How to Brighten a Day

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 didn't take too much work to find out where Chloe might be found. Between Bloody Mary's and Jo, Hugo learned that she worked at the library, which is really rather convenient, seeing as how Hugo needs to do some research. Killing two birds with one stone is what this is. Strolling into the massive building, he stands out right away as something other than just the usual patron due to the bouquet flowers in his hand, though he is dressed casually enough in a pair of tight-fitting faded jeans and a blue button down shirt that he hasn't bothered to tuck in. The building is no small affair, so rather than wander about aimlessly in the hopes of just bumping into the woman in question, Hugo's ocean-eyes scan the room till he finds the word "INFORMATION" posted on high. Yeah, he's not there to inquire about the usual sorts of information, but information nonetheless, right?

Though Chloe still technically works at the library, she's spending her last few months here working diligently. Books are shelved to perfection, paperwork is in order, and things have been set in motion for this particular branch to begin allowing vampire patrons by opening their doors at all hours.

She's easily found at the circulation desk, hair down to hide the still fading bruise. The color having turned from black, to purple, now to a strange shade of blue-green. When she spots Hugo, she holds a finger on her right hand up, and finishes typing in the information she was busy with.

"Did you need help with something?" Like always these days, she begins to gently pry into his mind. Mainly to see if he's here to cause issues on behalf of his sister.

A quick smile curls Hugo's lips as Chloe turns out to be far more easily found than first expected. His smile turns into a grin as she holds up a admonishing finger, the man waiting patiently for her to finish the project before her. His mind is not one to project his thoughts loudly. In fact it's more like a deep ocean, only hints and pieces of his thoughts occasionally bobbing to the surface, due most likely to having grown up with a known psychic sister. The only sense she can derive from him is a feeling of pleasure at finding her and the happy thought, "There she is" before Chloe finds herself face to face with a lovely bouquet of irises intermixed with some tiny yellow flowers, baby's breath, and fern leaves, all in a pretty cut glass vase. "Hi there," he greets in a voice warm and pleasant. "These are for you."

First gerbera daisies from Josephine, then roses from Will, and now irises and pretty little yellow flowers.

Chloe just blinks at the vase, blushing profusely. "Hello," she offers, still staring at the vase in a somewhat mystified manner. "They're beautiful, but what on earth are they for?" Really, it should be Marius that is receiving the praise for agreeing to help with the issue, as opposed to her for merely introducing them to someone that could help. Still, she can't help but reach out for the vase to draw it closer and inhale the scent of the flowers.

"I could list any number of reasons and they would all be true. To say thank you for helping me out the other night. To say thank you for dealing with Jo and myself when I /really/ got the sense that it was the last thing you wanted to do, and that perhaps she was the last person you wanted to see. To thank you for bringing us to Marius who I suspect gave you that," he notes with a slight gesture toward her still damaged cheek, "and who you clearly hate. And, if those aren't reason enough, consider it the due of a beautiful woman who has been treated poorly and should be treated better." He smiles as she pulls the flowers closer to sniff them, his eyes gleaming with goodnatured mischief as he rumbles, "See, that's much better than the terrible fake smile you had to put on the other night. True pleasure." Hugo's own cheek as turned toward yellow, the fading bruise hidden beneath the rough stubble cover his jaw to all but in-the-know eyes. "I just wanted to say thank you again for your assistance at what was clearly an uncomfortable time for you."

Any number of reasons, all of which are very much true. Chloe doesn't hate Josephine, per se. She's just extremely wary of the reporter these days. "Ah…" Her hand comes up to her still bruised cheek, and she looks down at the flowers. "You are far to sweet to do this. I just knew who to talk to. Someone who could likely help you with your problem." She furrows her brow a little. "Has the problem been taken care of then? If not, please let me take care of the favor you would owe to Marius." There is no fear (at least not much) of Marius hurting the man, but she's protected where Hugo would not be. "They're beautiful. Flowers are always a wonderful thing to brighten any day."

One brow lifts uncertainly as Hugo replies, "I have not seen Tareq, if that's what you mean. But Marius made it clear that if he interfered it would only be to punish Tareq for infractions against his own kind which, in turn, I would owe him nothing for." He smiles at Chloe, her offer, his gaze bemused as he shakes his head and notes, "I would not let my own sister pay for any debt I might owe, why would I wish or expect you to repay a favor on my behalf?" Leaning one hand on the desk, Hugo smiles warmly at Chloe and shakes his head again at her demure of the flowers. "Not at all. It is the least I could do. Now, if you wanted me to show you my proper gratitude, you should insist that I take you out for dinner. Maybe even dancing." Sure, she might already have a boyfriend, and if so he's sure she'll tell him so. But if not? She is beautiful and interesting and Hugo is already curious about her. He doesn't even mind that she's a psychic… he has nothing to hide. His blue eyes flicker to the flowers before returning to her face. "I'm glad that you like them. It took me awhile to settle on something that was pretty without being cloying or too sweet."

"Ah… because I am already embroiled in their affairs, and the cost to me would be far less than it would be to you." Chloe doesn't elaborate on that, she has no need. At the offer, her cheeks redden again and she clears her throat. "I should warn that I am seeing someone. Though if the offer remains as a friendly venture, it sounds lovely." At least she's polite in her decline, and request. "That is the problem with quite a few varieties of flowers. Too heady, too strong. Beautiful but forceful. I think the irises are just right. They're lovely, and their scent is not overpowering."

Laughing easily and shrugging goodnaturedly, Hugo returns, "Well, you can't blame a guy for trying. But yes, I would like to know more people here in Dallas, make some friends. So if a friendly offer of dinner is acceptable to you, then consider it proffered." There is a natural flicker of disappointment in his mind, but Hugo easily accepts the fact that she is off-limits, his interest in getting to know her in no way diminished by the knowledge that they will never be intimate. "Embroiled in their affairs. That sounds quite … ominous. Hopefully there is a balance, something to be gained by your close association." His gaze lingers on hers thoughtfully, curiously, but he asks no questions, his eyes flickering to the flowers instead. "Purple is also a color of power and indivduality. So elegance, strength, and subtlety. They seemed to suit you." His head cocks to one side as he asks, "So when are you free and where would you like to dine? Your choice. And money is no object, so choose something expensive," he adds with quick teasing smirk.

The disappointment is something that Chloe is very used to picking up on thanks to being able to delve into Mischa's mind. "I would like that, honestly. I don't have dinner out very often with my boyfriend." For the simple fact that he is a vampire and therefore has no need to eat regular food. "So I generally dine alone. The company would be wonderful." A gentle laugh, as she brushes her fingers delicately over the tops of the flowers. "It likely sounds more ominous than it is. There is always something to be gained from any association. In this instance, it's likely a renewed sense of history and knowledge, something that I enjoy quite a bit." As he speaks of the color purple, she smiles. "It is also often used for royalty. Are you telling me that you think I have royal airs?" Her voice is teasing, and playfully so. "I've lived in Dallas my entire life and I don't think I've been anywhere more expensive than the Sakura Sushi House, so I'd have to defer to you for choice if you want something exorbitantly expensive."

Hugo has a very pragmatic outlook on relationships and as such rejection is not a huge onus to him. For every no there will be multiple yeses in the future. "Well, there you go then. It's a perfect match!" There are times that Hugo wishes he had his sister's talent, but instead he has to rely on his eyes and bodylanguage to inform him of what others might be thinking of. "Having come from NY, I know what you mean I think. Some people find that city a bit frightening and overwhelming, but once you've lived there, once you know it, you wouldn't want to part with it for the world, despite its not inconsiderable dangers." He chuckles and flashes Chloe a mischevious look as he counters, "Perhaps I think you should be treated like royalty? And in defense of that theory I will do some research and find you a restaurant fit for a queen." One hip tilts, leaning against the desk as he notes, "Which brings me to my other purpose here, one where you can help me. I need to do some research on Dallas. Old history. Tribes that used to live here, their beliefs and traditions. The history of the people that settled here, what cultures they originated from, and also a look at what traditions and cultures, have survived over the years and how they are expressed today. I figured you might have some particular books that you could recommend? I'm searching for the heartbeat of Dallas, which I am sadly finding elusive to capture…" His eyes are earnest, shining blue in contrast to his dark hair, very compelling as he asks, "Or maybe the heartbeat cannot be found within the pages of books, but perhaps you can help me despite that?"

Technically it wasn't a no, so much as it was a 'yes I'd love to, but…', which is probably easier to deal with then flat out rejection anyhow. "Indeed it is." Everything else is left alone as she hears him wax about royalty, and she can't help but laugh at that particular counter. He is appealing to her desire to appear a tad more important than she really is. "That's really very sweet of you, Hugo. I have a feeling that you know just what to say to make a girl more pliable."

Winking at him, as though she's just found his hidden secret, she adds, "It's true. I love Dallas, and it's big city sprawl, but I love the feel of down-home attitude you get here. I doubt I'd get that in New York, and I'd be lost and quite overwhelmed." Though she'd likely be able to blend into society there well enough given several weeks.

"History? I know just the books to take you to, though most are reference material and can't leave the library, we do have a few that would help you with the traditions. Otherwise, we have a photocopier." Like most any library. "If that's not helpful enough for you, maybe I can elaborate a bit over dinner? I don't know how helpful I'd be, since I'm not a true historian. I just like books."

Laughing warmly, Hugo shrugs, not denying her claim that he knows how to woo a woman. Hugo has always enjoyed the company of women, both intimately and as friends. He's always been comfortable and confident around them and, lets face it, he enjoys spoiling others. "Oh, no," he counters with a waggle of his finger. "I am most definitely not /sweet/. Generous, sure, but not sweet." Reaching into the satchel at his side, Hugo draws out a sketch book and a note book, replying, "I was planning to stay here and work, so reference books are fine. But yes, I would love to hear your take on Dallas, what it means to you, what makes is special to you. The more I'm here, the more I begin to suspect that I need to find the heart of this city in the people who love it. New York is easy - the heartbeat there is so loud it pounds at you through the pavement. Dallas is proving to be more elusive. I think its heartbeat must be hidden inside the true Texans who live here."

"Most would not like my take on the city, as it hasn't exactly been kind to me. It is home, it is comfortable, and that's pretty much all there is to it." Chloe is simply set in her ways, afraid to leave the city especially now with the drama surrounding her mother, and the potential for her to remain here forever. "I'll agree though that Texans are not like those from other states. We're pretty much our own species altogether in the way we think and feel. You may actually want to head out to Fort Worth some time. Enjoy a real 'cowboy' type take on things. They've got a few places there that will make you feel more Texan, that's for sure." Though she's not one to frequent such establishments too much, as the tourists there are astronomical and keeping her mind closed to all those minds is still difficult to her.

Rising from the desk, she makes her way around so that she can lead him to the reference section and find the exact books she's thinking of. "A sketchbook? You're an artist then?"

Flashing Chloe a quick and wry smile, Hugo notes, "There is beauty in the darkness. I like to portray all sides of a place and its people in my work. The light illuminates the darkness, the darkness contrasts to show the light. Both are necessary to make good art. New York is not a 'kind' city. It's heartbeat is the thumping, pounding, adrenaline rush of a junkie or someone running for their life." His head tilts thoughtfully as he muses, "See? I was right about you. Sweetness doesn't suit your temperment." He nods silently at her suggestions, following along in her wake, nodding once again at her question. "I am. Jo didn't tell you that? Well, I'm guessing you're not exactly 'friends' so I guess that isn't too terribly surprising. It's the whole reason I'm here, though. I'm doing a Dallas exhibition. All new work, specifically created to reflect the city of Dallas, or at least my take on it."

"Your sister and I are, what I would probably call, fairweather friends. At the moment, things are a bit stormy." It is a good summarization of their relationship to say the least. "You'll definitely find the true hearbeat of Dallas in an authentic Texan bar. We're not so small a city that we don't have our fair share of junkies, but we also have the ranchers, and the Texan cowboys. The country music. It's a true pulse."

His musing causes her to laugh again as she pushes past the small gate into the reference section. "I can be sweet when I want to be. I believe the term I'm more often called though would be 'shrill'." The thought of a Dallas exhibition makes her smile. "Will it be shown at a gallery here, or will it be going back to New York with you?"

A long, amused, rolling chuckle rumbles from Hugo's throat at Chloe's description of her relationship with Jo. "Yeah, she's definitely a catalyst for some bad weather at times…" he concurs with an unrepentant smirk, following the librarian through the gate as he listens and nods at her reply. It wasn't quite what he meant, but he gets her drift as well and once again wonders if he'll be able to do this city justice, or if his love for NY will make it impossible for him to see, let alone capture, the heart of Dallas. "Oh, shown here, most definitely. I'll be living here, working, through the year. The show is scheduled for early next year." Drawing up next to her, Hugo glances down and notes, "It's not a question of being sweet, so much as enjoying too much sweetness. Methinks you're a bit too practical and perhaps even jaded for sweetness?" One brow lifts as he counters, "Shrill? Hmmmm, that wouldn't be the adjective that I would have chosen. I haven't heard you squeal once yet."

Chloe is far from an artist, so getting the exact meaning without drilling into his noggin is going to be difficult for her. "You'll be able to capture the city just fine," she remarks without thinking about it. Quickly she adds, "Once you see more of it. I'm sure I could introduce you to some people that could do the city more justice than I can. I generally just hide in here." There is a beat, a small one. "I can, if you'd like, see if there's a vampire in the area that would be willing to share the history as they've lived it? At cost to me, as there's a project I'm trying to work on as well that this would help me out with."

Practicality is a strong suit with Chloe, definitely. "Well don't get me wrong," she says being as honest as possible, "I do enjoy the sweetness from time to time, but it's really hard to see the sweetness and enjoy it when where it is coming from is a dark and twisty place." She's been in many situations where that's the case. "You just haven't had the opportunity to make me either exceedingly angry or jealous. I assure you I have a tendency toward the shrill in those instances." At least she has been told she does.

He smiles softly at her apparent trust in his abilities without even knowing him or his skill as an artist, or perhaps that is just one of those reassuring things that people say even if they don't really mean it. "I would love an introduction, if there is anyone you think that might be a valuable resource, or just an interesting person." Hugo also hesitates for a beat before replying, "I would not wish you to do anything that might put you in jeopardy or a difficult situation. What would the cost to you be? And what project are you working on?" He studies Chloe's profile, eyes resting on her bruised cheek as he notes, "I'll do my best to only offer you sweetness from places well-lit and corridor-straight and avoid making you either angry or jealous, though I suspect that the latter would be impossible, considering that you're attached to someone else." His lips thin into a thoughtful repose before he returns, "I will for now hold judgment on your 'shrillness' factor until it can be proven."

One doesn't need to know a person, or their level of skill. Especially when one can see confidence in their talent. A lot of the time that is all that matters. A lack of confidence makes shoddy work. "I'll see what I can find. There's also the DAR you can talk to, though I'd actually have to find their contact information. I'm not a member." Though she could likely trace her ancestry back, it never really interested her. She doesn't fit in with those women in the least. "Very little in comparison," she offers by way of cost. "Sort of a collective history. Information that can be written down as it's told to me. I suppose something like the fairytales of old. Passed down by word of mouth, and then written into a book." Not an entire truth, but she's getting increasingly good at lying to people. "There are many types of jealousies, though I do think the shrill types are reserved for the man in my life, yes." Grinning, she moves to a shelf not far from the tables where she led him, and begins to draw down a few of the larger leatherbound tomes.

Hugo does exude confidence, mostly because he believes in what he makes. He isn't famous by choice so much as accident. New York happens to like his art, so now he gets to enjoy the fame and money that comes with that appreciation. But he doesn't make what he thinks the world wants to see, he makes what he believes the world needs to see, what is in his heart and mind. "Don't go out of your way," he offers in return, relaxed and easy in the end. "But sure, if you think my 'cover' of being an artist would in turn help you to collect the information that you're looking for, and so long as you won't be owing any favors or debts or onuses by doing so, then by all means introduce me and use me if you like. It certainly sounds much like what I am looking for as well. The mythology of a place and people. The truth of it." He places his satchel and books on a nearby table and then turns, helping her by taking the books that she draws down from her, placing them on the table before returning to accept the next one. He handles them carefully, especially the older and more fragile they appear. "Of what might you be jealous of me then?" Hugo asks with a mix of curiosity and amusement.

"I honestly don't mind the favors, or debts, or onuses." Since they generally could use her abilities any time they wanted anyhow, if they just asked. Chloe has no fear of vampires, and not just because she's been willingly claimed either. She quite likes them because being around them is the only silence she is able to have in her mind. "But I'll see if I can't find someone that just wants to tell their story, their history, and share it with the world. No promises of course, since some vampires can be fairly secretive, but I'll see what I can do." When the collected books are set upon the table, the pages are flipped through until she gets to the history sections. The general stuff. Then she moves on to another set of books for the Native mythology. "Likely your artistic talent, and your ability to be at ease with the world. Normal."

Hugo is stil a trifle uncertain, his desire for his art superceding his logical and rational mind for a moment before he answers, "Whatever works. But any price due is mine." Not that he would likely have any value to a vampire besides a quick snack, but you never know. "Perhaps there is one that might like to me immortalized on the canvas as well as life," he jokes wryly, more kidding than serious, doubting any vampir would desire any immortality beyond the one they already possess. "But please, don't feel you must go out of your way." He opens one of the books in question, fingers running over the pages delicately, tracing the words there as he asks, "And what should I be jealous of you for?"

"That is actually a splendid idea. Perhaps that could be the price you offer to them? To capture their likeness in your style of art? I think that any creature that lives as long as vampires do, would possess a bit of vanity." Smiling, she carries over the books on mythology, and then goes to the last shelf in the section, taking down two books which are wrapped in cloth. They should be in the restricted section, but were left out here earlier by one of the universities history classes.

"No one should ever find themselves jealous of me. They would be wasting their time," Chloe replies with a grin. The last two items are placed before him. "Journals from the American Revolution. You may find some of the anecdotes in them useful for your cause. Just be very careful with them. Doris would have my hide if anything were to happen to them. They're fairly new acquisitions."

Chuckling softly, Hugo hmmmmms and muses, "I suppose that could be true. Interesting that vampires seem to put such a high price on everything." He starts scanning the books, turning pages and going quiet as he starts to read them, his attention now only half upon what Chloe does and says. But his head lifts at her measure of herself, frowning and countering, "I'm sure that isn't so. You have talents, and I'm not speaking of the most obvious one," he notes with a small touch to his brow, hair falling over it and into his eyes as he looks up at her. "You shouldn't sell yourself short, Chloe." His gaze then drops to the last two books with interest asking, "Do you have gloves?" As an artist, he knows about such things, knows that such tomes are best handled with gloves so as to be protected from even the oils of his fingertips, let alone any other materials. "I will be very careful with them, so Doris does not need your hide to rebind them," he teases. "It would be a shame to use such a lovely hide for such means as covering a book."

Prices aren't very high, but a favor for a favor is a currency that can be used at any time during their immortality. It's a sound bartering system when you may live forever. "Knowledge of the Dewey Decimal system is hardly a talent," she scoffs, neither confirming, nor denying what he may think he knows, or what Josephine may have told him. "We keep boxes of them in the restricted section, where these should honestly be. I'll slip back there and grab you a few pairs." A few, in case he feels like taking a pair off and perusing another book before going back to the journals." A faint laugh escapes her at that, and she shakes her head. "I think you're one of those incorrigible types." Waggling her finger at him sternly, she starts to slip beyond the reference section to the door that seals a few of the more delicate tomes in the library. There are not many, but what they do have is kept under lock and key.

Hugo knows nothing, just finds that most people tend to devaluate themselves when they in truth have much to offer. "No," Hugo returns with a wry smirk, "that definitely sounds more like a curse to me. There are so many better things to have a head full of." When she pegs him, Hugo simply grins unrepentantly and waggles his eyebrows before waggling his fingers at her. "I prefer to think of it as unrealistically optimistic," he returns impishly, his hands taking up one of the other, less fragile tomes for the moment, eyes dropping to the pages to pour over it quietly and thoughtfully. It's like a lightswitch, his mode shifting from playful flirting to serious contemplation in a second and then easily back again.

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