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calming_effect in wetheinvincible

Training Day at Epstein Books

Tuesday doesn't look any different, Pete-wise. He's still at the cafe, still drinking espresso, still reading a newspaper. The difference is cognitive: he's waiting for someone. Isabella, in fact.

[ ooc: locked to Isabella, thanks. ]


Isabella walks towards Pete, dressed in khakis and a black sweater. She pinned her hair back and just has mascara on. She almost wore her Columbia sweater instead, but decided against it; she didn't want people to pick on her because of it.

She smiles when she sees Pete and waves from across the cafe. She sidesteps between the crowded tables.
Ah, there she is! Pete folds his newspaper, stands up and walks over to Isabella. “Hey. Ready for your training?”
"Absolutely!" Isabella chirps. She's excited about this new job, for a reason she can't explain. She feels calm here in Epstein, and hopes that this job goes well. It already seems a lot better than serving sushi and sake.

The crowd here on Tuesday doesn't seem that big, but it still fills her with trepidation.
“Great. First things first, I’ll take you on a tour of the building so you know exactly where everything is. As you can see, we’re already in the café area. Nothing you need to know about this place besides that we sell a lot of espresso and a fine South American delicacy named mate.”
"Ooh, I like mate. But I like the Brazilian one better. I'm a fan of cooking, I like all kinds of food." She looks around. "Am I expected to know how to work the register down here as well? Or do you have separate staff for the cafe?"
“We have separate staff. But if you think you’d be interested in working the café, it wouldn’t hurt to have people who are…ambidextrous on our staff, as it were.”
"I have some-" Isabella hesitates. "-illegal bartending experience, so I'm used to making drinks. Esh, alcoholic drinks, caffinated drinks, I can pick up being barista if you need me to."

She follows Pete out of the cafe, trying not to follow too close. She doesn't want to seem overeager.

What am I going to do if he needs to take a nap?
Draw a moustache on my face, probably, he thinks to himself. Pete pauses next to the periodicals, a curious expression on his face. You know, I might look good with a moustache. And a beard…yeah, maybe I should try a scruffy look. It’d look better on me than Keith, anyway…

Poking Pete might help draw him out of his reverie.
Isabella uncomfortably stands there, watching Pete stare off into the distance.

"So...um...do we carry rare periodicals? Or just the mainstream ones? And what about newspapers?" She points at the rack of periodicals, noting that the new New York magazine is out.
Ooh, I should read that when I have the time.

She fights the urge to poke him in the shoulder.
Pete blinks.

“…what? Oh. Um. We sell a combination of both. There are a lot of rarer Spanish-language periodicals here, actually. There’s a section for them on the rack closest to the café.”
"Yeah...I don't speak Spanish well. I took advanced Spanish in Stuyvasant, but after the end of the year test it all went FWOOSH." She makes a dramatic motion with her hand. "I can speak Japanese fluently. So I can handle any tourists...or something to that effect." She grins.
“Ah, we’ll have to change that! And, um, by we I mean me—I’m a very cheap tutor, you know. Cheaper than the ones you’ll find at Columbia. Anyway.” He clears his throat.

“Basically, the periodical section goes like this: you have your newspapers closer to the bookshelves, and next to them the stuffy ‘current events’ magazines. On the other side of the rack you have your very not stuffy ‘lifestyle’ and gossipy kind of magazines. Next to them, your entertainment, music, film magazines. With me so far?”
She draws a picture in her mind of the periodicals section, filling in the various topics. "Got it. What's next?"
“OK, over here we have a small section dedicated to hobbies. Next to that, pets. Then we take a gigantic leap of logic and go straight to automobiles—cars, motorcycles, boats—well, boats aren’t automobiles,” he says, almost muttering to himself. A shrug. “After that, sports. There’s a magazine for everything, really. And of course, the last section is the Spanish section which, if you get confused about, just look for me.”
She notes the small signs above the shelves. They'll help if she gets confused.
"I guess you could call automobiles 'transportation', instead. So you don't get confused."
I don't want to have to ask him for help all the time. Hmm. I want to get this right the first time.

"Do I get a discount?" She blurts out, looking at all the interesting magazines. Shit, I shouldn't have said that. Oh well...
“Yes. Yes you do. 30%, which is bigger than you might think.”
"Can I get free coffee?" She pokes him in the shoulder playfully.

"Let's head to the stacks. I have a feeling I'll have a hard time finding my way through those especially."
Playful poking! Pete has a feeling she’ll mesh into the staff nicely. At least she gets along with him well enough—too often there seems to be a camp of people who get along with Keith and people who are down with Pete. Luckily, neither party has clashed, but merely wonder why one party is so serious and why the other is so silly.

Guess which side Pete’s on?

“Excellent. We can start in the English literature section, then. When I say ‘English’ I mean ‘in the English language’. We have British, American, and, hell, even Columbian authors all mashed up in there. It starts over by the stairs, so we’ll have to walk across the café again.”
As they wind their way through the cafe, Isabella asks him, "Maybe it'd be easier to ask what we DON'T carry, since it seems like we carry a lot." She narrowly avoids someone standing up and pushing their chair backwards.

Shit, I'm going to need a map or something. Damn.

"How many floors are there?" She pushes her hair behind her ear and chews on a strand.
“There are two. The main office, employee room and stock room are all on the second floor. The door you saw behind the periodicals lead there. As for what we don’t carry…um…throw out a category and I’ll answer, because nothing immediately comes to mind.”
"How about graphic novels? Comics, manga, that sort of thing." She shrugs. "I don't know, I noticed that in the last couple of years, mainstream stores started carrying manga. Also..." She hesitates, and then makes air quotes. "-chicklit? I hate that term, but I just have to ask. You know, just in case some dizty girl needs some fluff to read during her pedicure."

"I know we don't carry any graphic novels and...I don't think we carry chicklit, either. We might carry a few chick lit books that fly under the radar."
Damn. It would have been great if I could catch up on my manga reading. Nothing beats free manga.

She looks around at the rows and rows of literature. "Whoa." She blurts out, and then promptly turns pink. "Sorry. There's just... a lot of books."
Free manga?

Peter nods, saying nothing, but Isabella will hear the following in her head, clearly in Pete’s voice: But it wouldn’t be free manga, it’d be discounted manga.

“This is my favorite part of the store, you know. The literature. It’s pretty straight forward, A-Z until you hit the Spanish literature section, which is a rather medium-sized block of bookstacks by the periodicals.”
She turns to him, mouth slightly open. "It'd be free because I'd read it while I was on break, and not buy it. And when you explain the literature section like that, it doesn't seem that bad."

She thinks timidly, if that's even possible. Her thoughts seem quieter. If you can read my thoughts, does that mean that you...know? About me? About who I really am?

She looks away, sticking her nails back in her mouth out of nervousness.
Los Angeles: The Beach

December 2006

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