==========-< << Homepage Bookstore - Storefront >> >-===========
Okay, let's be honest. We all know what a bookstore looks like. This one isn't much different. There are a few rows of new books, a table of recommended bestsellers, a few rows of used books and the center area with some chairs and a small loveseat size couch to sit.
The racks themselves might be of a somewhat cheap wood, but there are accents around the place and some furniture pieces of a beautiful dark wood that give it an attempt at a cozy place to be. The floor is plain tile but has some rugs down here and there of various levels of gaudiness. The lighting, however, is amazing. Not too bright, not too glaring, not too dim. Just perfect. Behind the counter with the register is a door that reads STAFF ONLY.
Kip's response is cut off as there is a knock on the door. He looks up and squints over to see who it is, then rises slowly from his seat to move to the door. "It is unusual. At least, I think it is. I don't know a lot about that stuff, I never really researched that sort of thing before, but it seems like it would be out of the ordinary." Thankfully there's someone here now with more psychic knowledge than him and he unlocks the door and opens it, waving an arm to usher Avalon in. He doesn't re-lock the door, either, when it closes. "Coffee? I think we have tea bags." Because. Tea. Avalon. So... tea. Even if they aren't close and personal friends, at least he knows the town well enough to know the tea witch would probably prefer tea.
"She-- She can tell if something is like physically wrong," Kip points out. "Which is a valid consideration considering you did have a head injury. But uhm... I've found that these things are often less mundane than that. So we could either rule it out if you want, or we can just assume it ruled out for now and proceed with the uh, the non-mundane. Which it sounds like you're already doing. I admit, I don't know nearly as much about these things as others do. Have you had any hits yet?"
Cerise reaches down and flips through the closest book to her, looking at the pages with an almost helpless air, "Most of these are about reaching your abilities and accessing them, nothing about when they go away. Haruki said he thought a head injury might do it, too, but he doesn't really know anything about it. What about just being in the hedge, could that do it? Could it be that I got injured in the hedge?"
"I-- don't know," Kip says quietly in response. He sits in a chair near Cerise who is surrounded by books, some open, and her laptop and phone. The shop is closed, the door sign still flipped to the CLOSED position, the light up book sign not lit and the door locked. Even though it's well into open hours for the place. He's watching Cerise with a look of concern and the table next to him holds his coffee mug, that ridiculous one that reads I <3 BOOKS that he always carries around like it's a prized item. Thankfully nobody has broken it by throwing it at his head. Yet. "I could find out if anyone knows the logistics of that, though, if you want. The Library might have something. I can message Aaron to ask if he knows of anything we have that might be of help, too." Oh, his hair is down and messy today. But at least he's dressed. Even if he's half asleep still.
"If you think he can find out something. I just don't think that anyone would have researched that particular angle before." Cerise looks skeptical from where she sits surrounded by her aged Macbook and a pile of books on psychic abilities. The general chaos of the sitting area may have something to do with why the sign is still flipped on closed. "And I don't know why my abilities would just be *gone* like that."
It's not that far, even on foot, from the Seventh House Cafe to the front door of Homepage. And so, in the end, it doesn't take Avalon much time to get from Point A to B. Long hair braided over her shoulder, in a burnt-velvet kimono of mossy green with black flare-legged pants and a croptop of the same color. Sandals on her feet, and a satchel over her left shoulder, she uses her right hand to knock on the locked front door.
Kip;'s response is cut off as there is a knock on the door. He looks up and squints over to see who it is, then rises slowly from his seat to move to the door. "It is unusual. At least, I think it is. I don't know a lot about that stuff, I never really researched that sort of thing before, but it seems like it would be out of the ordinary." Thankfully there's someone here now with more psychic knowledge than him and he unlocks the door and opens it, waving an arm to usher Avalon in. He doesn't re-lock the door, either, when it closes. "Coffee? I think we have tea bags." Because. Tea. Avalon. So... tea. Even if they aren't close and personal friends, at least he knows the town well enough to know the tea witch would probably prefer tea.
"I started looking into it when I realized my own abilities. I've really been trying hard to grow the past couple of years, but reliable information is so hard to find ..." Cerise also breaks off when she hears a knock at the door, but then her face relaxes into a relieved smile when she realizes who it is. "Avalon! Thank god! I've been calling people all morning!"
And who in town doesn't know of the infamous Kip? "Tea would be lovely. Green, if you have it?" When there's a knock after her arrival, Avalon glances back and opens the door for Jack herself. "Oh, good, the actually gifted one," she says with a quick curve of a smile. Then she's in motion, towards Cerise and the bit of book-chaos around her.
Kip's halfway to the door to the back room when he hears another knock, turning to see who is at the door now. He doesn't look like this is really someone he's familiar with at least, so he glances at Cerise and then Avalon as she opens the door for him. "Uh, hey," he greets the newest arrival. "I uhm--" he motions over his shoulder to the door. "I was gonna get some tea. Or coffee. Want anything?"
"It's good. He's Jack, I called him!" Cerise's relief only grows when she sees the ranger show up and she motions him in further. It's just then that her phone goes off and she picks it up, tapping away at the keyboard swiftly before jumping up to her feet to greet them both. She wastes no time in beating around the bush, "I can't access any of my abilities. They're just ... gone."
"Hey," Jack upnods at Kip, squinting curiously at him. "Jack Fry." Hand is offered to shake - short and to the point introductions before he looks at Avalon and Cerise both, eyebrows raised - Cerise isn't wasting time, and that suits him just fine. "Huh." That's his intelligent response, hand rubbing his jaw as he studies her closely. VERY closely. It's uncomfortable, because the stare isn't exactly friendly - it's just calculating.
There's a lack of time wasting all around, it seems, as Avalon finds a place to put her bag down and immediately starts digging around in it. Withdrawing a leatherbound book, a pen, and a rather impressive piece of quartz. Seriously, that thing has to weigh a couple of pounds. Thunk, it goes on a table. "When did you first notice that you weren't able to access them?," she asks as she opens that journal, and starts to jot things down. "And has anything new come in their place?"
Kip moves closer to take Jack's hand when it's offered, his shake is quick and firm. Surprisingly firm considering that standing there, he looks like six feet of dork wearing a baggy thin summer-weight sweater that hides the fact that his arms aren't exactly scrawny. Who needs weights when you have boxes of books to carry around, right? It's the nerd's way of getting almost ripped. "Kip. Kensington," he offers before he takes a couple of steps backward before turning. "Owner of this place. Anyway, gimme a sec, I'll have beverages. Just be careful around the merchandise." With that, he disappears through the door to the back room.
"Coffee," Jack responds, belatedly - he got distracted. And then he does a double take. "That name rings a bell," he realises. "Nice to meet you, Kip." He's moving over to find somewhere to sit, next to Avalon. He also takes out a note book, a small one, and a pen. Two interrogators, here. "Yeah, when did you use your gifts last time?"
Long distance to Maggie: Jack waves! Mind if I post our sad log from yesterday?
"This morning is the first time I noticed anything wrong. I tried to read someone and...I couldn't. I've been experimenting since then and nothing." Cerise actually sounds relieved to be talking about it with people who can understand, though as Kip wanders to the back to get the coffee, she gives him a fond smile, before looking back at the other two. For a moment, she stays standing, even paces a few steps as her head shakes, "The last time I used them? I'm not sure. I've been trying to remember if I've done anything since I hit my head, and I can't."
Scribblescribble. Avalon uses her free hand to reach out and briefly touch Jack's shoulder when he comes near. "The local casanova," she offers quietly for his benefit, before there's a bit more writing, and a glance up to Cerise. "Are you having memory issues, since you hit your head?" She puts her pen down, and then lifts that piece of quartz up. Holding it between herself and Cerise, and peering through it to the woman, with her amber eye.
Long distance to Maggie: Jack does too, but it was hard writing something that wouldn't sound stupid... but I think I got it. Almost posted :)
Kip's in the back room, apparently getting stuff ready since he does call out, in that whispery thin voice of his: "JACK? Sugar? Milk?"
"NO! BLACK AND STRONG, PLEASE!" Jack hollars over his shoulder. "Right. That gossip column," he murmurs to Avalon - he remembers now. He glances back towards Kip, curious despite himself. But he's here for Cerise. So, he makes his own notes, and adds his own questions. "About that injury. Tell us exactly what happened." His voice turn a bit colder. Efficient. Cop-mode.
"Yes." Cerise's head bobs the affirmative once and she steps to the side to settle down on the chair where she was before. The Macbook is closed and set to the side, books pushed a little further away. "Like I said, I was on a hike, with C.B., Mina, and some others. Please trust me when I say that I can't tell you all the details of the hike, like where it was, but I can tell you that some magic was encountered on the hike. During the hike, we had to cross a stream. I slipped and fell, and hit my head. I went under and C.B. drug me out and Mina revived me. I was foggy for a good week after that and I'm pretty sure that I was concussed."
Strange things happen in bookstores all the time. Like today, for example, when the White Witch of Tamarack Falls is holding up a giant chunk of crystal quartz to her amber eye and watching Cerise through it. Frowning a bit, for one reason or a hundred others. "Did you lose consciousness? See anything odd while you were under?"
Yeah, telling the guy that they were in super magic fairy land looking for a magic fruit that would save Kip's life and make him slightly less batshit crazy while he rambled and argued with delusions of invisible dead brothers would probably not sound nearly as good as the cover story. But when Kip comes out of the back room with a couple of mugs in his hands and hears the last of Cerise's words, he still looks entirely guilty about something. For a moment. Maybe some of that guilt is because despite people being in the shop, the door reads CLOSED and Cerise is surrounded by some books and her laptop and all that. The shop is in slightly more disarray than Kip is, with his hair down and messy and his clothing having that usual look of being disheveled. He hands a mug of black coffee to Jack and the other mug, filled with what smells like chai tea, is held toward Avalon. "Sorry, best I could do."
The door opens on this beautiful sunny day, admitting another: a blond young man, tall and tan and good-looking, dressed in a classic raglan-style baseball tee with blue sleeves and a white body, jeans, and blue and white throwback Adidas. He has a short blue field jacket on over the raglan. Logan notes Avalon and the crystal, smiles to himself, and says nothing. His bright blue eyes trace over the assembled, but he doesn't interrupt; he merely starts perusing the stacks.
"Could me medical. Did you have your head checked properly?" Jack asks, making another scribble. He and Avalon seem to complement each other's questions here, a fluid sort of interrogation. "Thanks," he says and gives Kip the most grateful look, like the bookstore owner saved his life. He takes a careful sip, grunts appreciately, and sets the mug down carefully and safely somewhere in the middle of the table - away from books and other things that can be damaged by coffee spilled. "Quite frankly, you've acted not at all like yourself lately," he says bluntly to Cerise. "And-" He stops there, lifting his chin to squint at the newcomer.
Again, Cerise's response is a brief nod. "I lost consciousness immediately. I don't remember hardly anything except I had stopped to look at something?" Cerise begins in on an explanation, but then the door opens again, this time to admit Logan. The woman frowns a little as she watches him, and although her voice lowers a little, she doesn't stop the man from browsing and with the shop as empty as it is, he can probably overhear what's being discussed. "Yes, I went to the hospital when we got home. I actually used to be a doctor. I know to take care of myself, but they wouldn't know what to look for." That last bit about her not being herself, causes the woman to frown decidedly.
Avalon's brow is furrowed with focus as she peers through that crystal, towards Cerise. "Very, very interesting. It seems like..." She, too, trails off when an unfamiliar face walks through the door. And her other eye squints, like she's just had some bright light flashed into it. "Right, Jack had some concerns after we all had tea yesterday, with the way you were acting." She puts the quartz down, and takes the mug from Kip. "No, this is quite fine, Kip. Thank you."
Kip seems almost relieved at Avalon's accepting the drink. "Welcome," he mumbles in that papery thin voice of his, even as he watches the latest arrival. Does he look almost relieved for a moment? "I uhm-- I actually see someone who might be helpful, at least as far as the research aspect goes. Logan's a... researcher of sorts. Logan!" He waves his apparent buddy over before mentioning, "Yes, Cerise is perfectly capable of doing most medical stuff herself. I mean as far as bumps and bruises go. I don't think it's recommended that someone try to treat their own concussion and aside from that that TV show taught me when I was binge watching it, I don't know how to do concussion tests. LOGAN, you've met Cerise, right?" He pauses and peeks back to Avalon. "Wait, how was she acting? Did something happen?" Someone's brotherly overprotectiveness of Cerise has just gotten triggered.
Logan raises his hand in greeting as Cerise looks at him, but does not greet him in return. No matter, he's a friendly sort! He pulls out a book and flips it open, reading a few lines. When Kip comes out and calls his name, he looks up from the book with wide, surprised eyes. "Oh, hey there, Kip!" He slides the book back onto the shelf and strides over, smiling at everyone. Such a pretty smile, too, with the dimples and all. "How's it going? Sure, I've met Cerise, though I don't know if she remembers me. Good to see you again. Is everything all right?" His eyes train on her face for a moment before he turns to Jack and Avalon. "I don't think I've had the pleasure of meeting either of you, though? I'm Logan Brenner." A golden hand is offered for a shake, should either of them care to take it.
Standing up briefly to shake Logan's hand, Jack eyes the man with curiosity. "Jack Fry, nice to meet you." He glances at Kip - he doesn't know Logan, but the invitation is noted, for Logan to give his input. He sits back down, turning back to Cerise with a thoughtful, scrutinizing stare. "Yeah..." He frowns, thinking deeply, but says nothing else.
"Acting how?" Cerise seems as confused as Kip is, her brown eyes searching between Jack and Avalon for some sort of explanation, though she does tear her gaze away to greet Logan more properly, "Hello Logan. Yes, I remember you. We ... I have a problem. I used to have some abilities that I no longer have, and apparently, I've been acting strangely?"
The offered hand is shaken, and comes with an, "Avalon Lefevre." There's a smile, too, before she turns to sip her tea and jot a few more things down in that book of hers. She leans down, murmuring something into Jack's ear softly, before straightening.
Avalon whispers “Can you see auras, dear? She's missing what I'd normally see around one of you psychics.”
Kip's ways are sometimes subtle. Like expanding the circle of reach of the group to loop around Logan as well without coming right out to say anything about the why of it. It's implied. Kip knows him. Kip trusts him. Kip has given the all-clear that he can, and maybe should, be involved in the topic as it stands. And from where Kip is placed, with his face firmly in the eye line of the door, he's somehow designated himself as lookout even though the group of people exist between himself and the door he watches. Anyone peeking in from outside would take his stance to be a casual one, not paying too much attention to anything despite the fact that he is. But he draws his attention away from the door to focus on Cerise again for a moment. "Just... different. It's like if you put your slippers on the wrong feet. Something just feels slightly... off. I just figured it was from hitting your head. Maybe you were in pain or distracted or it was something memory-related. Or it could be me. I'm not exactly the best judge of before and after your accident if you remember the state I was in." He shrugs as it's the best he can describe. A smile is flashed at Logan. "Logan here is my... partner I guess. We uh... we do some uh, some field work in research together, I mean. That kind of partner. Not the... not the other kind." Oh is Kip blushing a little?
Logan shakes each hand in turn. His shake is firm and hearty. "Good to meet you both," he says to Jack, then Avalon. But then his expression becomes more serious as Cerise describes her problem, and then Kip elaborates. He nods gravely, though a smile is given right back to Kip at the end. "I know, Kip. That honor belongs to Mina, doesn't it? But let's analyze the problem at hand." His keen blue eyes zip back to Cerise. "So, you had abilities that were lost, and now you felt slightly off. And this started happening when?" Head tilts in curiosity.
Jack shakes his head at whatever Avalon whispered, answering something without whispering back. He crosses his arms over his chest, and leans back, still thinking. "This isn't a natural cause," he notes flatly. "Whatever happened to you when you hit your head - that's the cause. I'm willing to bet on that. Something did something to you, and now you're just not yourself. Your powers are gone, and you're acting out of character. Nothing too obvious, but the old Cerise certainly would've considered the suffering of a person who was possessed by a ghost, rather than let them take the fall for something not their fault. That's what bugged me the most, when we met on the trail."
"It happened when we were on that hike? Looking for the pear? I haven't felt off. I mean, I was off after I hit my head, but since I recovered, I've felt normal, but people are saying that I'm off?" Cerise's words come out in a jumble, her questioning eyes looking around the room as she says as much as she dares say under the circumstances, hopefully Logan will know enough about the circumstances to pick up on what's unsaid.
There's a bit of side-eyeing Kip from Avalon, as he speaks and stammers over his own words. But it's not a harsh thing. She settles herself on the arm of Jack's chair, turned so that she can still jot down a few notes. "Your aura, it doesn't have the markers that I normally see on those with Gifts," she offers towards Cerise. "That doesn't mean it's permanent, but they -are- gone. It's not just some mental block that you've inflicted upon yourself."
"She's been acting... off," Kip mentions, though he does give a bit of a shrug as if to say he has no idea how to better explain it. "Nothing specific, just... I can't explain it." He looks sheepish at least. But Logan does get a slight grin. "Well, Mina has many honors. I'm not sure she'd qualify that as an honor, though," he murmurs almost slyly. Though he does go quiet to let the others talk. "Look, if I need to uh-- go hike that same route you guys went, I will. I have a friend named Sato who I've been doing some hiking with lately. She and I can go see if we find anything there that might be of help."
Logan listens to everyone, nodding, tapping his chin, eyes bright with curiosity. At the end of it, he zeroes in on Cerise, those eyes taking her in fully. "And nobody has any notion what might have happened? I doubt going back on that hike would be necessary, Kip." He smiles at the bookstore owner, looking at him briefly, but his eyes are all on Cerise. "I'm sure we can figure this out on our own." A beat, and then he asks, "How's your memory been, Cerise? Have you been forgetting anything important?"
"Good idea," Jack nods to Kip - he's a hands on person, he likes to examine the scene of the 'crime' as well. But when Logan suggests this isn't needed, he raises an eyebrow to see what Logan might be up to. He choses to sit back, and listen, while stydying Cerise's reactions.
"Are you sure?" Cerise looks at Avalon in disbelief. For a moment, her face scrunches up and she bites her lip, a look of semi-contained panic welling up. Oddly, it's only Logan, and her need to recount what she knows that keeps her from freaking out again entirely. "Well, during the hike, I fell into a stream and hit my head. My memory was fuzzy after that, but things are coming back to me. I fell unconscious. I went under the water and was dragged out by C.B."
"I'm sure," Avalon says, with both certainty and sympathy, towards the other woman. "Usually there'd be this..." She makes waves with her hands, slow and undulating things, "Around you. That's how I can tell the difference between a bullshitter and the genuine deal. They're not there. I'm sorry to say it." She sips her chai again, remembering that mug that Kip had brought out. Then, more notes.
"Cerise? Do you remember why you were on that hike?" Kip asks, voice slightly more quiet than usual. He gives her a bit of an expression to be vague about it. Or at least his glance to her reads something and he can only hope she's herself enough to pick up on what he's throwing down. "Or maybe, do you remember what you said when you told me about hiking that path, knowing it's sometimes a bit dangerous especially at this time of year, and I told you that you didn't have to go just for my sake?" Who knows, maybe there was some Meaningful Conversation that he's referring to. Maybe he just wants to see how she reacts to this question. "Think back. Did you feel different than you have since the accident?"
"So you went hiking, fell into a stream, and when you came out again, you couldn't -- " Logan looks to Avalon, smiling. "-- do anything special, I'm guessing? And you could do some special things before?" His eyes trail over to Kip, vibrantly zeroed in on him, that slight smile in place. Like maybe he knows where Kip is going, and approves of this thread, too, in addition to his own.
Again, nothing from Jack - he keeps watching Cerise. Suspicion is growing and he seems rather tense, and a vein at his temple is throbbing. There's some cold rage brewing, for some reason. Like he too is guessing where this is going.
Whether people were expecting it or not, Cerise's head shakes, her words given extra emphasis. "No. I feel normal. I feel like me, like I always have. I had no reason to suspect that anything was wrong until I tried to access my abilities this morning."
Cerise has partially disconnected.
Avalon's fallen silent at this point, as well. Just a lot of writing notes in that little leatherbound book of hers. A few sips of chai. She glances between Logan and Kip, those mis-matched eyes of the witch bright, clever. And perhaps a bit apologetic.
As Cerise mentions feeling... fine(ish), Kip just nods slightly, eyes narrowed a bit as he peers at her. Like he's looking at her. In her, even. "Something's... different, though. You look like you. You feel like you. But part of you is... missing." He looks almost relieved for a moment as if something's working itself out in his head. "Something is missing. You didn't change, you... lost something." He looks over to Logan with a curious expression. "When she was on that hike, could... could she have lost something on the way?" he asks, as if there's more to it than asking if she might have dropped something from a pocket or a necklace came unclasped. Almost like he's asking if something could have come off somehow from her. "And if so, is it something we could find if we went looking for it?"
"Right. That's what I was suggesting," Logan offers, though he doesn't stop smiling. "That something is lost or missing." For some reason, he wets his lips. "Yes, Kip. She certainly could have lost something along the way. Could we find it? That's harder to say. I think more research is needed." And now he looks at Cerise again, giving her a reassuring smile. "If you're willing to be our test subject, that is. Like Kip said, he and I do field research together sometimes."
There's an incredulous look at the others from Jack. And his patience has worn out, by now. He leans over the table, slowly and deliberately, and looks Cerise in the eyes. "You're not Cerise." There, he said it. No more games.
"Yeah. Of course. I'll be your test subject." Cerise's head falls and for a good long while, she just looks at her hands in her lap, one thumb circling the other. When she looks up again, her eyes roll over to Jack in exasperation, "I'm still me. I'm just ... broken somehow." Not quick on the uptake this one.
"Right," Kip says to Cerise as if in agreement that she's broken somehow. But then Jack's words permeate into his skull and he looks at him, almost surprised. "No, she is Cerise. She looks like her, sounds like her, smells like her. She remembers who I am. She remembers how to do her job. If she was a... a clone or something, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't check all those boxes. Besides, who else would she be? She was there. The whole time. They never... they never lost her or anything. They saw her the whole time."
Logan gives Jack a look of mild interest and surprise. "What about her makes you think she's an entirely different person? Apart from what we've been discussing." He turns back to Cerise and smiles, reaching out to place a comforting hand on her shoulder and a pat. "Don't worry. We'll help you, Cerise. There's a lot to learn, and it will be good for everyone." He watches Kip get defensive and smiles. "I'm sure you're right, Kip. I'm sure there's a rational explanation for all of this."
Avalon's hand moves out, and places itself on Jack's shoulder. Still holding her mug of chai with the other. "Of course," she says softly, keeping that even demeanor that she's possessed throughout the conversation. "No one lost sight of her, when she went under? Are you sure of that?" Despite her tone, the look in her eyes is calculating. "I'm sure that you're in capable hands, though, Cerise. Kip and Logan will help straighten things out. Maybe talk to your friends that you were hiking with, and see what they're missing."
"Did they? Did they keep an eye on her at every second?" Jack asks of Kip now, raising an eyebrow at him. He stands up slowly, looking tired. He begins pacing about, drinking that mug of coffee. Casting a glare Logan's way, but it's hard to be mad at the golden boy; he's just too charming. "I got my reasons."
Jack gives Avalon's hand a quick pat, before he does start pacing. The two seem to think alike on much.
Cerise's eyes move to Logan and Kip and then she stands again. Her head shakes wildly side to side, almost defensively so. "I know what you're thinking and it's not true. I would know. You'd be able to tell, wouldn't you?" She then huffs out a breath, looking away as she admits guiltily. "During the hike, we had to move quickly at one point. I gave my hair to some ... people." Why does she say people like that? "It could have been used in a spell, to change me somehow, but not to replace me. That's crazy talk!"
"I'm positive," Kip says flatly, and only a little angrily. Like there's a burning ember under there that he usually keeps well under wraps but for juuuust a moment it flares up for some reason. "Nobody went missing. She's right here." Is he trying too hard? Is he trying to convince himself more than he is anyone else? "Who was it?" he asks Cerise sharply. "That took your hair." He moves around the counter to grab a notepad and pen. "Tell me everything. I'm gonna go find it. I'll-- I'll call Sato. i'll write her a goddamn epic trilogy about her if she takes me to go find it. I will fix this, Cerise." This... is not the logical calm Kip that stammers through everything. This is a fired up man on a mission for some reason.
"I'm sure you do, but I'd be interested to hear them," Logan says cheerfully to Jack. To Cerise, he gives her a long, curious look. "What do you think we're thinking, Cerise? And to whom did you give your hair? We can start with them first." His voice, with its bright SoCal accent, is calm, rational, soothing. He takes a good, long look at Kip as he echoes his question, then puts a comforting hand on Kip's shoulder. "Kip, please. We should wait and do field research together. I don't recommend striking out on your own or with relative strangers for this unless you're prepared for unforeseen consequences. My advice is to be cool, learn what we can together, and wait."
Avalon does not let a good, empty chair go to waste. And so when Jack gets up to pace, she slides down into the one he abandoned. More writing. Always more writing. Observing things, rather than speaking at this point. "I'm sure that there are ways to tell," she does finally offer after a long stretch of silence. "I don't presume to know everything, of course. But I assume that there'd be some method that you folk," and she looks to Logan and Kip at that, "Have to look into these sorts of things."
"The question isn't who. The question is, where?" Jack asks, staring at Cerise. "Because if none of you're going there, I am." This gives away some of his ignorance of the Lost - but it's clear he knows more than some. He crosses his arms and stubbornly looks at Logan, jaw set. He doesn't elaborate on his reasons. "So, while you're all researching, I'd like to go to the scene of the crime."
Cerise doesn't answer verbally. She reaches down into her pile of things, pulling out a pad and a pen. Wordlessly, she plops down into one of the chairs scribbling as fast as she can about hobs and ferries and all that she can remember about that particular exchange, including the large words, underlined several times, 'chased by fae' as reason for her foolishness. Then she stands and strides over to give this explanation to Logan. Apparently, there's no running off into the Hedge for Kip or Jack.
Kip nearly swivels around to face Logan, since even the comforting hand on his shoulder that usually centers him is no match for whatever has risen up inside of him. To those who can see it, his eyes flare up wildly for a moment, glowing that mismatched blue and green. Those who can't see the Levinquick in him might still see his eyes do some sort of flare, just based on the sheer sense of pissed off that's riled him up. "I'm going to fix this. This is Cerise," he tells Logan, like that's supposed to mean something. After all, Cerise isn't his girlfriend. She isn't related to him. She is, however, his family. And so the very thought that anyone could even consider entertaining the potential idea that maybe, just maybe, something happened like what is going unsaid took place has him ready to tear through the Hedge all on his own looking for her. Maybe it's also a little bit guilt that she was only there for his sake in the first place. But his hands open and fist closed a few times as if he's trying to keep himself from flying off the handle right now. "She looks fine," he says in a near snarl, possibly to Avalon even though his's looking at Logan. "And Sato's an Aspirant. That's what she does." What the hell is he even talking about? What's she aspiring to? Huh? "Which means she goes on really dangerous hikes for fun and I tag along to write epic tales about the bullshit we come across. I'm. Going. To. Fix. This." Oh is Cerise even still there? She seems to reappear into his universe again as she moves, reminding him of her presence. "Cerise, who has your hair?" Wait, she gave the notes to Logan? Golden Boy? Not to him? He tries not to pout.
Logan nods his approval to Avalon, clearly in agreement, but then he flashes his easy smile to Jack...and shakes his head. "Not advisable, Jack, unless you want something similar to happen to you. In this case, I don't recommend returning to the scene of the so-called crime. I don't think it will aid us. If anything, it will make things worse." He takes the piece of paper from Cerise, studies it carefully, folds it, and places it into an inside pocket of his blue jacket. "That's helpful, Cerise. Thank you."
The outburst from Kip? He barely reacts to it. Just smiles away, though he's not grinning. "Sure, Kip. Whatever you say. I'm sure you've got everything under control." Suddenly, the white ceramic Apple watch on his wrist buzzes. He glances at it, then looks at Cerise. "I need to run in a moment, but -- Cerise, would you mind providing me with your contact info, in case I have some future questions?"
"Good." Jack seems to approve of Kip's plan and is NOT happy to be told he can't go somewhere. "I can take care of myself. And I'm not about to let a friend... have problems." He seems to accept that they're going to continue playing a game for now. Not his style, but he paces himself here.
Avalon's gaze lifts to Kip at his little outburst, and she lets him get out that snarl in her direction. She barely bats an eyelash. But she does lower her pen for a moment, and notes towards the electroboy, "Careful, or you'll blow a fuse in here. And yes, she looks fine. To normal eyes. I'm just saying, something happened to change her. And so often, things that look fine aren't." A shrug of her shoulder. "But, of course, as I said, I'm sure that you'll look into things." She turns towards Jack, and shakes her head. "No wandering that way for you, my friend. I mean, I'd gladly take care of Goblin if you were to disappear for a bit, but I haven't the first clue when it comes to horses. And I suspect neither of them would be too happy if -you- came back different."
Likewise, Cerise also just lets Kip rant. If anything, the woman seems tired after all this, as if she just can't work up the energy to care that much. Her head bobs to Logan, pulling out her phone so she can show him its number, "Sure. Being a labrat seems the most reasonable explanation that I'm getting at the moment." Yes, she is eyeing Kip and Jack as she says that.
Kip moves out to reach for Cerise's arm, saying something quietly to her as he gives her a strangely intense look for a moment. But then he's turning back to the others and some of the flare seems to be tampered down a bit, like he's letting go of some of his anger for the moment. "No," he says to Jack. "Private property. You're not going there." And then to Logan and Avalon, he adds, "She looks fine. Normal. And I'm sure if she didn't look fine, one of us would notice." Oooh look at that, so much undertone dripping off those words. So much unsaid meaning. Who let the dramatic side of him out? "I'm more than happy to research what I need to, but the others already... mapped out the path when they went there. It's just a matter of following in their footsteps. I'll read the notes from their little adventure in the woods so we will know what to expect. And I'll find whomever took Cerie's hair and get it back and she'll be fine."
"I try to be reasonable in all things, Cerise," Logan says to Cerise, by ways of trying to reassure her. Or at least set himself apart from the irrational, reactive men here right now. He takes out his own phone, an iPhone X, and takes note of her number before pocketing it again. Then he turns to the other three, offering that bright, boyish grin of his. "We'll get this all sorted out. Try not to do anything rash." But he shrugs a shoulder and laughs. "Of course, I can't stop you. I'd just hate to see people get hurt for no good reason. Anyway, I'll see you later!" He waves to the group and heads towards the exit.
Jack's expression suggests that 'private property' isn't much of a deterrant. He just gives Kip a slow grin, and says nothing. "Well, I got to go too," he says and finishes his coffee. "Thanks for the coffee. And everything will be fine," he says, glancing at Cerise, thoughtful again. "Avalon - I'll call you later. I got some ideas. You all take care now." And with a curt nod, he turns about and leaves too.
"Sure, Jack. Or drop on by," Avalon replies easily. Getting up to her own feet, and gathering things to slide them back into her satchel. "I should probably head off, too," she says. "Thanks for the chai, Kip. Cerise? Let us know if anything else strange starts to develop."
Outside, Jack texts Avalon...
TXT From Jack To Avalon : See if you can take something off of Cerise? Something that you KNOW she owned before? Otherwise - I'll break into her place.
TXT From Avalon To Jack : I can't believe that I just stole a purse because of the influence of a cop.
TXT From Jack To Avalon : I have no idea what you're talking about. I deny everything. (And good job.)
TXT From Jack To Avalon : What about you? With your witchy scrying.
TXT From Avalon To Jack : I'll certainly give it a try.
TXT From Jack To Avalon : I ever tell you you're the best?
TXT From Avalon To Jack : Just remember that I like good tea, velvet and imported chocolate.
TXT From Jack To Avalon : Duly noted.