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The Luck of the Fae (IC)


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Silberman's Books, at the corner of Pratt and Frederick. Friday, March 17th, 2017. 11:00 am.


Lynn Epstein didn't really get St. Patrick's Day; her mom was Jewish, and her father, who despite his last name was primarily raised Catholic, was essentially Jewish-Italian. She'd gone to Jewish schools throughout her childhood, so it was never part of her family life. Atlantic City had a parade down the Boardwalk, but her family always avoided it due to the presence of 'drunken hooligans' as her mom put it.


But sadly when you work in retail, there are certain expectations from the public around major or even minor holidays, so while Silberman's Books didn't go all out, a few changes were made to the store for the week. A table of books on Irish history and Celtic mythology was set up near the entrance; it wasn't too crass, and the books selection was actually pretty varied. The changeling had conjured some tasteful decorations around the store, typically modeled on early 20th century designs as Lynn felt they were less intrusive. And lastly she'd made some special green Silberman's aprons, dark green with the store's name in a white Celtic font; even Gretchen who was usually annoyed by such things admitted they looked pretty good.


Otherwise the store looked much the same as usual: bookshelves full of used books, posters of famous stage magicians on the walls, the magazine rack and newspapers up front, tables and chairs for reading and the consumption of food and drink, and the combined front counter/coffee bar. The store was fairly empty, as much of Freedom was engaged in various St. Pat's activities, so it was only the die hard coffee drinkers out and about. Gretchen was working the bar and counter this morning, although right now she was sitting perched on her high stool near the register, reading Dostoevsky's The Idiot in the original Russian thanks to her magic glasses. She was also playing The Pogues over the store's sound system, her one contribution to the day's celebrations.


However, the store's owner did have someone coming in for an interview this morning; hopefully they'd be a good fit. Currently she was in her office checking email.

Edited by Heritage
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"Brushed your teeth?"








"Ate your breakfast?"




It hadn't been a great morning for Leon. Well afternoon, more like. He had planned to wake up nice and early, but, somehow, his alarm had failed to wake him up. This meant that, at the ripe hour of ten, Ginny had banged on his door and he had zombie-shuffled to and fro in a state of lethargic panic. He had dressed to kill slowly, in his most okay grey jacket, a green shirt, basic pants and his ratty sneakers. Taking pity on him, his sister had shoved a coffee into his hand before pushing him into her car.


So now here he was, shuffling out into the parking lot three-fourths awake and being mothered by his older sister like it was his first day of school. He shut the door behind him, grumbling as Ginny said something about him 'growing up so fast,' and waved half-hardheartedly as she drove off. Annndd that was when the nerves hit.


He shoved both his hands into his jacket pockets (it was kinda cold out today..) and moved toward his first ever job interview. Kind of an important one as well, he was actually interested in working at a bookstore, both because he liked books, but also for more....personal reasons.


Scuffing his shoulder against the door as he moved inside, he took a glance around. It was nice, warmer than it was outside. At the closest counter was a woman serving coffee not dissimilar to the one he held in his hand. Actually, she looked a lot like how he pictured a barista would look in general with the glasses and all. Some indie rock band he had never heard before blared on the sound system.


Moving over to a nearby corner by a Saint Patrick's Day display, Leon began subconsciously flicking his thumb against his palm. Was it hot in here, or was it just him?



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Finally noticing the fidgety young man, Gretchen looked up from her book and scowled; not another shoplifter! She put a bookmark in to mark her page, set the book aside and cleared her throat before calling out, "Can I help you?"


The young woman did indeed look a bit like a stock photo of a barista, though she'd probably claim it was ironic; in addition to the standard issue black framed glasses, she had a lot of metal in her ears, and with her vintage bowling shirt over her Charlie Brown T-shirt, she could have come from from Central Casting. But despite all this, her tone was not entirely devoid of friendliness, and there was a hint of curiosity in her heavily-kohled eyes..

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Shoving his hands into his Jacket pockets to help hide his nerves, Leon turned toward the voice. It was the girl at the counter. He glanced around once more, this time noting that the store was basically empty. With a sigh, he stepped up toward the girl.


"AH, y-yes, I'm, uh, I'm Leon. Leon Angles. That's uh, you say it like Ohn-gleh, it's spelled like A-N-G-L-E-S on the sheet, but it's, it's french..." The more he spoke, the more harsh his accent became, and the more hard to make out he became. He cleared his throat to halt his floundering and collected his thoughts.


"Sorry, sorry. Got a lot of, caffeine in me right now and also I'm, uh, super nervous! I'm the interview, I-I'm not late, am I?"

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Gretchen (her name tag was clearly visible pinned to her store apron) looked over her shoulder at the clock on the wall behind her, which showed the time to be 11:03. "You're fine. I'll take you in back to see her." Her accent placed her somewhere along the New England coast, possibly Maine. She came out from behind the counter, her well-worn pair of Doc Martin's clomping on the wooden floor as she Leon him across the store to a door clearly marked 'Office' and gently wrapped on it.


"Yeah, what's up?" (Sounded like a local girl)


"Your 11 o'clock is here."


"Oh, great, just gimme a sec."


There were sounds of movement from within, followed by the sound of a bolt sliding, and then the door opened to reveal the room's occupant.


Wow. She was really pretty; actually, 'gorgeous' might be more accurate. Just a few inches taller than Gretchen, so not so impressive in height, but with a warm, intense face of elfin features and deep brown eyes.  "Hi, I'm Lynn, the owner. Nice to meet you!" Her handshake was firm but the skin was soft. "C'mon in, we'll talk for a bit." She led the way into her office, leaving Gretchen to return to her reading behind the counter. It was hard to say which was more remarkable, the office or the woman who worked there (The woman. Definitely the woman.) The room itself was not very large, but their were bookshelves on all four walls, all full to nearly bursting, though some odd bits of bric-a-brac were tucked in here and there. A large, old wooden desk dominated the room, as well as three leather chairs, a high-backed swivel one for the boss and two comfortable ones for guests. On top of the desk was a older-looking desktop computer, a banker's lamp with a green glass shade, and a candy dish filled with treats.


Lynn moved very gracefully with no wasted motion, like she might have trained to be a dancer. She dressed for comfort, not for style, though it was hard to imagine anything looking bad on her; today she wore a simple Irish fisherman's sweater, a pair of jeans and a pair of Uggs. "Have a seat and help yourself to some candy while I pull out your application."


Belatedly Leon became aware of two things as the lovely store owner slid behind her desk and skimmed the application he'd completed two days before; she was wearing her long, curly brown hair up, which showed off her elegant neck, and it also looked like she was wearing a very convincing pair of elf ears.


"Just gimme a minute here..."

Edited by Heritage
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Leon's hand moved silently over to the small bowl rested on the desk, grappling a random candy. He fiddled with the wrapper for a second before popping it into his mouth. Starburst?


His head never turned, but out of the corner of his he kept a trained look on the woman, more specifically her ears. She was pretty, he supposed, her smile genuine and bright. But those ears, they were...was that a thing people did now? It would be just him to some new saint Patrick's day tradition...


He debated several times asking her about it, but ultimately decided to keep quiet. Maybe it was a new tradition, or maybe she was just weird. He wouldn't let it get in the way of the interview.


"Take your time, Miss, uh..."

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"Lynn, please, always Lynn..." She paused for a second without looking up, then pointed at one of her ears with a slender finger.  "It's the ears, right? I forgot I left them on." She looked up and smiled, then with one fluid movement she pulled them both off and slid them into the top drawer of her desk. "There we go; one less distraction!" Finally she nodded to herself as she set the application aside, then steepled her fingers as she leaned back in her chair with a creak.


"So, Leon, you are new to our shores! How do you like Freedom so far? Has to feel very different from the Pacific Northwest, I'm guessing."  

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"Well, Always Lynn..." Internally he scoffed at himself. That had sounded funnier in his head. "It's warmer, doesn't rain quite as much. Though to honest with you that's kind of a downside, really. I like rain. Less trees about, obviously. The sea is about the same, the people are about the same. More supers though, we don't really have any in Portland..." 


He paused and looked downward, once again, a small inner debate raging in his head. Finally, he sighed and looked up once more.


"I'm really sorry about this, but it's gonna bother me if I don't ask. What was up with the, you know." He gestured to his own ears.

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Lynn sighed and sadly shook her head. "l know, I know...look, I had them custom-made for a comic book convention a few years back, aaaaand they weren't cheap, so I tend to break 'em out around Christmas and St. Patty's to get my money's worth. Halloween sometimes, too." And here she shrugged and did her best to look innocent, which didn't quite work with her impish features.  "Also I think that...I look really cute in 'em, so sue me for my vanity!" She offered him a cheerful wink before continuing.


"So it looks like this is your first regular paying job; have you done any kind of 'off the books' work, like for neighbors or family friends? Y'know, babysitting, raking leaves, paper route; any of that normal teen stuff that doesn't really show up on a resume."


So far, Lynn was getting a pretty good read off the kid, but she needed to get at least some measure of his work ethic, or lack of same.

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"Uhh, I did do some babysitting through freshman year..." Leon screwed up his face and shivered. "Only in freshman year. Me and my sisters would take turns raking leaves and digging up snow and stuff. We did basic chores for a small allowance." He tapped his index against the chair as he thought.


"Sometimes my sister Gi-Guinevere will call me out to her soccer practice." As he reminisced, he seemed to drift. "She calls it football, you know, says it's the proper name. Her team is in like a civil war about that, and I for one am-off topic, so uh..." He cleared his throat.


"That's-that's all. Not a very impressive resume, I know. But like I said on the sheet, I'm willing to work odd hours if you ever need me to or anything like that, and I really like books so..." 

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Lynn couldn't help but grin; Leon seemed like a nice kid, and the little inadvertent insights into his life only solidified that impression. "See, you're a good kid; me, I was a little monster at your age, always getting into fights and getting into trouble. I once poured a whole bottle of Mrs Butterworth's into the gas tank of a bully's car; messed it up real good!" This last little tidbit seemed to fill her with perverse pride, or at least it did until she remembered she was interviewing an impressionable youth. Clearing her throat, she quickly changed topics.


"Alright, so Leon, what do you like to read? Any favorite subjects or authors? Also are you thinking of going on to college?"

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Leon blinked lightly, looking Lynn over once more, this time somewhat cautiously, before re-centering on her nose.


"Well, my initial life plan was to go to college, yeah. But, things have happened, life and such. I-I've got other stuff to deal with right now, I don't need school work added onto that as well." He frowned briefly and his eyes became clouded, before he waved his hand in a dismissing motion. 


"Nothing bad or anything, just, you know, personal stuff. Shouldn-won't affect my work, so don't worry. For reading I like most any genre. Adventure stuff, mystery, sci-fi. My favorite stories are the knight ones like The Once and Future King, Le Morte d'Arthur, and the like!" He smiled. "Don't really have a favorite author though, to be honest." He shrugged.

Edited by Droideka
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It seemed like some of her questions made Leon a little nervous, so Lynn was quick to address the issue. "College isn't for everyone, and there's no shame in skipping it. Plus, if you change your mind, you can always enroll later."  Then she laid a hand across her chest. "The important thing I feel is to listen to your heart, and be true to that. My life journey is going to be very different from yours, so you have to choose what's right for you."


When he described his tastes in books, the changeling smiled again; definitely as kid with good tastes! "Well Leon, let me tell you a bit about myself and this store. My great-grandfather Ira Silberman opened this shop in 1946; prior to that, he worked on the conjuring stage under the name 'The Amazing Al-Kazar'." And here she indicated a framed black-and-white publicity shot of Ira, in his cloak and golden turban, making a dramatic gesture while surrounded by trick photography sprites and demons.  "Al-Kazar actually helped the Liberty League solve a supernatural crime or two back in the day before he disappeared in the late Fifties; after that my grandfather Louis took it over until his death several decades later. After that, the store remained shuttered for several years until a new will was found, in which my grandfather left the store to me. I wasn't able to open it back up right way, but we've been going strong since 2014."


Here Lynn put her Uggs up on the desk and folded her hands in her lap, and leveled her gaze at the young man; it wasn't exactly hostile, but it was very direct. "This store has a history; if you ask around the neighborhood, you'll hear stories about weird lights and strange occurrences going all the way back to Great-Grandpa Ira's day. Heck, some weird stuff has happened here since I've taken over. I'm not trying to freak you out so much as make sure that you're okay potentially working at a place that might be a little...odd. Now that being said, I also pay better than most retail jobs in this town; assuming I brought you on, you'd be starting at twelve bucks an hour, minimum of twenty hours a week, and we offer decent health and dental, though I'm guessing you're still covered under your parents' insurance at this point?"


And now, the strange young woman smiled warmly. "We're a weird and close-knit bunch here at Silberman's; we don't tolerate gossip and backstabbing, but we also know how to have a good time. This will not be the greatest job you've ever had, but it may well be the most memorable; you can tell your kids about the day something amazing happened between the Romance and Mystery sections."


"So...are you still interested?" There was a little twinkle in her eye.

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"I'm not scared!" Leon rose out of his seat, hands on the desk. After a moment he seemed to regain himself, sitting down and folding his hands into his lap. He'd told himself, over and over and over the night beforehand. He'd asked around about Silbermans, just a bit. Giselle had been frank, said it had a bit of reputation. He didn't care. A weird reputation, true or not, he wasn't such a coward he would turn tail at the first sounds of oddness. He had to be more than that.


"L-look, Lynn. I'm gonna be frank here. I've been here for just a few months, and I can tell you with confidence that this whole city is weird. You might not remember it, but my name, my sisters? We were on the news for a bit. Know why? First month I got here, I got caught up in a big inter-gang treasure hunt for a dead voodoo mobsters death bed weapon cash on a remote island. It doesn't matter where I work, weird stuff is gonna happen. It comes with the town. If I couldn't handle that, I would have moved back to Portland." Leon paused and took a deep breath. "So, uh, yeah. I-I would to think I can handle it." He drummed his fingers up and down the chair awkwardly.


"Anyway, your great-granddad sounds like a real hero. I would've liked to meet him." He grinned weakly.

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Lynn shrugged and made a face. "Eh, he was okay; in many ways, he was quite the hero, but also kind of a douche when it came to the women in his life." Lynn stood up and came out from behind the desk, then sat down on the edge of it. "There's nothing wrong with being scared; I have seen some truly terrifying s### living in this town, and I am not afraid to admit it. But that fear, those shared experiences? They kind of bond people together. There's a reason Freedom is one of the nicest towns on the East Coast; we've all been in the trenches together, y'know?"


For several seconds, the shop keeper just starred at the young man, arms crossed over her chest as she sized him up; much to her girlfriend's consternation, the changeling tended to go with her gut when it came to new hires, and right now, she was listening to her heart, just like she told Leon he had to do. And right now, her heart said-


-Gretch, can you do a quick background check for me?-


-I already did one. You haven't already say yes?-


-My finger is hovering over the button, but I wanted to make sure I had your input.-


-I appreciate that. He's clean. Well actually, there is a bit of genuine wonkiness here recently, but nothing that seems to implicate him in any direct wrongdoing. I do, however, detect a whiff of mystery, and I do enjoy a good mystery.-


-So is that a yes, or...?-


-That is a yes.-


-Cool! Awesome! Thanks!-


"Alright, you're hired," Lynn said abruptly as she offered him a firm handshake. "Welcome to Silberman's, Leon. We'll have on the schedule for next week; what days are good for you?"

Edited by Heritage
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Leon again moved out of his seat, grabbing Lynn's hand and shaking it in what he hoped was an appropriate handshake. His eyes shone and his small grin burst into a full fledged smile.


"T-That's awesome! Any day is fine, and like I said I can do weird times. I can't pull all-nighters though..." He pulled his hand away and moved to the door. "Sorry about being so jumpy and all. First interview, lot of caffeine. I'll get used to you guys soon, and you'll get as sick of me as my sisters are."


He opened the door, pulling out his phone.  "Hey, 'm gonna, stand around and browse for a bit, okay? It's gonna take a sec for my sister to bring her car around." He texted a quick 'Got job, come pick me up' and moved outside. He gave a quick wave to counter girl before putting the phone back in his pocket and making his way to a nearby display.

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"No problem," Lynn said with a shrug.  "Have a look around."


As the young man browsed the store, Gretchen followed his progress around the store; at length, she slid off her stool and approached him. "I take it she hired you?" At his somewhat confused expression, she shook her head.  "I can usually tell her type as far as hires go. I'm Gretchen, by the way. Assistant manager." She made no attempt to shake hands, but she did indicate the bakery case with a nod. "You get one free drink and one bakery item per shift. I could make you something, as a sort of...welcome aboard thing." It was hard to get a read on her; her regular speaking voice seemed to be fairly flat and unemotional, but surely the offer of a free drink was nice?


Once she was behind the counter, she looked to Leon once again and raised her eyebrows in mild interest, waiting for his order.

Edited by Heritage
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Leon looked briefly at the menu, then back to the girl, (Gretchen, according to the tag pinned to her) then back to the menu. In his pocket he could feel his phone vibrating, no doubt Ginny trying to squeeze details out of him. She would have to wait until he was trapped in the car with her, hahahaaa-oh god tonight was gonna be a nightmare...


He cleared his throat. 


"I'll have a pastry, I guess. Don't know if I want more caffeine in me, you have any Saint Patricks Day recommendations?"

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"I am going to make you...a mint hot chocolate...to go with our double fudge brownie." Gretchen began to steam a small pitcher of whole milk, then poured the mint flavored and chocolate syrups into a large paper cup. She topped it off with a large dollop of real whipped cream and mini chocolate chips, and carefully put on the lid. Lastly she used a pair of tongs to fish out a huge brownie and put it in small bag for him.


 "Here you go." She slid both items across the counter, then abruptly returned to to her reading, apparently bored of the interaction. The brownie and hot chocolate smelled simply delicious.

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That entire exchange had been odd, Leon ruminated as he sipped the hot coco at a nearby table. Was it a test or something, was Gretchen just being nice, or what? She seemed, he took a glance at her once more, disinterested, in everything except that book she was reading. The rare kind of person who wouldn't seem to care even if they won the lottery. He hoped they would be able to get along if they were going to be co-workers.


Picking up the brownie, Leon's phone buzzed once more, and he spared the message a glance as he bit into the brownie.


'Be there in 2 :3'


Ginny really liked her emotes, didn't sh-oh god, oh god, that brownie was really rich. Coughing lightly, he took a sip of his coco to try and wash it down, only to realize his mistake a second later as he swallowed the massive lump of warm peppermint chocolate. He'd have to take that brownie sloowwww. He turned to Gretchen as he stood up and began moving toward the door.


"This is, uh, pretty good, yeah. I'm gonna go wait in the parking lot for my ride. See you at work whenever my first shift is?"

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"Make sure you wear comfortable shoes,"  Gretch said without looking up from her book. Meanwhile, Lynn came out of office with a printed sheet from her computer; when she noticed Leon was still in the store, she smiled.


 "Oh great, you're still here." She looked down at a colorfully printed schedule grid as she approached him. "How does Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 to 7:00, and then Sunday from 11:30 to 6:00 sound? That way you still get a two day weekend." Noticing the drink and pastry bag the young man was holding, the store owner grinned and looked over at Gretchen. "Aw, look at you; you did a nice thing!"


"I am a warm and giving person," her assistant manager replied, still not looking up; was that just the ghost of a little smile on her face?

Edited by Heritage
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Seemed like those two were pretty comfortable around each other. That was sweet.


"That's absolutely fine by me, boss lady." Leon reached for the sheet, before remembering that his hands were full. He grinned sheepishly, waving said full hands lightly. "Well, normally I would just shove this brownie in my mouth before grabbing the sheet, but I'm pretty sure if I did that it would come back up pretty quick. N-not that it's bad or anything, just really rich. So, uh-" He glanced outside, noting that Ginny had just pulled up. "-I'm gonna go put these down in my sis's car real quick  and then come back." 


Having said that, Leon made his way out. As soon as he was outside, he blitzed into Ginny's car and out of it before she could start talking, rushing back into the store. He reached out his hand for Lynn, somewhat out of breath.

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By the time he ran back in, his new employer was waiting for him with another bag, which she held up along with his schedule. '"For your sister; it's a sticky cinnamon roll, so don't let her eat and drive."


Once the boy was gone, they resumed their mental conversation.


-You are such a mom.-


-And you are such a dad.-


-What? No! Take it back!-


-"Well, I can't say 'I love you', son, but I can buy you this nifty catcher's mitt!"-


-That is so...hmm...-


-Hah, see? I've run circles 'round you logically!-


They continued like this for some time, as playful couples are wont to do.

Edited by Heritage
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Leon sighed as he slid into the somewhat uncomfortable swat of Ginny's car, cinnamon roll in hand. She was eating his brownie, and looked very displeased.


"If you had just been patient, Ginny, this-" He waved the roll about the car, a small sprinkle of cinnamon falling onto his lap. "-would alll have been yours." He took a bite of the roll for emphasis.


"This wasn't about the brownie Leon, this was about justice!" She began, as the car rolled out into the street. "Now that I have you trapped, you are going to tell me everything, and then we are going to go home, and you are going to tell Giselle everything, and then you are going to sit there and let us give you advice on how not to lose your soul to retail."


Leon accepted his fate silently, taking one last glance at Silbermans and a nice long sip of his cooled coco. 


"Alright, so, first off, there was this barista lady, who looks exactly how you think she would-"

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