flips to a part where there's just text. Gasp, there /are/ words in this book, Lachlan. Then, she points to the title. Sex and Spirituality. "It's a book about how sex is a spiritual experience for this religious sect. Some religions revered it and thought it a very holy thing. They thought that only through sex could you know God. Maybe one of these days I should bring you a book from here so you could actually read through it. It's really interesting." And even if he's reading about sex, he's reading. Which is a bonus.

Whoa, wait. There are religions that encourage sex? The Scotsman is utterly baffled by this — and maybe a bit intrigued. "… so I'd be God's best bloody chum, then," he grunts. Pause. "So s'tha' wha' those missionaries mean when they're askin' ye if ye wanna know God? B'cause tha's no' righ'." Honestly. But it sounds like he's joking at that last bit, because he's grinning like he's clever.

"I…uh…no. It's not /just/ sex. It's…there's a /ritual/, Lachlan." Cass sighs and presses her forehead against his back. "It's in the book. I'll buy it for you if you're actually interested." Because, well, Lachlan interested in a book (a book with words, even!) is something she's glad to encourage. "Ha ha." She can tell the clever grin and the tone of his voice. "Not /those/ missionaries. But other priests and priestesses."

"There's a ritual fer sex?" Lachlan raises an eyebrow. That sounds bizarre. "S'tha' where ye get the clothes off an' stuff? 'R when ye put onna rubber?" That's about the only ritual he knows of. And it's not really a ritual. There's no chanting or anything (or, well, usually. This one time in Canada— ).

"N-no. Not like that." This is not the place for this sort of conversation. At least not between the two of them. Cass sighs. "Come on, you can look at it later. I'll start closing up the shop and we'll go for some food, okay?"

With some hesitation, Lachlan closes the book and puts it down on the counter again. "A'righ'." He frowns down at the tome a moment before he adds, "D'ye think s'true? 'Bout sex an' God an' stuff." As she gets ready to start closing up, he follows along like a little lost puppy, lending a hand wherever he can.

A little lost puppy with opposable thumbs. "I don't know," Cass replies as she puts some things away, starts turning off the lights. "For stuff about God, I think what really matters is what you believe to be the truth."

Lachlan nods and, once it's all down to just switching off the lights, he hovers by the exit, waiting for Cass to finish up. With a sniff and a rub at his face with one hand, he utters, "Think I could get b'hind tha'." Pause. "'Course the only prayin' I ever do s'durin'." So hey, sex = getting to know God makes sense! Funny how that works.

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