Piece of My Heart

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.

Late afternoon, the sun is slowly beginning to descend in the sky. With Spring on the horizon, the days are actually getting longer. Not something that Chloe is terribly looking forward to, but something she will gladly suffer through. Work is providing a distraction from any maudlin thoughts though. A rather boring day all in all. Quiet, not much to shelve.
Sitting behind the circulation desk, she's actually playing a game of solitaire. A puffed out sigh as she loses yet another game, and her chair finally rolls back. "I need something to /do/," she says, to no one in particular.

It's comedic timing at it's best. Just as Chloe pronounces that she needs something to do, Mischa comes strolling into the library with a few returns. He seems to be in good spirits — even as he notices Chloe behind the desk. He slides the books over towards Chloe and leans over the desk. "Busy?" Mischa asks quietly.

Books! Something she can do! Mischa receives the biggest smile /ever/ and she hurriedly takes the books, sorts them on to the /very/ empty cart and then spins back around to face him. "Deader than a doornail. One teenager around lunch, wanting to know if we had sex books, and that's been my day."

Mischa can't help but laugh — and redden — at Chloe's explanation of her day. "Well, naturally. That's all the seem to want. Did you refer them down to…" Okay, nevermind. She's going to want to know how he knows about THAT place and he'll have no response whatsoever. He reaches up to run his fingers through his hair, watching Chloe with a smile. "I didn't figure you'd be working tonight for some reason. Not that I'm not happy to see you. You're my favorite librarian. Don't let Doris know."

"I sent them to family planning because I'm mean," Chloe says with a wink. With her minute amount of work done, she sighs. "Sorry about last night. I really should just quit popping over to your place like that. One of these days you'll wind up having company, and a neighbor coming upstairs in her pajamas is going to be quite awkward."

"Family planning? Chloe, that's evil of you. But very practical! And very embarrassing for them." Mischa shrugs his shoulders a little bit at Chloe. "I didn't mind it, really. If I had, I'd have shown you the door. Hey, want to step away from the desk for a minute? I have something to show you." Mischa asks. Then he pauses and laughs. "It's something outside, and it's not lewd. Promise."

"It will teach them that the library isn't a smut shop," Chloe says of her evilness. "Well if you do mind, just say so, okay? My feelings won't be hurt, I promise." A glance is given around the empty library, then she calls to the back office, "Hey, Doris? I'm heading out for dinner."
"Bring me back a coffee," comes the cry from the office.
"Will do!" Chloe nods to Mischa, "Let's go. I could use a break from the monotony tonight."

Mischa takes the opportunity to wave at Doris before he starts to escort Chloe out to the parking lot. Waiting in the lot is a new Toyota Corolla, maybe fresh off the lot. It's a dark blue that shines in the light nicely and looks like it's just been washed. "We could go get a sandwich somewhere if you want. Or sushi? Whatever you want. Doris sounds like she needs that caffeine boost. Has she been moody today?" Mischa asks, before he motions towards the car. "Your Mister Grant…"

"My Mister Grant? He bought you a car?" Chloe gives her head a shake, then peers at Mischa. "Oh! I'm sorry, I did tell them who you were. He said something about compensation, but I never thought… I mean, wow." Then, without a thought, she turns and quickly gives him a hug. "Oh! I'm so happy for you! This is great news." Then she catches the part about Doris. "She's been Doris today. Definitely needs that coffee, but I've got time to grab a bite. Your choice, my treat."

Mischa shakes his head a little bit at Chloe, grinning at her. "No, but he did cut me a check for… a lot. Almost as much as I earn in a year?" Mischa asks, looking flustered at the mere premise. He reaches out to put an arm around Chloe's shoulders before he squeezes her fully, smiling. "But yes, I guess technically Mister Grant bought me a car. I put the rest of it in the bank. I'm still not sure how to feel about… this." The settlement. The killing. Everything. He unlocks the car and holds the door open for Chloe, smiling at her. "Shall we then?"

"Holy shit." What? It's a lot of money. Considering Chloe makes the same amount as he does, that's just, wow. "So take me for a ride in this baby. Doris likely won't notice that I'm even gone, so long as her coffee makes it back before an hour's up." She looks at the door held for her, and smiles. "Oh, Mischa, you're such a gentleman!" Then into the passenger's side she goes, quickly buckling her seat belt.

"Those were my sentiments, Chloe." Mischa lets out a chuckle as he gets into the driver's side of the car and starts the engine up. Naturally it sounds pretty damned smooth. The beige interior even has that new car smell! He buckles his own seat belt before he starts to pull out of the parking lot. "Hmm. A sandwich it is then. His, uh, something or other came to give me the check. She was quite intimidating. Very beautiful, and very intimidating. Blonde woman. Kept referring to you as the redhead. Anyway, she said that at some point I can ask her for a favor. I'm hoping I'll never have to because…" Isobel makes Mischa's balls ascend into his stomach.

Blonde woman. Chloe furrows her brow, trying to figure out which one it would be. "I don't suppose it was Erica? She's not the epitome of all evil, but she's sort of only working for him to get turned." Her nose wrinkles up and she sighs. "I don't like her, and I don't doubt she'd call me the redhead." In a very condescending manner. "Favors from a vampire are very… well I guess that's the currency they like to use. I mean, they live forever so money becomes moot, I guess."

Mischa shakes his head briefly. "No, her name was Isobel Symon. I think I prefer the money, really. They may live forever, but I'm not going to. If I can live comfortably and help my parents to do so… all the better." The car runs smoothly as expected. Mischa reaches over and flicks the heater on to help combat the February chill, looking into the rearview briefly. "Anyhow, it's way more money than I know what to do with. And she told me if I didn't take it, she would make a direct deposit to my account. I guess there are worse things to be trapped into doing."

"Isobel." Chloe quietly says, "She's the Sheriff now that Mister Grant is the King of Texas." Not that Mischa is supposed to know this stuff, but it's not as though she can talk to her brother about it. "Well I'm glad they compensated you for it. It was dangerous, and you were /so/ sick afterward. It's almost… I want to say 'human' of them to know that you could have been killed aiding them."

"Well. There is that." Mischa says quietly as he pulls into the parking lot of a nearby Subway. The mall is a little too far for his tastes today — not to mention a possible meeting between Chloe and Summer might elicit more unnecessary awkwardness. "We helped him to become the King of Texas in a way, didn't we? That's… well, that's something. Part of me hopes this sort of thing never makes it to any future history books."

"I… somehow doubt it will? At least, not for several hundred years. You know, once the rest of us kooks come out of our proverbial closet and say, 'hey guess what? Vampires aren't the only thing out there'." Chloe admires the interior of the car, playing with the visor, the glove box, and the radio dials just to see how everything works. "It's a great car, Mischa. I think you invested well."

The other librarian chuckles quietly and watches Chloe's fingers roam the dashboard and the various fixtures of the car. He doesn't seem to mind too much as he shuts off the engine and gets out of the car, moving over towards Chloe's door in order to open it up for her. He was taught to have manners! "I'm glad you like it. It has a nice big hatchback for groceries, or in case I need to kill anymore people."

Chloe is unused to such manners! Then again, she's avoided anyone but her brother for the majority of her life. As she gets out of the vehicle, she trips a little, and has to grab onto the edge of the door to keep from crashing into Mischa. "Groceries or dead people. I at least hope if you're deciding on killing people, you think to buy a drop cloth. Blood sucks to get out of upholstery."

Mischa can't help but laugh, helping Chloe away from the door and shutting it for her as he starts to move in towards the restaurant. "I never really thought that killing people would be a bonding experience for co-workers, but there it is." Of course, his voice is kept low as he says this. Eavesdroppers overhearing this conversation would probably take it exactly how it's meant. "Hmm. What are you in the mood for? This is about the only 'fast food' place I'll go to. At least it offers healthy alternatives that don't make me feel like I'm clogging my arteries with all sorts of unmentionables."

"I bet it /is/ a total bonding experience. You know, if we were part of the mob, or mafia or something." Chloe continues with him to the restaurant, then turns to face him. "Honestly? I've never been here. Something healthy would be great, since you know I don't eat right when I'm at home." And she hasn't been eating hardly at all lately when she's not home.

"Do I get to make a recommendation then?" Mischa asks, grinning at her. "Remind me to bring you some of my leftovers later tonight. You could stand to gain five pounds, you know." Way to throw that out there casually, Mischa. He stands away from the counter for a moment as he enters the restaurant and looks to the menu. "I think I'll just have something light. I'm not really hungry right now." He is, but he's craving tuna fish. Straight out of the can, with no fixin's. Something he can't openly admit.

"Sure, you have good taste." When it comes to food, and cars apparently. "Are you kidding me? I'm trying to lose weight." For whatever reason. Likely because all the female vampires seem to be twigs. Bitches. "Light is good. I'll have whatever you are." She bites her lip, then nudges him. "Mischa, you realize there's a lot of mercury in that, right? You should get fresh fish instead."

"Wh-what?" He asks, before he remembers: Chloe is a psychic. Hurrdurr. Sometimes it's easy to forget — like when his mind is a million miles away on that can of tuna he has squirrelled away up in his cupboard. He clears his throat and blushes, rubbing at the back of his neck. "Heh. I… uh. Well, you know." He shrugs it off a bit before he just laughs, stepping up to the counter. He orders two sandwiches, both the same. Turkey, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato. The condiments are left up to Chloe's choosing, but he opts to take his plain. At the cash register, he tries to slyly pay for Chloe's order too. "You don't need to lose weight!" He throws in randomly.

It's very easy to forget that Chloe is a telepath. She doesn't broadcast it all the time, and it /is/ difficult to pick up on Mischa's thoughts. Unless he's really focused on them. "It's cute, don't worry about it." A little bit of mustard is requested, just so that the sandwich isn't so dry. "Hey, I was supposed to be paying, Daddy Warbucks!" Gently, she tries to hipcheck him, but she doesn't make that much more of a deal out of it. "Thanks."

"For the first time in my life, I get to say 'money isn't an object' and mean it." This causes Mischa to let out a quiet 'ha!' before he bumps his hip right back into Chloe's. "Daddy Warbucks? Does this make you little orphan Annie? I really don't like the various things that implies, Miss Cornett." He adjusts his glasses and looks down his nose at her, winking before he receives his change back from the cashier. Two cups are presented to them so that they can fill them with whatever carbonated goodness of their choice, and the sandwiches are wrapped up. "Pick out a table. The Subway is your oyster."

"I've got the red hair, so I suppose?" Chloe doesn't get a carbonated beverage. She gets sweet tea. Because that is how she rolls! "Oooh, something by the window. The sun would be /great/." Drink in hand, she rushes toward the table like a child, and slips into the seat right beside the window.

Mischa opts for the tea rather than the soda as well, although his is unsweetened. He moves towards the table and sits across from her with the food, offering her one of the sandwiches. "Check to make sure that's the right one… I'm not particularly fond of mustard." The cat in him is making a visible mental face. Mustard no no! He takes a sip of the tea and smiles at Chloe. "Still. I don't know if I want to adopt you. Speaking of which, how is your mother?"

"Mustard is fine, and it's that one there." Chloe doesn't need to check, she watched as the person behind the counter put them on the tray. Grabbing it, she starts to unwrap it in front of her, showing it to him. "Oh? What do you want to do with me?" As soon as that's out of her mouth, she looks down at the sandwich, quickly lifts it up, takes a HUGE bite from it and stares out the window. Only when she's done chewing and settling herself down does she say, "According to Mister Donato, she's doing well."

"Good, I'm glad she is." Well, that's awkward. Mischa takes his own sandwich and starts to nibble at it, finally getting into the dig of things. He takes a larger bite and chews it up, contemplating what to say next to Chloe. "There's a meeting for that animal lovers group I'm with soon." Hopefully she'll pick up on his cues. He can't say 'pack meeting' aloud without it sounding funny to anyone who may be listening. "I think that we're going to discuss this Mister Grant issue. I'm a little on edge."

Oh thank /God/ he didn't comment on her weird, blatant question. Chloe seems to relax at that, and then sips from her tea before answering him. "Mama will likely be there. Please tell me how she's doing?" Since apparently, Donato has adopted her sort of. "Don't be on edge. I'll be just a phone call away if they need any more information."

He nods a little bit, smiling at Chloe. "I appreciate that. I'm hoping it's just… a meeting to touch base." But Chloe would be able to pick up on the sinking dreadful feeling he has about it all. The guilt that's still leftover from the warehouse. Poor Mischa is still at odds with what he did, even after the reassurance that they were wholly evil creatures. For a long moment he just stares down at his cup of tea. "Anyways… it'll be okay, right?" He asks, taking another bite of his sandwich.

"It probably is." Chloe reaches a hand out to place on his arm. "You didn't do anything wrong. Mister Grant is good friends with your animal lovers group, so there won't be any difficulties I don't think. It will definitely be okay."

Mischa seems a little more reassured, but for how long again? He counters her hand on his arm with a brief squeeze to her wrist. "One can hope not. You know, Chloe… we should get out some night. I mean, not that going out has ever been my thing either personally…" Then he trails off, looking embarrassed. "Oh. Right. You couldn't really go to a club because of the chatter, could you?"

"Are you asking me out on a /date/?" Chloe stares at him for a long moment, trying to purposefully pry into his thoughts. Bad friend that she is at the moment. "Have you ever been to the Warehouse? My older brother works there. I've gone in a few times, though I generally do avoid it because all I can hear is extremely dirty thoughts, but I've been learning how to block things like that out."

Oh God, IS he asking her out on a date? Mischa blinks a few times. « THAT WOULD BE CHEATING. Would it…? Huummm… » For a few brief moments, Mischa's eyes glaze over before he glances back to Chloe and grins. "I thought it would be more of something to get you out of the house. You should meet more people, you know. Like a nice boy, maybe? One who may be doesn't have kitty hair issues?" He asks, looking down at his sweater and brushing a few silver hairs away from it.

Things apparently change quickly. Chloe just blinks at him. "Maybe I've already met a nice boy, and only realized it too late." Chloe draws her hand back, and nibbles at the sandwich again. "Going out would be fun though, I could definitely use a change of scenery from Mary's."

"Well… did you?" Mischa asks with some concern. Evidently he hasn't put THOSE dots together, as clueless as he generally is. He nods a little bit to her. "Yeah. Hey, there's a jazz club. The music would be nice and sort of loud, but not too loud… and you could try to dance. I mean, you can probably dance… I just have a minor seizure." He takes another bite of his sandwich, stifling a laugh at the last memory of his dancing. God. Awful.

"Looks that way," Chloe says with a nod. Again she focuses on her food. "Cat hair doesn't bother me either. I was actually thinking of getting a kitten for company." Thinking about the jazz club, she nods. "That's a great compromise. I don't think I've been there yet either. The Bass Clef? I hear that there's an old-school jazz band that plays there sometimes."

Nope, still clueless. Perhaps putting some blinders on in this situation. He practically squees though when she mentions a company-kitten. Indeed, his mind is filled with schoolboyish happiness at the prospect of a kitten. "Ohhh, you should! If for no other reason than so that I can come and play with it. I'd get a kitten myself but I'm not sure how it would react to the turtles. They're just so cute you know? I mean, I guess I am biased…" Mischa trails off there and turns back to the girl in front of him. "Yeah, that one. I've heard of it but I've never been there."

The remainder of the sandwich is just slowly wrapped back up. Chloe finishes the tea quickly, which results in a bit of an icy headache, and she makes a face. "Thanks for lunch," she says with a bright, forced smile. "Guess I wasn't as famished as I thought." Beat. "Well it'll depend if the apartment complex allows them or not. I'll have to find out." Beat. "I think I'm going to walk back to the library…"

NOW he realizes. He stands up quickly and moves to intercept her. "Chloe, stop. Let me give you a ride." He pauses, looking unsure of what to do for a moment. "I love you. You're my best friend, Chloe. I don't want to ruin that. I know things have been strange between us lately, but I…" Mischa clears his throat a little bit and looks around the Subway, leaning in to make sure he's a little more quiet. "I think I need you as much as you need me."

He's lucky that in his quick movement he doesn't upend his tea. Chloe stops when she's asked to, but she actually looks like she doesn't know /how/ to reply. Things /have/ been strange between them, and though that is primarily her fault, she takes a deep breath. Words just aren't there though. Even if it's only meant in a friendly way, no one, /no one/ has said that to her before except her brother.

He's said his bit, and he steps aside. He'll let her leave if that's what she really wants to do. And he states as much in the next direct sentence. "If you want to leave still, that's okay. Maybe we need a little bit of space. I'm not really sure. Chloe, I've never had.. a real friend like you. And I don't think you've ever had a real friend like me. It's not unnatural that there's attraction between us."

Another few seconds pass before Chloe seemingly finds her voice. "Don't." She gulps once then watches him. "It's fine. You're right, we might. Christ, I don't even know anymore." A hand rubs over her face, and she looks out the window. "I've never had /a/ friend before, except Bobby, and brothers don't count. I thought it was… it doesn't matter. It honestly doesn't." After all, it's not as if she's not in love with someone else, right?

"Are you going to let me give you a ride, or are you going to be stubborn?" Mischa asks, reaching over to wrap his own sandwich up. Appetite is lost for now. He just feels like a big schmuck, even if he is taking the logical approach. Logical, not exactly romantic or anything though. He awaits her response while standing there awkwardly, looking at her as if he's trying to probe her mind at this point.

"Depends, are you planning on being a caveman and carrying me out of here if I refuse? Because that would be pretty damned amusing." Chloe tries to force cheer into her voice, but it wavers a little. "I still have to get a coffee for Doris. Mind stopping at the Starbucks on the way back?"

Mischa shakes his head and fits his sandwich into one hand, tea in the other. "Of course not. Your chariot awaits you, madam." Mischa starts to lead Chloe out of the restaurant, mentally sighing to himself. « Way to go, Alexandrov. »

As they reach the door, Chloe places her hand on his arm. "Relax, Mischa. It's my own fault." Leaning up, she places a tiny butterfly of a kiss upon his cheek, then lets him lead her toward the car.

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