Preoccupation With Appearance

The Ogham

The Ogham is a typical store decored unusually. The corner store is well-lit from two sets of windows, perpendicular to each other, and at night lighting is provided by warm, dim lights from candles both real and electrical. Several bookshelves store the large collection of books of the shop, containing everything from New Age self-help books, books on legends and mythology, to grimoires which look almost authentic. A long mahogany counter occupies the far corner of the store; phone, computer, cashier and an Interac machine sit on top. Behind the counter is a large shelf of jars, flasks, vials and other containers, filled with liquids of all colors and textures. Several racks contain typical items like candles, incenses, semi-precious stones and so on, while others have a variety of more obscure items on them. The walls are decorated by a variety of ornate mirrors, paintings and tapestries, as well as hanging shelves of various jewelry, pendants and religious symbols. A bell chime announces anyone who passes through the front door, while a guest book is placed on a podium stand next to the door.

A few flurries spiral in the chilling winds outside to usher those wandering among the shops indoors at varying intervals. Though it may be Dallas, the weather outside does a fair job of disguising that simple fact. A few people browse some of the contents, ranging from the token gothic-wannabes to the average suburban soccer-moms that have clearly ducked in for warmth with little desire to linger long.

The chime to the front door tingles with a haunting announcement of the young brunette's arrival — the woman ducking on inside to escape the brisk chill and warm herself for a brief moment or two. Samantha gently removes the buds from her Ipod from her ears while her fingers brush over the disk to turn off the small device before slipping it into her pocket. Golden depths take a moment to drink in the relatively quaint shop as the collection of rather authentic looking grimoirs seem to summon her attentions to beckon her closer.

Ivan is a step or two ahead of Samantha, this chilly evening. The young man can be found in a professional wool jacket already inside The Ogham, walking about the store with practiced familiarity. There is an old, decrepit book tucked beneath his arm, bound in black chipping leather, with no discernible title. But, considering the current environment, it is not exceptionally difficult to use context and figure out that it is, most likely, a book on magic. And not the novelty tomes that the store stocks for the curious humans and angst-filled preteens looking for something to fixate on - but an actual, honest to goodness spellbook.

Ivan is not in a rush. And really with this weather, why would he be? And so, he is looking with a very vague sort of curiosity at the incense - ignoring the pointed looks he receives every once in a while. After all, he has become a semi-recognizable figure - the video of him exploding at some poor girl gained surprising popularity.

As her fingers touch the binding of the chosen grimoire, Samantha slips it from its place upon the shelf and cracks it open for a moment to peruse the contents. An audible smirk escapes her lips as she places the book back upon the shelf, clearly not enthused by the contents only to find the book quickly claimed by one of the gothic wannabes instead. Dismissing the girl and her token friends, Samantha backs away a bit before whirling around a little carelessly — nearly colliding with one of the displays in the process. She does manage to steady herself well enough, but not without sending her Ipod flying from her pocket and right into the direction of the incense displayer.

Ivan had been in the process of eyeing one of the vanilla-scented sticks, reading the short blurb about the effects of using it on the body when all of a sudden, he is attacked by a flying music player. The iPod thuds against his leg, and it is with a mild glance of bemusement that he peers down where the sad electronic lies, face down. "Looks like we've got a golem on the run," he drawls out, fairly amused, before bending over to collect the device and look about for it's prospective owner. That is when Ivan peers to Samantha for the first time, his lips curled into an easy-going smile. "Drop something?"

"I..umm.. yes," the words sputter a little from the brunette's lips as she takes a moment to recompose herself. Samantha's cheeks flush with a brief lighting of color as she manages to finally weave herself a bit around the evil stand to close the distance between them, "I really am sorry. You are not hurt I hope?" Her gaze does take a moment to drift on back over towards the gaggle of goths before letting out a faint sigh, while her attentions once more return to regard the poor victim of her Ipod pelting. She spends a few moments in quiet assessment, gaze drifting to take note of the varying sticks before finally adding in a softer tone, "I would recommend the sage, if you don't have any specific use in mind. It may not be quite as effective as some of the more specialized sticks, but the universal applications hold a great deal of merit…"

Ivan lets out an easy-going laugh, confident and dismissive. "Are you kidding? You definitely crippled me. You can expect to hear from my lawyers." The semi-threat is given with a broad grin, making it quite evident that it was made in jest. "I'm fine, I'm fine. A bit curious as to what prompted the electronic abuse, but good." The iPod is held out to her with good-natured helpfulness, before he cants his attention back to the incense. "Mhmm? Oh. I don't care much about the applications, to be honest. I just want something that smells good. I've recently acquired hamsters. Thirteen of them. And they stink." Cue a long, deliberate sigh.

She reaches to reclaim her Ipod, this time securing it within her purse before once again reaching across him to instinctively select a series of three different scented sticks, "Sandalwood, patchouli, and rose should do the trick to mask nearly any unpleasant scent without being too overbearing. Sweet yet spicy with the faintest hint of floral overtone, I believe." Samantha does arch an elegant brow in study of the young man, her lips curling into a rather amused smile, "Thirteen hamsters? Quite an omnipotent number for a litter. Forgive me for asking but you do realize that hamsters will mate if they are the opposite sex and not kept in separate cages, right? I mean, thirteen is an incredibly rank batch… but thirty-six would be enough to render any home in need of desperate fumigation."

"Sandalwood, patchouli and…Rose, huh?" For some reason, the final suggested prompts a pleasant, if wryly amused grin to spread his lips. "Mhmm. What a masculine scent you propose," despite this, he does reach over to pluck the three incense for consumption. "Yes. Thirteen. Well, it was two. A male and an incredibly fat female. We came to realize that it wasn't that she was fat. She was just pregnant." Beat. "With eleven mini-hamsters. Say…you wouldn't want one or nine for yourself, would you?" He offers brightly. "Mhmm? Oh, we've come to that realization now."

"Actually, rose is fairly masculine in many ways… now if I had proposed hibiscus, then you would have need of worrying," the words flow gently from her lips in a slightly teasing tone as Samantha slowly reaches for some other more obscure scents for herself. She lifts one of the sticks near her nose, inhaling slightly before placing it back in the cannister with a sigh, "These really should be kept sealed until they are ready to be used — the moisture in the air dampens their scent a bit overly so." His question is met with a return laugh, Samantha shaking her head slowly, "As much as I love animals as much as the next girl, I'm not one for hamsters." She considers for a few more moments in silence before leaning close with a degree of intimacy to whisper warmly, "Incidentally, in the future… assume all /fat/ hamsters and animals are with spawn. It tends to help you avoid repeat situations like the one you are currently in."

Ivan allows a series of soft chuckles to escape his lips as he is corrected by Samantha. "Oh really? I confess, I'm not exactly an olfactory expert to be honest. I suppose I'm going to have to take your word for it. Anyway, if you ever feel like taking me up on that offer, I'm Ivan. Ivan Fontane. Do a little digging, and I'm sure you'd find a way to get in touch with me. Moving on, you know why I'm here - but why are you here?"

"Ivan Fontane?" the name plays upon her lips with a curious arch of her brow, "I see…" The young brunette says nothing further as a rather amused smile curls upon her lips. She studies him rather curiously, allowing her gaze to sweep from the top of his unruly curls down to the polish of his shoes before turning slightly to redirect her attentions back to the varying cannisters of incense. Reaching to select yet another, she twirls it between her thumb and forefinger before finally withdrawing a little to present a small amount of space between them, "I've heard about you, though I have to admit, you really aren't at all what I imagined." Pausing, she finally returns back to the question at hand, with a rather amused laugh, "Not quite, I know what it is you were looking for here… but it still does not answer why you would choose this place instead of a supermarket… or why you would favor incense over the standard Febreeze or Reunizit brands." She pauses for a moment before adding as an afterthought, still offering no introduction of her own, "I have to admit I have a weakness for shops like this, though sadly most tend to be a bit too commercial for my tastes."

Ivan is well dressed, as he always is when leaving his apartment. The winter coat he's wearing is dark and classically fashioned, contributing to the sophistication and intelligence he generally projects. Despite this, he's not quite used to being inspected quite so openly, and so her appraisal draws the wry arch of his left eyebrow, and he takes a slow step back from her, his smile becoming knowing. "Would you like me to do a little twirl for you, too? So you can see the full package?" He comments, voice barely above a dry monotone.

"Ah, you've heard about me, have you? I'm assuming negatively, judging by the way you phrased that. So…the question here is from what source." Casually, the man allows his tongue to wet his lips, leaning up against the nearest surface possible while his bemused gaze remains fixated on her. "The internet, perhaps? What should I clarify first? C'mon now, at least give me a hint." When she doesn't offer her own introduction, he grins wolfishly. "Didn't you know, it's rude not to offer your name when someone else has introduced themselves?"

"Well, it is reassuring to see that no modicum of humbleness was wasted on you," the young woman replies with a genuine laugh. His wolfish grin is met with a rather bemused expression of her own, perhaps enjoying the banter a little too much, "Perhaps what you mistake as rudeness is merely caution, Mr. Fontane. After all, I hardly know you from Adam…" Samantha gently reaches with a finger to make a twirling motion in his direction. She maintains the good-natured humor for a few more moments before finally caving slightly, "I don't hold any faith in what the internet has to say, but now that you have mentioned it… I do believe I shall have to google your name and see what pops up, personal curiosity and all."

She falls into silence as the group of goth teens finally pass on by, the one with the grimoire deliberately bumping into her — setting Samantha slightly off balance as she tries to maintain some element of dignity by holding her tongue at their passing. Taking a moment to refocus her thoughts, she eventually gravitates her attentions back towards Ivan with a lift of her hand to finger the pendant around her neck, "Samantha Niveus. Sorry, I mean I am Samantha — but I really do prefer 'Sam'."

"Hardly know me from who?" Ivan offers with a faint laugh, though the gesture she offers prompts the man to snicker and belatedly turn around, his arms held out with the book an incense in one hand. "But, regardless, modesty is for the uncertain. For those who aren't aware of their strengths and weaknesses alike. Those who don't know what they're capable of. I assure you Miss…Samantha Niveus, that if nothing else I know exactly what I have to offer."

Then the children make there way past them, and the deliberate shove is noted in silence. Sobering slightly, he frowns to Samantha. "Why don't you say anything? Would you like me to?" He offers mildly, although he doesn't linger with that thought very long. "Ahem. Anyway, it's nice meeting you, Sam. If not the internet, then the papers, perhaps?"

"A lack of modesty /and/ a healthy ego to boot, hmm?" she muses thoughtfully as a rather impish smile rests her lips. The smile falthers, however, as his offer regarding the teens, "No, it is fine. Honest. If I took offense at every little push or shove sent my way…" her voice grants an elongated pause for a moment of consideration before happily jumping back onto the next topic. His return line of questioning only seems to rekindle the amusement upon the woman's features, her eyes dancing with a hint of playfulness, "While I will admit I rather enjoy the newspaper when it comes to reading, I have little time to toil over any sort of gossip column. Though, your persistence does not surprise me in the least. You really don't like questions you cannot find the answers to, do you?" she muses softly.

Ivan quirks his brow, looking down to Sam with a curvy smile. "Isn't that redundant? Doesn't a lack of modesty imply a healthy ego and vice-versa?" He inquires, rather easily writing off the children as rather unimportant when she seems unfettered by them. But then, she's teasing him about his ignorance, and his brows furrow together, his lips pursing thoughtfully. "Well, you answer that yourself. Do you like knowing that there are secrets being kept from you? Secrets that you ought to have access to, but one good-looking stranger refuses to divulge them?"

"See, Mr. Fontane, that is where we share a difference of opinions. You perceive the secret to be something you /ought/ to have access to… whereas I see it more as a secret that is more insignificant than anything else," Samantha offers softly. Her eyes never lose the vibrant amusement as her lips only curl brighter until a small dimple indents upon her cheek, "Besides, obviously what I have heard cannot have been too dreadful if I am still standing here engaged in conversation with you, now could it?" Slowly she turns a bit to withdraw her gaze from him, slowly starting to wander a little down the way to browse some of the oils with a casual air, "Someone might almost accuse you of caring a bit too much what others think of you, Mr. Fontane. Although, I suppose that is very much one of the downsides of a life spent in politics. After a while, it becomes difficult to tell the genuine folks from the fake ones."

"I never claimed what I had heard was ill-spoken, Mr. Fontane," the admission is softly given as she pauses and looks back upon him with a rather curious tilt of her head, "However, for one who cares overly at what others think of him — I must confess I am surprised to see you in a shop like this." Samantha's gaze slips to regard the book within his hand with a carefully arching brow as she continues smoothly, "…politics can be a cruel way of life, I have to grant you a bit of admiration for your willingness to tolerate all the scrutiny. But I don't envy you your prison, Mr. Fontane." Taking a deep breath, she finally takes a few steps closer to him — closing the distance between them so she can lower her voice to more of a whisper from the others milling about the store, "Luck is little more than placing one's faith and future within their own hands, Mr. Fontane. I am not lucky — merely free, there is a distinct difference." She pauses, her gaze noticeably lowering to regard his tome as she continues, "Knowledge is indeed power but also comes with a great deal of responsibility. Perhaps sometime we might exchange secrets, should we ever meet again."

"Mhmm. Well, I don't believe you." Ivan extols point blank, a surprisingly blank expression on his face. "I don't believe it when you say you don't care for the opinions of others with regards to you. Everyone does, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not." Beat. And on that note, he begins to shuffle on his feet, his gaze wandering over towards the check out table. "Well, I ought to get going, then. Perhaps if we do meet again, we will. Regardless, it was a pleasure, Sam. Oh, and…call me Ivan. Please." With that smile, he begins to duck out.

"Until then, /Ivan/," his name falls from her lips with a soft laugh. Samantha follows his motions for a few moments, almost as if assessing him still, before finally turning to redirect her interest back to the oils. With a practiced touch she begins to collect several of the vials, studying each with a keen eye as she leaves the elder Fontane man to finish his purchase and take leave.

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