What Are You?

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.

It's just after lunch and the library has dispersed of college kids trying to find reference materials on their lunch breaks. Everything is quiet as ever at the library. Towards the gardening section, Mischa can be found on one of the foot stools used to reach books on the higher shelves. Given his height, his appearance is slightly comical on the tiny foot stool, although this hasn't seemed to occur to him yet. He's lost in his own little world reading a sappy romance novel — a bodice-ripper if there ever was one. In fact, a brute pirate man is ripping a woman's bodice on the cover. To cover up the fact that he's not actually doing anything that important, a cart of books that need to be sorted has been strategically placed in front of him. Only after having worked here since 1998 has he finally started to smarten up and find new ways of duping people into thinking that he's hard at work.

Chloe may not have been working here all that long in comparison, but she's good at finding things to do. So, when she passes by the gardening section on her way back from lunch, and spots the cart sitting in the middle of the aisle, she quickly scoots toward it so that she can begin shelving the books. She gets an odd feeling as she gets closer though, aware of the presence of another person but not at all sure about the mind that said person presents. It's more like a fuzzy white-noised channel that's constantly changing than anything she's used to. To ensure that she's not literally sneaking up on the person hiding behind the cart, she clears her throat in her best librarian manner. "Ahemhem."

Mischa's brain may or may not be a constant flurry of kittens, posies, lasagne, and pretty women (in a non-vulgar manner). But at least that's better than the other library pervs, right? When Chloe clears her throat gently, it doesn't stop him from jumping a mile in the air and very nearly tossing his book in the air. He claps his hand to his chest and takes in a few deep breaths, jumping to his feet and trying to straighten his sweater vest out. "Ahem indeed. I was just checking to make sure that there were no pages missing from this… someone had said that there was graffiti in it…" He blushes and rubs at the back of his neck, putting the book down on the cart. Quick, change the subject. "How was your lunch break, Miss Chloe?" Then he begins to sort the books that he's left out in the middle of the aisle.

Finding that it's another librarian - one she doesn't know all that well thanks to opposing shifts - Chloe snickers. "Didn't mean to startle you, Mr. Alexandrov, and please, it's just Chloe." Her hand taps against the cart, and she looks down at the books that are in it. "These are all way out of the proper section." Not a single comment made about the book he was 'checking'. "It was well enough, I guess. It was food." Shoulders shrug up. Food and a nice hidden location in one of the back offices so as to avoid the general babble from everyone else's head.

"Yes, well." That's all he can seem to say for a long moment. Eventually as he digs through the cart, he manages to find a book about horticulture. "This isn't out of the proper section." The joys of having two anal retentive, anti-social librarians on staff. He starts to pull the cart out towards the aisle. "Would you care to help me sort, Miss… err, sorry, Chloe? Please, call me Mischa. Despite the fact that we're hardly ever on the same shift, we've been working together for how long now? I think it's okay to forgo a bit of formality." He smiles at Chloe kindly as he starts off, with or without Chloe. Apparently he just assumes she'll follow, because he keeps talking to her — quietly, of course, ever-so quietly. "Out of curiosity, what was lunch?" Cookbooks are another one of Mischa's big staples. When he's not reading a bodice ripper, he's learning how to make some new confection.

Anti-social, perhaps quite a bit of late. Chloe has a lot to figure out, and with Will disappearing on her, a lot to digest as well - and not just the piddly lunch she brought with her today. "Sure. Sorting definitely beats dealing with the patrons." Not that she minds the people so long as she can block them out. Actually, she can handle working with the children no problem. It's the college kids she generally has issues with. "Er… well… just a bit of tomato soup and a veggie wrap." Both of which she grabbed on the way in thanks to running late. "Why?"

Mischa shakes his head in response to her question. He pushes his glasses up on his nose with his index finger, stopping in order to motion towards the science section of the materials aisle. "I think someone had a chemistry term paper to write," he mutters quietly. As he jams a book back into it's designated slot, he reaches up to run his fingers through his hair. "No reason, really. I'm a bit of a food lover myself. Considering that my shift ends…" At this point, Mischa looks down at the inexpensive but functional watch on his left wrist. "…Soon, I was wondering what I should go home and cook for myself. A veggie wrap does sound nice. I'm open to suggestions, of course." Considering that Mischa isn't particularly well-known for his conversational skills, he seems to be doing well today.

"I suggest taking home a cookbook," Chloe says with a teasing grin. "Since I bought my lunch, and can't really cook much more than pasta on a regular day anyhow." Yes, she exists on the most basic of meals generally, unless she can be talked into going out to dinner with her brother, or home on the weekend to see her parents. "Sooo… please don't take this the wrong way, but what /are/ you?" The first time she asked that, she knew she was dealing with a vampire. Now? Well, she's got no clue and she's probably going to weird him right out with that question.

That certainly brings a pause from Mischa. He reaches for another chemistry book after a moment and pops it into the proper place it's supposed to go, reaching up to run his fingers through his hair again. It seems to a self-soothing maneuver above all else. "What am I? A very sleepy librarian the last time I checked." He lets out something of a chuckle after that, though inside his thoughts are suddenly filled with panic. As he sweeps a hand over his vest to clear it of any offending cat hair, he thinks to himself: How can she even suspect that? Does my breath smell like tuna? Did she follow me home? Wait, is she asking if I'm gay? The final thought makes the proverbial light bulb go off above his head. He lowers his voice and murmurs to her, "I assure you I like women if that's what you're asking. I know it's odd that I enjoy cooking and I'm straight, but…"

All the thoughts hit her at once. Like someone turned the radio dial and things became clear. Chloe actually takes a step back, a hand setting to her temple. The thoughts, all strange in relation to the question at hand, make her furrow her brow just a tad. "You don't seem the type to go after the same sex anyhow," she says, after giving herself a scant few seconds to push someone else's thoughts from her head. "Even if you /were/ reading a romance novel." Caught! Not that Chloe cares at all, mind you. "I meant…" Wait. Could it be possible he's not heard the rumors of her oddity? That would be a first. "… sorry for prying."

Mischa has probably in fact heard the rumors… but being Mischa, is a wee bit too polite to assume that there's any truth to them. "You're not prying, really. We've been working together for longer than most co-workers ever will and we barely know anything about each other. It's a little sad, actually. I'm still not entirely sure what you're getting at." Yes, he is. On some level, anyhow. For the moment he wheels the cart down the aisle a little further and puts another few books into place, a school paper tumbling out of one of them as he lifts it from the cart. He bends over to swiftly pick it up, not even bothering to unfold it or look at it before he puts it on the cart to throw away later. "What are you, Chloe?" It seems innocent enough. Tit for tat and all that.

"A librarian," she answers with a teensy little smirk. "A completely insane, voice-hearing librarian. Surely you've heard the rumors?" Chloe turns toward the cart to grab a few books. Two are shelved, two more remain in her arms. A security blanket of sorts, since books don't really have any thoughts. "To be honest, I rarely talk to anyone who works here. I come in, I do my job, I make sure I stay late to deal with some of the night time returns." Beat. "Well, that, and I seem to be the only one not terrified to deal with a vampire that might want to come in and check out a book after hours."

This brings something of a laugh from Mischa. "That's funny… you're… you're kidding, right?" After a minute, he realizes… she isn't. Then he turns quite sober, looking her up and down. Sweet little Chloe, a psychic? Say it ain't so. But it is, apparently. "Oh my." That's all he says before there's utter silence from him. He pushes his glasses up on his nose with his index finger and reaches for a book, putting it on the shelf. Even in his slightly unnerved, distracted state, he manages to make sure it's in the right place. "We all have our talents, Chloe." He makes a 'one moment' motion with his index finger before he moves out of the stacks and up to the office. A scant moment later, he's returning with a small piece of paper. "My phone number. I'd like to continue this discussion, but my shift ends in four minutes."

"Why, Mr. Alexandrov," she says with a sly little grin, "if I didn't know any better, I'd guess you were trying to pick me up." Chloe shelves her two security-blanket books, and then takes the paper from him. It's neatly folded and pocketed. "As to the kidding, I rarely ever do, since just as rarely do people believe me even when I bluntly tell them the truth."

The accusation that he's trying to pick her up makes Mischa blush furiously and putter for a moment before he can articulate a thought that manages to come out as something more eloquent than stammering. "Yes, well. There's my phone number. I'd like it if you called me later… I've, ah, enjoyed talking with you." He looks down at his watch and sucks in a deep breath. "Right then. My shift is over. Thank you for your assistance, Miss Chloe." Then he's doing a disappearing act. Now you see him, now you don't. Mischa retreats back to his house for a well-earned tuna sandwich.

A few months ago, Chloe would never have been able to tease him about such a thing. A few months ago, she would have turned and hid in the stacks until the fuzzy-headed person wandered away. "/Just/ Chloe," she admonishes as he begins to take off. Shaking her head, she takes hold of the cart, beginning to wheel it down and around another aisle in order to put the remainder of the books away.

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