THE St. Louis Speakeasy
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Proud Hufflepuff
 Post subject: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 1:35 pm GMT 
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It was a normal day for Paul as he swept his little bookstore. Slightly past noon, it was one of the slower points of the day. Most people were at diners and cafes eating lunch, so it gave him time to straighten up. Too bad it wasn't the weekend, he would have had his nephew do this work. But the boy was currently at school, so Paul was taking up these duties instead.

As Paul swept, he kept an ear out for the bell above the shop's door. He would be watching the door, keeping himself in sight so a customer wouldn't think it was closed (even though the sign clearly said it was open) but he was currently sweeping between two bookshelves, so he was blocked from view. Hopefully whoever came in would simply think he had stepped into the back room for something and wouldn't immediately leave. At least this way he could put the broom to the side before greeting customers. He already looked a bit out-of-place in his shop(a tall, intimidating-looking man who seemed better suited as a police officer or bodyguard rather than selling books, even with trying to hide it by dressing smart in his usual slacks, shirt, vest, and tie), the last thing he needed was to be seen sweeping. It was hard for him to put fear into would-be thieves once they've seen him doing something as mundane as housework. Paul gave a sigh at the thought. He really should have left this for the weekend.

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Just Damn Cute
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:25 pm GMT 
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The sound of hard heels clicked on the pavement. Two pairs of well worn shoes stepped along under the dark shadows of full skirts. A pair of women, familiar looking, sisters, walked along the sidewalk, in somewhat hushed conversation with one another. The elder of the women was looking rather annoyed and a little put out by whatever it was that her sister was saying. There was a flash of anger across the older woman's face before she stopped walking and looked evenly at the younger girl in the very brightly colored dress, a vast contrast to the dark brown that she wore.

"Look Flo," the younger girl said, louder than before. "I'm going to go whether you like it or not, so just say yes and this way you can't get upset at me leaving."

Flo did not look pleased by this and instead of fighting with the other woman about it she just pushed past her, and headed along on the way she'd been going. She looked up and caught sight of a sign she was surprised she'd missed before. A book shop. That was wonderful idea. Her sister wouldn't follow her in there just then. She wasn't in the booky sort of mood. No the girl was in the foolish, flighty mood of a child in love. Which was not something that Florence was quite ready to deal with just then, despite the girl being eighteen and a woman grown.

"Florence," the girl whined as her sister opened the door, her voice just carrying over the soft sound of the bell chiming to inform anyone within that the door had been opened.

"I'm going whether you like it or not," Florence shot back at her sister and slipped into the cool shop, not looking back at the hurt look on her sister's face as the door closed behind her. "Oh Sylvia," she sighed softly to herself, shaking her head before she slipped into the stacks, head tilted a little to the side so she could read the titles of the books as she pushed back the brim of her hat. She was glad to be among the familiar smell of paper and books.

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Proud Hufflepuff
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:53 pm GMT 
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Paul heard the bell and looked up, putting the broom in a space between one shelf and the wall. As he went to the edge of the row, he heard two women talking, well, arguing by the sound of the tones, and kept back. Six years of the rumrunning business had drilled into him that when people fought, you stayed out of it. Still, he couldn't have people arguing in his store.

Paul didn't have chance to decide what to do, however, as the bell rang again, telling him this time that the door was closed. He heard a woman sigh and mutter something, but couldn't make out what she said. Considering he wasn't hearing two voices now, it seemed like one of them had come in alone. That settled things for him. This was a customer, however, and he had to see to that. Not bothering to straighten his tie or make sure he wasn't dusty from sweeping, Paul stepped out from between the shelves and noticed the short woman in dark clothing in the next row over with her back to him, her head tilted to the side as she stared at the shelf.

"Need help findin' anythin', Miss?" he asked, hoping he wouldn't startle her. Ten years in St. Louis and his old accent had almost completely faded, though traces of it could still be heard in how he said certain words, like how he still dropped the g off of 'ing' words.

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Just Damn Cute
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:24 pm GMT 
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She'd heard his movement so when he walked closer and spoke to her, she didn't jump. He wasn't that loud, but she'd assumed that there was someone in the shop and that they'd eventually come out to see if she needed something. She didn't at the moment, but it was nice to know that he was willing to help. She did so hate when shop owners were mean and wished you'd leave instead of staying and looking.

So when he spoke Florence looked over her shoulder at him, then looked up at him, flashing him a surprisingly sweet smile. "Oh, not really," she said with a little shrug, spinning a bit so she could face him a little more easily. "Just taking a look about. I'm surprised I never noticed this place before now. Show's how much I look around."

And she really was surprised she'd not seen the place before. She surly must have been in at some point or the other over the last few years. There was no way a book store could have been set up without her knowing about.

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Proud Hufflepuff
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:45 pm GMT 
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When the woman looked up and smiled, Paul couldn't help but notice it seemed a bit out of place. Probably because it was so friendly, while she dressed so darkly and had dark hair to match. She commented that she was surprised that she hadn't noticed the shop before and Paul couldn't help but give a small chuckle that in actuality sounded more like a cough than anything. Especially since he didn't give a smile to go with it.

"Well, the shop is small," he said, "It's easy to miss. But it's been around a while." Paul paused, obviously thinking it over. "Not sure how long...Only worked here ten years or so, owned it the past seven."

Of course, it was only within the past year he had actually ran it like the business it should be. Before then, it was little more than a cover for rumrunning. But that wasn't information you shared with strangers.

"Maybe you did come in, years ago?" Paul offered, "But just don't remember?"

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Just Damn Cute
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:35 pm GMT 
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Florence pursed her lips and shook her head. "No, I don't think so," she said softly, looking back up at him more clearly now that she had stopped trying to think of when she might have maybe been in here. "I'm not from Saint Louis after all. It would have been hard for me to have been anywhere here before four years ago." She shrugged her shoulders some, lips still pursed a little bit as she thought about it. No, she had never been here before. She would have remembered him.

And he really didn't seem the type to work at, let alone own, a book shop. But yet, here he was, saying that he did. And as he was the only one in here, she had to believe that that was true. And she should know not to judge a book by it's cover. He could be a very well read man. He likely was. But that didn't mean he looked any less strange standing among the books talking to her just then.

"But you do have a nice shop," she said, almost as if she'd spoken the rest of her thoughts aloud and she needed to apologize for them or something.

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Proud Hufflepuff
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:12 pm GMT 
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Paul noticed the woman studying him, and he didn't have a doubt in his mind what she was thinking about. He often got those looks from newcomers in the store. Some commented on it, asking how 'a guy like him ended up selling books'. Others simply tried to pretend they didn't notice, but still glanced at him as if they thought he'd miraculously change into someone more suited. Though there were a few that after the first looks, didn't seem bothered by it, as if they'd seen weirder things before. Paul wondered which group this woman would fall into.

When she commented on the shop being nice, Paul gave a half-hearted shrug, his paws in his pockets.

"Did some rearrangin' a few months ago," he said, not sure what else to say, "Is there anythin' specific you're lookin' for?" He knew he had already asked if she needed help finding anything, but again, he wasn't sure what else to say.

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Just Damn Cute
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:26 am GMT 
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"I don't rightly know," she replied with her own little shrug of her shoulders. "I was on my way to lunch with my sister, I wasn't planning on stopping in anywhere for books." She looked down at the floor for a second, feeling a little guilty about blowing off her sister like she had, but it didn't last long. She had brought it on herself, after all. This way was at least going to end with less fighting between the two of them.

When she flickered her stormy eyes up to look at Paul again, she offered him a smaller smile, something more suited to her face. "So maybe you could recommend something?" she suggested with a little shrug of her shoulders. She was certain that there were loads of books she needed or wanted. But at this exact moment, she honestly couldn't think of what they were.

"I'm up for anything at this point."

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Proud Hufflepuff
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:06 am GMT 
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Paul watched as the woman stared at the floor after mentioning her sister, and he thought about the argument he heard when she first came in. Well, partially heard. He could hear them talking, but didn't make out anything that was actually being said. He couldn't help but think about the times he bickered with his sister. They often settled their differences soon enough, however, so maybe the same would go for this woman.

When she looked up again, Paul noticed she had a smile on her face that seemed to suit her more, one that he couldn't help but notice made her seem quite attractive and he found himself studying her more closely, the shape of her face and how her hair seemed to compliment it, how her eyes were the color of the sky when a storm was rolling in...

'Don't think that,' Paul told himself, 'She's a customer.'

She asked if he could recommend anything and Paul gave a crooked smile, as if he wasn't quite used to smiling much.

"My nephew knows more about the books in here than I do, sadly," he said, "But we did get some new ones in just last week, they're right over here..." Paul motioned to a nearby shelf, walking over to it and pulling off a few to show his new customer.

"My name is Paul, by the way," he said, "Paul Grant."

He didn't usually introduce himself to new customers, as he never knew if they would return. He told himself that he was only introducing himself this time because she had said she frequented bookstores, that if she became a regular customer she would know his name eventually anyway.

At least, that's what he was trying to convince himself was the reason.

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Just Damn Cute
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:00 am GMT 
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She hummed some when he said he didn't know as much about the books as his nephew did. Made her wonder exactly why it was that he owned a bookshop if he didn't know a lot about the books. Perhaps it had just been something that he'd happened into and it had been too good a thing to pass up. That seemed likely. And that would make more sense to why he didn't really look the type to work here either.

She took a few steps after him, hovering back a little bit. She didn't like to be crowded, and she tried really hard not to crowd either people.

"Florence," she said softly, inclining her head in a bit of a greeting. She hesitated for a moment, chewing her cheek before she went on. "Florence Brighton." She knew there were rumors going around about her. That was nothing new, they had followed her and her sister where ever they'd gone. And they'd only grown more the longer that they stayed in once place. But Sylvia needed some stability, and she was going to give it to her. Even at the cost of people sneering at them and whispering about those 'strange girls' as they went by. Being called a witch in a tone that suggested that they wanted nothing more than to burn your house down, was something she liked to avoid.

"It's a pleasure to meet you Mister Grant."

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Proud Hufflepuff
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:04 pm GMT 
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Paul gave Florence a quick glance when she said her name. Not one that gave the impression she thought little of her or anything, more just showing he recognized the name. Truthfully, he had heard the rumors over the years, but he honestly didn't care. He knew what it was like getting looks from people that made it clear he was not welcome, and he barely sat with it for a few months. He didn't want to think what it had to be like getting those looks all the time.

"A pleasure to meet you, too, Miss Brighton," Paul said, then motioning to the books he held and one section of the shelf next to him, "Well, here are the most recent books we got in. Prices are written on the shelf below."

Though that would have been a queue for him to leave, he stayed, standing there awkwardly.

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Just Damn Cute
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:03 pm GMT 
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She saw the recognition in his eyes and she looked down, awaiting looks or words. But he didn't say anything like she expected him to, and when she chanced a glance up, he didn't seem to be sneering or anything like that. And that was a relief beyond words just then. He might never be a friend, but to have him be nice, knowing the rumors...that was something.

Florence stepped towards the books, looking them over thoughtfully for a moment before she glanced back up at Paul still standing there. She had expected that he'd walk away after showing her the new books and probably swing back by to see how she was doing in a little bit. But no, he just stood there. She looked back to the books for a second before looking back up at him, chewing at her bottom lip for a moment before she dared to speak again.

"There any other suggestion you have?" she asked after a moment, tilting her head to the side some, the way she did when she was looking over the rows of books, a curious look on her face.

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Proud Hufflepuff
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:54 pm GMT 
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Paul frowned slightly, snapping out of his thoughts.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to stare," he said, suddenly very aware of the way Florence was watching him. He looked at the shelf nearby.

"I do have a few titles I'm fond of," he said after a moment, "Not very smart organization for customers, but I tend to keep them on a different shelf than others."

John stepped by, careful not to bump into Florence as he passed. "So, you said you've been in St. Louis four years?"

Paul didn't know why he was asking. Maybe to keep them from standing there in awkward silence like he had been a moment before. Or maybe he just felt like chatting, getting to know the woman better.

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Just Damn Cute
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:16 am GMT 
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"It's quite alright," she murmured with a soft laugh. "I'm used to stares, and normally with far more menace in them than yours." And that was sadly true. Most looks were more curious than anything. But there were a few, mostly older church going women like her grandmother who would look at her like she was willing the power of God down onto her to burn her alive where she stood. They were the reason she didn't attend church anymore. Not that she'd enjoyed it much to begin with.

She stepped after him again, keeping her distance still, not wanting to crowd him. "Ah yeah..." she started, surprised by his question. Florence flicked her eyes away from the books he'd brought her to to look at him. That was a strange question to be asking. Why would he care at all? She asked questions like that in her business, but that was totally different than right now. "Missouri's always been home, but not Saint Louis. Grew up in a small town a couple of hours from here, then we moved around a lot for a while, but settled down here four years ago."

She shrugged some, pushing her hat back some before she just took it off. "You're not from Saint Louis either though. You don't talk like you were born here."

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Proud Hufflepuff
 Post subject: Re: Among Books ((Artemis!))
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:20 am GMT 
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Paul watched Florence as she talked, explaining how she had actually lived a few hours away before moving around and eventually coming to St. Louis. He had noticed she said 'we', and figured she was talking about her sister she had been fighting with. Her journey sounded like a familiar one, starting in a small town just to move away with a sibling.

When Florence commented that Paul didn't sound like he was from St. Louis either, he nodded.

"It's a bit similar to your story," Paul said, "My sister and I came here about ten years ago, though we came straight here from our little town down in Georgia. Didn't do much movin' around in-between."

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