Summer's evening

PFSC - Cerebral Deli

A rather unique book shop, the Cerebral Deli prides itself on being able to feed both mind and body. Several deli-style tables have been set up near the entrance, the linoleum flooring shining beneath them. An old deli counter acts as the checkout, behind which is a large chalkboard sign denoting all the new and upcoming book releases, as well as pricing for coffee, tea, the odd sandwich and other small items.
Upon climbing three stairs, one enters a carpeted area filled with shelves and stacks of books. These books are fitting to every genre that one could possibly hope to find, including a smaller section for rare or now-out-of-print books. A couch and two chairs can be found at the back of the shop, near the window. A comfortable place to ensure the potential purchase is the right book, or catch up on a spot of homework.

With no surgeries to take care of this afternoon, and only a few minor emergencies, Summer has managed for once to get out of Rutherford early, and make her way to the shop. A good thing, since the new stock was due in today and with Toby being the only one to be working both the shop and the deli, he wouldn't have been able to handle it otherwise.

Accompanying the new stock are aprons — aprons with the image of a brain filled with quotes from classic novels. Summer has one of these tied around her body at the moment as she works to unpack the boxes atop one of the deli tables.

"Hey, Toby? Why do we have ten copies of Freakonomics? Really think it's going to sell?"

Toby just grunts, and goes back to making sandwiches behind the counter.

Brett Coleman is seated at a table with a tuna salad sandwich on a plate before him, a couple of bites taken out of it, having arrived about fifteen minutes earlier. He's one of the few patrons of the deli that has a request in for the new book by Ron Chernow about Alexander Hamilton. All he needs now is for Toby to find it. Even with the packing sheet, which box where is still a hit or miss.

Fine by him. Coffee and a sandwich does him fine for the moment. In the weightier book's stead, Brett has the new issue of Batman, DC comics. Not that he's reading it, however. Just.. good enough that he has it, and for the moment, it's out of the way of crumbs and coffee stains.

The door to the deli opens, and a gust of wind blows in, disturbing a few napkins on the tables closest to the door. Corey Coleman steps in, shaking off a bit of rain with an almost canine flick of his head. He takes a moment to glance around the shop, noting tables, noting Summer's activity… noting his brother.

He lifts a hand in greeting, though he first angles towards the counter to put in an order with Tony before making his way across the room to him. "Figures you'd be here," he says, pulling out a chair, completely uninvited, turning it around, and straddling it.

Spying the comic book, he immediately picks it up and starts leafing.

"Issue any good?"

A glance is given over the shoulder to Brett and she sighs. The book is definitely not in this particular box. Rather than dig through it any more, for fear of finding some other freakish orders that Toby has placed, she wipes her hands on the apron. A nod and a smile is given to both men as she approaches the table. "Haven't found it yet, but did you want a refill?" Her gaze shifts to Corey, and she asks, "And can I get you anything?"

Chances are the order may just be yelled out. The book shop is smaller than a lot of the stores in the mall, but that's not why Summer does it. She does it because it amuses Toby, and whatever amuses Toby is a good thing.

Looking up at his brother's entrance, Brett knows better than to pull the comic book away. Guilty pleasures, and all that. Well, that and something akin to a slap fight would begin for it. "Nah. Tommy's not drawing for it anymore, so it's a waste. Not sure why I still bother." He does make the gratuitous pull however, "Don't get it wet."

Brett smiles as he turns his attention to Summer, his shoulders slumping a little. But not too disappointed, however. Dry. In a good shop, and even with his brother, company's not too bad. "It's okay. Not in any rush. I'm actually enjoying looking at the titles on the spine. Who would read 'Freakonomics'? He shakes his head, amused, and changes tack. "But a refill would be be great." He thumbs towards his brother, "One for him too, please?"

"Hey. Coffee'd be great," Corey says, flashing Summer a warm grin. There's a pastrami on rye coming for him at the counter. So, he's in no rush to add to the immediate order.

"And, I won't get it wet," he says, rolling his eyes at his brother. He thumbs through another couple of pages, lays the book down to look at the center spread, and grins. "This is a Jim Lee book, isn't it?" he asks, flipping back to the cover to check. "Cool. He's cool."

Yeah. Brett's comic book collection has Corey's fingerprints all over it. This is no secret.

"TOBY," she calls to the deli counter. "Two coffees!" Two fingers on her right hand are held up, and she winks at the guys. "Coming right up, boys."

Now, to an outsider, that would likely be considered rude. To anyone that frequents the shop enough, they know it's a family run business and there's a lot of teasing going on between the two Houstons.

Skirting around the tables, she makes her way to the counter where she holds a whispered conversation with her father, glancing back at the two men briefly. With a nod, she decides to wait for the sandwich to be finished before making her way back for the delivery.

"Thanks," comes in response to the 'updated' order. Brett smiles lopsidedly at the acknowledgment and the friendly wink. "You've got the 'Bean beat, hands down for the coffee.

"Yeah" Brett's attention is brought back by Corey's question. "It is. Lines are a little harsh, but I'm willing to hold out until after he and Frank Miller finish their run before I give up on it." As if that'd ever happen? Like women and their soap operas, even if it's "given up", there'll always be that little ear and the occasional 'catch up' edition purchase. Not that the storylines veer much like soap operas.

"Oh— speaking of the 'Bean. You know vampires actually go to coffee houses too?" There's an amused, almost theatric look of incredulity to his expression. "I mean.. sure.. bars, babes, maybe even a club.. but a coffee house?"

Corey laughs, now. "Why not? I mean… where can't they go? A church, maybe, I guess…" But, what's he know?

He closes up the comic book, now. He'll crash at Brett's new house sometime soon, no doubt, and catch up with the rest of the story then.

'Cause, yeah. Sci-fi and comic books… Helluva lot more interesting than Days of Our Lives or Y&R… or whatever it is girls get off on.

"Welcome," Summer says, returning with two black coffees, the sandwich, and a nice creamer and sugar set. An amazing feat considering she's only got two hands. The woman is definitely moving with a lot of grace and finesse — a lot more than should be attributed to a waitress of any sort. "By the way, Toby wanted me to inform you that it's on the house."

A cheerful smile is shone on Brett afterward. "Thanks! Toby'll be tickled pink to hear that. We tend to get a different clientele than the Bean, mostly because we're in the mall, but…" It will still make her father happy to hear that.

After placing the items on the table, she turns back to the boxes so that she can continue to dig through for Brett's order. "I don't know why it's so surprising. They were likely going to these places before they revealed themselves to the world, they just had to work harder at blending in." Where else would they have picked up their "food"? Coffee shops are just as busy as bars at some times.

"Oh?" Brett looks honestly surprised, "Um.. thanks." A look is given to Corey; this means, to assuage any sense of guilt, the tip will likely be more than the meal. Looking for the man in question, he offers the man his gratitude as well, "That's really nice.. thank you."

Grabbing a couple packets of sugar, he foregoes the creamer. Shaking the packets so when he opens them, the contents don't go spilling all over the table, he tears open the tops and dumps the sugar in one pour and lets osmossis do the stirring. "Yeah.. the co-eds probably don't get this far." In Brett's observation, the 'Bean is filled with the college crowd.

"Well, it's surprising in that you— well, I'd normally associate vampires with the whole 'underground' thing. Girls going around cutting themselves, goth, playing with the whole notion of dancing on the edge of life and death.. and 'coffee house' just doesn't mesh well with my stereotypes." He grins soon after, the action once again slightly on the lopsided side, blue eyes gleaming in amusement. "Darn it."

Turning slowly and deliberately to Corey, his hand raises, "They do… church, that is. Found one there too. Church. Holy water and all. Last night." Brett offers the obvious gesture of 'crossing his heart', "I swear."

"Thanks," Corey grins, as Summer sets everything down. Yeah. She's good. No question about that. His head cants some, but he doesn't frequent the place nearly as regularly as his brother. Has a lot to do with the fact he's not often at the mall. Still, it's a nice place.

He much prefers the deli side to the book side, though, truth be told. Comic books are about his speed… though he'd no doubt surprise even his brother in the architectural and home reno sections of the place.

It's all a matter of personal passions. Books for books' sake? Not so much…

He arches a brow, however, at his brother's crossed heart. "You're yankin' my chain," he says. And he'd be sure of it, too, were it not for the fact that he can read his brother like, well, a book. "You're not yankin' my chain."

There are reasons behind the free food and coffee, but there was a very distinct "keep your damned mouth shut" about it when she was up at the counter, so she's not going to relay her father's suspicions. "Welcome," she offers to the both of them.

A small exacto knife is taken from an apron pocket, and she slices through the tape on the next box. After popping it open, she pulls out a few smaller books peering at them curiously. Then continues to dig deeper into the box.

"You'd be surprised. We get a really odd mix here." Though amusingly the majority of return customers are either from the Pack, or just random were's and shifters. "You shouldn't let stereotypes be your basis for judgment," Summer says gently. Really, it's not as though she looks the part of a bookworm, or a typical bookstore employee. Yet here she is. Granted, it's volunteer work, but that's beyond the point.

Brett shakes his head, "I swear to God, Bro.. Last night. "St. Cecelia's. Holy water. Made the sign of the cross and everything." He whistles softly. "When I saw him, I about died.. and, of course, now I wonder what else those damned legends are wrong about." The last bit is said with his grin returning.

"What's next? Zombies?"

Brett looks to the still as-of-yet unidentified Summer and looks a little chastened. Not by much, though he does give her the deference due a lady. "I see them in their nascent stage. High School. Unfortunately for them, they -want- to be walking stereotypes. That, believe it or not, is their goal. Then, they wonder why everyone treats them the way they do."

His voice rises, if only a little when her attention is on the boxes. "I'm Brett, by the way.. This here is my brother, Corey."

Corey arches a brow at his brother. "Who?" Which vampire, he wants to know. Not that he'd actually very likely know him. Brett's been in the city longer than he.

Then, of course, Brett makes the introductions. "Hey," he smiles to Summer. "Nice to meet you." Even if he hasn't got a name for the woman, yet.

"Gotta admit," he says. "I may have to make more of a habit of coming here. I don't think I've ever been comfortable in a bookstore, before."

A beat. Another grin.

"Must be the pastrami." That, and these people just seem cool.

He doesn't usually put a lot of stock in stereotypes… but the whole vampire thing has him a little flummoxed. Up until a handful of days ago, he'd not met even one that he was openly aware of… Since then, the numbers seem to be climbing steadily.

"Summer," she offers.

"Aha!" Down at the bottom of children's storybooks, is the one book that Brett requested. Odd place for it, and she's grateful that she didn't give up on this box before digging right down to the bottom. Gently tearing the plastic from it, she flips it open to remove the store's invoice paper and then brings it over to the table.

"Sorry about that. I honestly have no clue who packs these things, but I find myself surprised every week or two when the shipments come in." Shaking her head, the book is offered out to him.

"Toby has a habit of making all of his shops feel more like home than anything else." They've always felt like home to her anyhow. A shifted gaze to the deli shows that the non-verbal Toby has disappeared somewhere else for a while.

"I really hope that there aren't zombies on the horizon." It's honestly all she can do to handle everything she knows about already. "I'll concur that some of them want that stereotypical appeal, as they quite likely figure that they'll be more widely accepted if they come off as something familiar." She hmms softly. "Though I personally judge them all on an individual basis, as I have a sinking suspicion that many of them really can't be trusted."

Brett's neglecting his tuna salad, but that's really okay. If he doesn't touch it again, he'll just get it wrapped and ready to go. Something to snack on later. He knows he's got his brother's attention, and fully at that, but this just isn't one of 'those' times where he strings things along. Nope. Brett is easily cataloging this under 'self preservation'. Squarely under that heading.

"A vampire named Michael. He had just finished lighting candles and was coming up the aisle when I was going down. And I swear, he dipped his fingers in the water and made the sign of the cross." Brett knows what he saw, certainly.

"I wanted to talk to him after, and he was amenable." He pauses, taking a deep breath. "And he pretty much said what you just did, Miss Summer. All individuals, so even he can't vouch for any that he may not be completely familiar with."

Brett's attention is divided, but when she discovers his book, his book OCD kicks in. Reaching for it with a broad smile, he takes it from her. "This is great. Read a lot of good reviews on it. Was only published end of last month."

What? Corey's going to start making one of his somewhat infrequent hangouts one of his own? Oh, hey!

"Oh, hey.. you don't like books, bro.." That's not to mention that there could be a little brotherly rivalry for the attention, however professional, of a lovely lady? "Remember?"

"Then, Tony's a good man," Corey says in response to Summer, flashing a smile. He's not actually hitting on her, really. Believe it or not, he DOESN'T hit on every woman he sees. After all that'd make him a jerk. And he doesn't like to think he's a jerk. Who does?

In any case, his comment about Tony is genuine. And it's not that there's likely anyone around that would dispute the claim. Especially not in the man's own territory. But, then, Corey really believes it. A guy that's a jerk can't make a place feel like a home. And he builds homes for a living.

Corey's head cants, however, as Brett suddenly starts throwing up the red flags. "But, I like pastrami," he says, his grin turning into a lopsided, teasing one. Now who's yanking whose chain?

"And I like books that are written about actually cool things, not boring things." He grins to Summer. "You know… books on architecture and design. Cool stuff."

The sibling teasing doesn't go unnoticed, and it's one of those things that causes Summer to wish she'd had the opportunity to have a sibling. The thought is completely fleeting, since she's smiling again as she starts replacing the children's story books back in the box so that she can drag them over to the section later and place them properly on the shelves.
"Careful, you're going to inflate his ego, and I'll never hear the end of it," she responds to Corey. "Oh, we have a great selection on those. Habit from Santa Fe." Where one of Toby's friends worked as an architect. "Feel free to come in any time and browse."

"I honestly haven't had a lot of time to read reviews on anything new lately." Between her two jobs, and spending time with Mischa, it's a wonder she's got time for reading at all anymore. "So I do hope you enjoy it. You'll have to come back and tell me if it actually lives up to the reviews."

"I'll second Tony's praises," Brett adds, finally taking the first sip of his refilled coffee. "It really is a comfortable place." In a way, actually more comfortable than it should be, on the outside. Nothing he can ever put his finger on, of course, but there is that .. ease. Ease? Comfort. "But," he ducks his head and lowers his voice theatrically, "quietly?"

Brett chuckles at Corey; the brothers have always been close and remain so. "Pastrami is good.. though I like their tuna." He pulls a face, and chuffs softly, "History's not boring. What do you think architecture is?"

So there, nyah?

"I'll let you know after I read it, promise." His attention comes back around quickly and easily to Summer. "Library Journal gave it a good review, as did Kirkus. So.." A shrug lights his shoulder briefly, the gesture offhand.

"Oh, hey.. but, I'm sorry. I have classes tomorrow, and—" He's taken notice of the time, and it's moving a little too rapidly. "Miss Summer, if I could just grab a paper or something to wrap it? Newspaper is good, too. I'll just pay for my book," and leave that hefty tip that should more than cover the food and coffee.. "and thank Tony, if I see him on the way."

Michael… Now that the teasing of his brother is done, Corey registers his earlier comment. "Michael…" he says aloud. "Y'know… I think I met him…"

Nevertheless, he pushes back from the table. "And for the record: History is a lotta bad dates and dead guys. And Mrs. Meredith's pop quizzes every time anyone blew off the class."

He turns to Summer, gathering up the half sandwich he has left. "This is terrific. Thank Tony for us, huh? I'll definitely stop in again."

"Very quietly," Summer offers with a laugh. She moves back to the table from the books, and takes up the tuna sandwich. She'll wrap it properly at the counter while ringing him out. Wrapping it in paper just won't do. She reaches beneath the counter to take out an environmentally friendly triangular cardboard sandwich box that she slips the sandwich into after slipping on a pair of gloves.

The book is rung up, and the sandwich box handed over to Brett. "I think Toby's in the back, but I'll pass along the thanks."

Noting the half sandwich Corey is taking with him, she offers him out a little cardboard sandwich box as well. "Any time guys! Take care and enjoy the rest of your day." So much better than "thank you come again" or "have a nice day".

And once the brothers are gone, she just goes to tidy up the table, and start shelving the new stock.

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