All in the mind

Dallas Public Library

The library is a rather large building that extends two levels. Security gates at the entrance lead past a long rectangular circulation desk where patrons may check out or return books. Across from the circulation desk is large, archaic looking card catalogue beside which is a computer that is set up to locate books. Following the typical Dewey Decimal Classification System, the rows of shelves are laid out systematically, with large signs overhead so that patrons can find precisely what they are looking for. Study carols and tables line the walls, and one corner of the library is set aside for two separate lecture rooms that can booked for meetings.

A rare occasion, but the library is a bustle of activity. Spill-over from the campus libraries as students work toward getting research papers finished. Parents returning books for the little ones, and carrying out new stacks to keep the kids occupied. All in all, it is a very atypical afternoon.

One Chloe is quite happy that she's not working.

She's hidden herself away in the 900's of the Dewey Decimal system, seated on the floor and using a shelf as a backrest. Fifteen or so books lay scattered around her, various topics ranging from the Knights Templar to Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Mars. It's a rather eclectic collection of reading material, and she seems lost in her own little world.

Only, the thoughts running rampant in the library have given her a slight migraine, and not for the first time in a while she's wishing she had refilled her prescription just for little instances like this.

« Oh, great. Net wat ik nodig had. » Just one other line joining all the others as Josephine walks into the library, pausing by the entry taking in all the activity before she straightens her shoulders and walks up to the return desk, depositing one book only, a recent though rather dull (and utterly wrong) theory about the vampire virus as dictated by some foreign professor. Taking a deep breath, the tall woman beelines towards the tables with the newspapers of this morning, needing to step over a few of the books Chleo has splashed around. "'Scuse me." The smile is automatic and polite, nothing more.

Upon hearing the footsteps coming her way, Chloe instantly draws her knees up to her chest. Alas, she forgets the books and feels a tad guilty for nearly tripping the woman up. "Ah, no. Sorry about that." « Why am I reading a book by a comedian? » The current title in her hands, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man is stacked atop a few others, and pushed to the side.

"Can I hel-" Grin. "Actually, I'm not working today, but were you looking for something in particular?" Ever the librarian, she just can't help it.

The grin is answered by a rather amused one, Josephine pausing now, turning half around to properly look at Chloe. She has to work a little, but finally manages a semblance of an honest smile instead of smirk. « Oh, behave… Iemand die /hier/ werkt heeft absoluut afleiding nodig. » Nope, the smirk wins in the end. Pretending to read the titles of the books around the woman, Josephine's alto explains in that northern European accent, "Just this morning's newspapers, but thanks for the offer." She intends to walk on, then reconsiders and points a finger to the top volume, chuckling, "Do with it what you will, but don't ever trust a man who wants a woman to think like he does, neh."

Chloe should have known. She should have been prepared for this, but there's really only one person that she's ever… and well she can't exactly /read/ him, now can she? Josephine manages to catch her by surprise, but now her guard is up and her mind is clamped down as firmly as she can make it. No thoughts escaping here! Yet, she's not worried about behaving so much as she's worried about countering, "What language is that?"

There's a flicker of surprise in Josephine's eyes the moment Chloe clamps down, but nothing flickering or fleeting about the study of the librarian's face. She reaches up, fingers tracing over the small anchor on the chain and clears her throat, "Language?" She clears her throat again and chuckles, though it sounds forced, "Didn't know my accent was that bad, but I was attempting English?" Physically she doesn't move, but she reaches out, tenderly, like a child exploring the surface of a chest that just closed, without having a clue where the lock is.

There is an oh-so-sweet smile upon Chloe's lips. "Please don't play dumb with me. I may be an only somewhat educated American, but I know for dang sure that wasn't English." To make her point, she taps the side of her head. "You're also not getting in." While it's all said with a stupidly cheerful smile to show she's not going to just flat-out attack someone in the library, her eyes have narrowed slightly. Her mental barrier strengthens a bit, and she muses that it's likely a good thing she's being given the opportunity to test this in a relatively safe setting. Then again, tests for her at the library have really not gone all that well in the past.

The chuckles die, leaving Josephine looking rather startled - and decidedly white around the nose. A long pause, in which only the constant hushed buzz of the people gathered in the building are heard, ends with a small step back. "You really said that," she murmurs, seeking confirmation for her ears. The mental searching stops, the last touch drifting back to its owner.

Good, now that the prodding has stopped, Chloe relaxes a tad. For a moment, it looks like she's decided to just ignore the woman's presence, since she continues to stack her books up in neat piles on either side of her. Amusingly enough, she's stacked them not only in alphabetical order but in order of the shelving system at the library.

"I did," she says quietly, returning her voice to her natural hushed whisper she uses here. "So what was it? Some sort of Dutch, or German? Ain't all that great at languages."

« Oh, shit. » No need to be a mindreader, just read the expression on her face. The books are forgotten, as are the newspapers Josephine was so eager to get to. She runs a hand through her hair, not improving the messy look in the process. She needs to clear her throat. Again. "Dutch." Just loud enough for only Chloe to hear this time. "You really picked that up." Still trying to get her mind around the fact, seems.

Now she appears to have the woman on edge. Were Chloe anyone else, she might enjoy that. Truthfully, she's a slight bit uncomfortable with it. "Dutch. So you're a long way from home. Why?" A notepad is retrieved from behind her back, and settled atop the books on her left. "You project, hard not to pick that up really."

"Well," Josephine's expression drops when her pride is stung, "Not like I ever had to worry about someone…" She trails, about to accuse Chloe of the same talent she herself is guilty of. More and more uncomfortable, she crouches beside the other, looks both ways to check they really cannot be overheard. "I have a job," she mutters and the green eyes fix on Chloe's, "You. You are not surprised." She squirms a bit, not past hers yet, not by a long shot.

"You're a reporter? Still, a long way from home." Someone would be so proud of her for not shying away from her abilities. Someone just doesn't understand the headaches that she gets from overdoing it though. Chloe worries her teeth over her lower lip briefly. "Why would I be surprised? You're practically shouting." Then again, maybe the woman really isn't shouting at all. Maybe it's the last clinging tendrils of the vampire blood that's making everything seem louder. "Yes, I know. I'm crazy," she says, hand near her head twirling by her temple to show she's a bit cuckoo.

Josephine lets herself sit down. With a little bump, but she's too busy with Chloe and every word passing the woman's lips to even want to pay attention to something so trivial. So maybe the silence might feel awkward, certainly if it stretches, but every time she opens her mouth, she closes it again, swallowing it all. Still, it's a lot to take in and she softly shakes her head, gaze still fixed on the hazel eyes. "You…" she tries at last, very carefully, "I'm not the first…?"

"You're a reporter, and you didn't research it?" Chloe actually snickers a little at the irony of it. "At least you didn't go crazy due to it," she muses, though she's not digging into Josephine's brain, she's just mildly recalling her own experiences. "Not the first, not the only." Anyone else would be snide and insinuate that it means the reporter isn't as special as she thought she was. "So it likely gives you a foot up when you do an interview? Get right to the questions you know they don't want to answer?"

That remark earns Chloe a scowl, Josephine increasing the distance a little, folding her arms - but clearly reluctant to leave, even if the urge is almost overwhelming. "Something like that. How many. How many are there." She bends further, leaning her folded arms on pulled up knees, for a moment looking more like an 18-year old then her true thirtysomething. Every now and then someone passes, looking oddly at the two women sitting on the floor and every time Josephine looks up, alarmed.

"Two?" Chloe shrugs her shoulders. There is a slight consideration for how the woman is feeling, and she realizes she should likely be feeling the same. Might be a tad different with her though, as she had a run-in with something similar and is slowly coming to accept that there's just things out there she doesn't fully understand. "Could be hundreds. You're the first I've met."

A little sigh, maybe of relief, Josephine certainly feeling like she's swimming in unknown water and glad for each and every bit of assurance she can lay her hands on. "How d-… Is th-… Can y-…" She shakes her head hard now, pulling her hair with one hand as if she could pull herself to dry land where thinking's just a tad easier. "Shit, there's so much." When the green eyes find Chloe again, she takes another deep, deep breath and asks, "How do you keep it, you know, hidden, people from knowing."

"Medication." Chloe reaches for her bag, and goes to draw out a bottle only to remember that she didn't bother getting it refilled. "Or, well, I did. Kept me from hearing things." Frowning, she drops her bag and then glances over at the other woman. "Otherwise, a few people know. They think it's a quirk." In the case of one, they think it's an asset. As to why they think that, she'll probably never really know.

That earns Chloe a look. Disapproval, bordering on disdain. "Why would you get all drugged up," Josephine blurts, "That's sick girl, that's like a person with an eating disorder sueing magazines to stop using skinny models instead of just not buying the magazine. Didn't anyone teach you how to just stop listening?" One leg is stretched, the foot needing to push aside a small stack of books to be able to complete the motion.

"Wow, I wasn't aware they had schools that taught such things." Chloe glares at the woman. "I guess things in the Netherlands really /are/ different." A frown furrows her brow, and she shakes her head. "And what do /you/ do to block the voices? Get drunk? I'd rather take an approved medication than rely on other substances to keep myself sane thankyouverymuch."

There's a pause to Josephine's reaction, an apology tightening her lips, teeth worrying the inside of her cheek before she nods, shrugs, all apology - except in words, "Sometimes." A ghost of a smirk there, longing, but she kills it quickly, "My mom taught me to center and focus. She was all," and here she wiggles both hands in the air in an 'Ooooohhhh'-gesture. Snorting now, "If she could've taken it for herself, she would've." She obviously feels different, but a sense of comradery smooths her face again when she returns her attention to the librarian, "You know what it's like. Do you… Do vampires…" She tilts her head a bit, curious as hell.

"What kind of question is /that/?" Chloe is probably going to get shushed by a coworker, but it would seem she's taken Josephine's words the absolute wrong way. "No I don't /do/ vampires!" Although the the thought of a certain vampire flits free briefly before she can clamp down on it, cheeks heated. Several deep breaths are taken, and she forces that oh-so-sweet smile back to her face. "Must have been nice to have a parent that didn't send you to the funny farm." No one in her immediate family knew what was wrong with her, so a year and medication were the only things to keep her sane.

Never has Josephine been so often at a loss for words as today and her first reaction is to shush the other, she certainly has no desire to attract any more attention than they already have. "I… I didn't," she whispers urgently. "I… And she sits back, a little beat, "I was only asking if…" « If you don't hear them as well. » She looks down at her hands, sadly. Snorts softly at her own communication skills. Yep, really going well. Only then the last part of Chloe's words register and she looks up, brows cocked, "They did. Did they really?" A pause. "Ouch."

The explanation seems to calm her more than anything. Chloe laughs, "American slang. I guess you're not used to that." Clearing her throat, she shakes her head. "No, it's something to do with brainwaves, I think. You know how some thoughts are like, more white noise? Well to me they're just a big blank void. I can tell that they're there but I don't pick up any signal."

And the pity party starts. She shrugs it off with an, "Eh." Beat. "What else could they have done with a kid that was rocking back and forth as every thought in the neighborhood bombarded her?" It would be wrong of her to blame her parents when they did the best they could.

Josephine nods vaguely, recognizing her own experience in Chloe's explanation. In an automatic gesture, she digs a pack of cigarettes from her coat pocket and shakes one out. Pure habit, having linked thinking with smoking at some point. "I suppose. Heh, never thought how it could be different." She goes on to search for a lighter, dangling the little stick between her lips. "This is so utterly weird," she confesses quietly.

Chloe's hand reaches out to snag the cigarette from Josephine's lips before she can light it. "Not in the library," she says, pointing upward. "The books tend to not like it." She may be off duty, but it's her home away from home and she's got to protect it better than she has been. "Well, not everyone's parents are all 'OooOoooh'," she says, mimicking the other woman's earlier gesture. "Nothing wrong with a little weird," says the girl who really only wants to be normal. "So long as it doesn't wind up splashed across some tabloid, or European paper." Beat. "That means this discussion is strictly off the record."

"What the…" A mild blush paints Josephine's cheeks and she shrugs, "Oops?" She makes a show of tucking the pack back, but only after she's retrieved the confiscated one. "About that… I don't want you breathing a word to anyone about us. About me. Don't tell a soul. And I really need your word on this." She leans forward, extends her right hand, "I swear, I won't tell anyone about you, if you return the favour." Less secure, she adds, "Please."

Don't tell a soul? Easy enough. Woman never said to not tell the soulless. Chloe nods, then shakes the woman's hand, doing her utmost to keep her own thoughts clamped firmly down as she does so. "Not like anyone in this city'd believe you if you /did/ tell them. Most people that'd care recall my time in a facility and think I'm totally whacked." Which is just how she likes it. Let them think she's a little crazy, and they generally avoid her. "Word of advice though. You want to avoid people knowing? Don't think so loud. Never know when you might run into someone else with similar tendencies."

Sighing, with a fair measure of relief, Josephine looks at the hands shaking, hers warm and dry, then pulls apart. "Heh," she smirks the smirk of the guilty, "Never knew there were others, so…" A dismissing shrug. "I'll try and remember. Can I… Can I call you sometime. I'd like to talk to you, have so much to ask, but," a comprehensive look around, "Not here. Not now." She already has a hand in an inside pocket of her jacket, but she waits for Chloe's answer.

A dry look of amusement crosses over Chloe's expression. Questions? Like she's suddenly an expert on the matter? "Um… sure… I guess?" Dragging her bag back toward her, she fishes in it for a moment. Then she offers out a small white card that says:

Dallas Public Library
Chloe Cornett, Librarian
And along the bottom provides the address, telephone number, and extension.

"It's best to reach me here. Even if I'm not here, the message will get to me." Call-forwarding for the win!

Another flash of relief in those green eyes, Josephine herself pulling a card out of her jacket and offering it while she accepts the other. Reads it carefully. Hers says:

Time NL
Josephine A.K. van den Bosch
And an American cellphone numer.

"Thanks. It's so weird… You know? I've nev- It feels odd to talk to you, but I'm glad too. Just never thought I could." Mixed emotions cross her face when she looks uncertainly at Chloe. Really, if her face is usually such an open book… Then again, she's really that flabbergasted.

"Well, Ms. van den Bosch," Chloe says, hoping that she's pronounced it the right way, "I should probably let you get on with it. Reading those papers I mean." Maybe that will allow the woman time to relax and not be so stressed. "I should probably clear the aisle so people can get back here without tripping, and then go meet Bobby for coffee." Could Bobby be the mystery man she was thinking of earlier?

"I… Yeah, probably, Ms. Cornett." Josephine rises while she pockets the card, shaking her legs once she's standing, a little stiff. "I," she extends a hand to help Chloe up, "have your word." Really is such a big deal and old habits die hard.

The offered hand is taken, though a bit more warily this time. Still, Chloe gets up to her feet, then leans right back down to gather the books. Luckily, she's learned over the years how to balance great stacks in her arms without toppling. "Enjoy your articles," she offers, nodding toward the desks. As to promising her word, well, she just doesn't do it a second time.

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