1963-09-05 - Evening Studies
Summary: Rosemarie Falcroft helps Peter Parker find a book or two and gains a new friend in the process. She also feels the pressure of changes and must address it soon.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
rosemarie peter 

As a student at Empire State University, Peter Parker has access to an actually rather quite nice library. It's several stories high, and with state of the art microfiche. But there's a problem in that it closes rather early considering the times that the young vigilante finds himself rushing about. He needs to get some information after five o'clock and the doors are locked there on campus what with the Summer hours… so it's off to the National Library he goes.

With a backpack slung over his shoulder and his hands in his pockets, Peter makes his way into the hallowed halls. The place is lovely, tall, with so many tomes held in places of honor and prominence. Yet the decor also has that modern brown and orange look to it that's so trendy today. He'd always taken some solace in the library, a place to go to escape the pressures of the day… even if his purpose here today was to work on his thesis as well as perhaps take a glance at something a friend asked him to look up.

So there he is, walking up quietly to the information desk and leaning over to speak to the representative there in a quiet whisper, "Hi. I was looking for something about the War of 1812 from the British standpoint if possible?"


It's an evening shift, one she doesn't particularly like (she's not fond of traveling at night in the big city), and Rosemarie lets out a hissing sigh of displeasure from behind her lightly-bared teeth. The red check marks on the stack's book list are too many in number, which means someone isn't returning the books they've checked out. Disappointed patrons mean extra leg-work for her and sometimes a not-so-subtle attitude from the head librarian. But as if Rosemarie had any control over this!!!

She's clicking the pen's cap against the surface of her work station, the information desk nearest to the European History stacks, when she sees movement beyond the edge of the raised lip of the station. With a final decisive (and clearly irritated) swipe-swipe of the pen, she caps it loudly and slaps it down on the stack of papers. Her pert lips are twisted in a moue of displeasure as she shoves the stack to one side and then looks up at the patron needing her assistance.

He speaks softly, respectfully for the library and its workers, and she appreciates that more than most people know. Nothing like being flipped off by ornery teenagers for reminding them that no one else wants to hear their side conversations. "The War of 1812, huh? Let me see what I can find for you," she replies in an equally-quiet voice. She reaches up and tucks her mouse-brown hair behind her ear; in the process, she smears a little bit of red ink just along the back edge of her cheekbone on that side. She's oblivious to it as she flips quickly through the log of pertinent books. "From the British standpoint too….hmm. That's a bit more specific," she mumbles to herself. Her cinnamon-brown eyes quickly scan the pages for any pertinent titles. She glances up at the young man and offers him a professional smile. "No one often asks for the British perspective on things on American history."


A faint smile appears on the young man's features. He adjusts his glasses with the push of a knuckle to push it back up the bridge of his nose as he stands there, unslinging his backpack from his shoulder and setting it down at his feet. "It's for a friend, to be fair. I mean, I could stand here and act all distinguished and well-read… but that'd be dishonest."

Peter's smile appears then a little wider as he leans against the counter for a bit, looking at her as she considers options. "I think he was wanting to settle a bet or something. I'm here to work on my thesis once I get him this book." There's a pause, then he adds with a small nod. "If it exists, that is."

He waits for her to peruse what records she will, moving with her if she changes locations. If she moves away from the desk he'll resling his pack and follow.


It takes her some digging in the log and several page flips later, her questing fingertip halts about two-thirds down the page. Rosemarie's face lights up in a pleased grin.

"Bradford Perkins, 'Prologue to War', just published not too long ago, actually," she says softly, looking up at the young man before her. "If you'll follow me." And with that, she rises from her seat and steps out from behind the desk. She's headed for some of the back stacks, with the collections of history pertaining to continental wars, and glances back towards Peter, warm brown eyes alight with humor. She does enjoy things like bets and pranks. "Looks like you're going to win this bet after all. It was published in 1961. It focuses on diplomatic relations on the war from the British perspective. But that's not /your/ thesis, right? You said you were working on something else." She asks preemptively, in order to offer more aid as needed should he be looking for yet another book.


A small grin, "Not my bet, but I may eat some of the pizza that the winner gets." Peter walks along with her, hands in his pockets as he looks curiously after each book her fingertips linger upon. It's only when she finds the one they're looking for he steps forward and accepts it from her, turning it to look along the spine then at the cover. He flips it open and starts turning pages.

His smile reaches his blue eyes as he looks back to her, "Not enough pictures for my taste, but I'm sure he'll appreciate it." He tucks that book under his arm as he stops to stand in front of her. He glances over his shoulder and then back to her as he gestures with the jerk of a thumb behind him, "For me it's Chemistry. Need to dig up some old results from the '58 McGinley trials they ran with the department of Health."


"Mmm, pizza. Gosh, that sounds great right now," she laughs. After offering him the book in question, she grins again at his humorous comment and turns to fix the alignment of the neighboring titles around the now-empty slot in the shelf. "The McGinley trial, huh?" She glances up after seeing his gesture in her peripheral and cranes her head around him to look in the direction of the Chemistry stacks. "What sort of results?" She realizes she's being nosy now and pinks just slightly on the tips of her ears and on her cheeks, beneath the sprinkling of freckles. "I mean, I can show you where those books are if you want to know."


His lips part as he turns towards the direction of the chemistry shelves. And, to be fair, he has been there before a handful of times when his own research failed at the university library. So he's come in here now and then, and perhaps she's even seen him those few times, though tonight was the first time they'd spoken.

"I sorta know whe…" He starts to say, but then he perhaps sees the colouring of her cheeks and that small smile, "I mean, heck. Sure, why not? I could always use a hand finding what's what around here. Dewey Decimal is no friend of mine." He offers lightly as he opens a hand to the side, offering for her to lead the way.

If she does so he'll fall into step behind her. "So were you here when this place was robbed by that villain guy, what was his name? The Archiver?"


"The Archiver," Rosemarie replies with quiet thoughtfulness as she leads the way towards the section dedicated to Chemistry and its cousins in science. She taps a fingertip momentarily against her lips before uttering a soft laugh and nodding. "Oh yes, that one. I remember the tabloids called him that. I was actually just punching in for my shift that day when the cops burst in the front doors. My coworker and I watched from behind the clock room door. I mean, I had it cracked open and she was such a goose about it," and the young woman laughs. They reach the Science section and she automatically takes one turn and then another, leading Peter deeper into the shelves. "She kept asking me to shut the door and all I wanted to hear was what was happening. I didn't actually get to see him get arrested, but I heard all of the commotion." She stops in the middle of a broad aisle, glancing to either side and frowning. "I could have sworn that this was the section, but we might have trespassed into the Physics sections…" she murmurs to herself.


"Uh oh, uncharted waters." Peter smiles from behind and over her shoulder as he stops to stand there while she gets her bearings, his hands settled in the pockets of his jeans. He looks around and hmms to himself, "Let's see, the sun is well past its zenith, and we are in the northern hemisphere. Which means we'll have to wait til night fall before we can chart our course home." He nods solemnly as if what he said made sense.

But then he smiles and casually leans forwards, looking down one aisle… then the other and he gestures. "I think it's down there actually." He grins back to her and starts to lead the one now, expecting her to come along as he walks. "Yah, I heard he was kind of a jerk. Wanted to steal all the old first editions in storage? Something like that. Luckily he was stopped."


Rosemarie giggles and drops her shoulders in a sigh. She's about to respond that, in fact, the section they're hunting for is farther down the way, but her library patron beats her to the punch. This time, she steps up alongside him, easily following with her long-legged strides.

"I guess that's what he was here for, yes. There's some rumor going around that old Mr. Dunbar stopped him by dropping an encyclopedia onto the thief's head, but I think it's just a rumor," she confides in Peter. Her lips rise in a smile, the expression made somewhat lopsided by the little scar she's had since childhood. Once they reach the section focused on Chemistry, easily determined by the appearance of titles such as "Molecules and You" and "The History of Alchemy", she stopped and glanced over at him. "Well, here you are. If you know where this is, I bet you know where the crime section is too." A strand of hair is tucked behind her ear as she habitually looks around her. Every once and a while, a patron looks extremely confused and Rosemarie knows to float over to offer help to them. There's no one nearby right now, but she will likely be stopped on the way back to her desk. "Anything else I can do to help?"


"No, I'm good." His smile reaches his blue eyes as he gives her a friendly nod. "It was nice meeeting you. My name's Peter… if I didn't already say." To which he didn't, or at least he thinks he might not have. But just in case it bears repeating.

"But if you need any extra help finding anything or some more directions, I'll be just over here." He waves a hand, but then he also points over towards the set of wooden desks. "Or over there. Don't worry, I won't let on that I'm secretly the super expert." Oh he won't let her live it down that he was able to navigate this small bit of the library better. But hey it might be an excuse to talk some more down the line.


The young woman gives him a skeptical look, but eventually her smile returns, though a bit smaller and more restrained now for the sake of professionalism.

"It's nice to meet you, Peter the Super Secret Expert of the Science Stacks. Perhaps I'll send the other patrons your way the next time they want to find the journals on microphysiology or the latest reports on the lunar rings of Saturn." With hands clasped primly before her, she steps around him and begins to head back towards her centralized work location. Halfway down the neighboring shelf, she pauses and looks back at him over her shoulder. "My name is Rosemarie, if you need me again. I'll be at my desk."

Her attention is abruptly captured by a soft-spoken middle aged woman who comes over. It's a quick conversation and Rosemarie is able to determine that the woman's young son needs to borrow a book on the science of baking for a school project. Her brown eyes twinkle as she glances back at Peter once again and calls down the aisle, "Peter, you'd be able to show this wonderful woman where the books on the chemistry of yeast are?"


"You got it!" Peter says as she suggests he'd know where those journals and information might well be. Though he may actually have a bit of a grasp on it, considering in 4th grade he took a quiz once on the Dewey decimal system. Yet as she walks off he smiles to himself, but when she pauses long enough to offer her name he gives a nod that is made friendly with the curl at the corner of his mouth. "Good to meet you, Rosemarie."

But then for a time he's left to his own devices, choosing a few tomes to tuck under his arm as he gets set or some digging. He's able to acquire enough for his own uses and adds them to the pile with the historical text he's going to check out for his friend. It's only then that he settles down at his seat at one of those quad-desks that's there with a few dividers to allow private study.

But when he hears her voice down the aisle calling to him he grins and gives her an oh so admonishing look as he holds a finger to his lips, "Rosemarie, shhh!" Oh he did not just shush her in her own work place.

But then he gives a nod, "Sure thing, if you folks will follow me…"


Her surprised laugh at Peter's admonishment is muffled politely behind her hand and thankfully not loud enough to draw attention back to her from the patrons now approaching the young man with mildly confused expressions. He had no name tag, what on earth was he doing without a name tag?

"I appreciate your assistance, Peter," Rosemarie calls more quietly down to him and bites her lip against another giggle. Teach the young man to get haughty in her presence. With a turn that leaves her skirt swirling about her knees, she makes her way back to her desk and begins to work on marking off those overdue books once again.

She isn't far into leaving those awful red check-marks when a looming shadow makes her pause and then glance up. It's the head librarian, Mrs. Ketch, wearing a very familiar pinch-faced look of irritation.

"Aren't you finished with that list, Rosemarie?"

Rosemarie swallows at the tone of the woman's voice and glances down at it. "Almost," she replies quietly. She still flinches as the woman huffs.

"It is nearly closing time! What have you been doing, sitting here day-dreaming? We don't pay you to waste our time like that." The head librarian's mouth twists into a grimace. "You should know better."

Rosemarie also knows better than to argue that she was, in fact, doing her job. Nothing breaches Mrs. Ketch's late-shift mood swings into the negative zone. "Yes, Mrs. Ketch," she replies in a bland monotone that suffices as a response.

The head librarian sniffs sharply, as if clearing her nose of some horrid smell. "We close in half an hour. Let the patrons know." Rosemarie watches the woman skulk off and is reminded of a mangy alley cat, all angles and continually-twitchy bad temper. Setting aside her list with a sigh, she rises and begins the process of speaking to every single patron on the base floor of the library, a process that will take her nearly all of the half hour and perhaps more if anyone puts up a fit.


Luckily the gambit paid off, for those library patrons are shown where they needed to be and were even told, "My name's Peter if you need anything else." He even smiles happily as he says that and if she were eavesdropping or made eye contact with him at some point around then, he'd have mouthed to her something along the lines of, 'that's how it's done.'

Yet he's focused on his own things as he flips through some of the pages of the books he's needing to study. For a time he gets lost into it, turning a page here or there and making a few notes in his spiral notebook. He also seems to be taking down some of the contact information for some of the distributors in the back for some reason. Yet he is busy when she approaches him.

"Oh hey." He glances over at the clock and then asks, "Getting late? Come to kick me out?"


Rosemarie actually hesitates, standing at the end of one of the stacks, when she spies the back of Peter's head. He hasn't been here for very long at all and she feels badly for having to be the bearer of the bad news. She remembers very well the inherent annoyance that came to her when she was deeply involved with a school project and the school librarian would interrupt her highly-focused studies.

With an inaudible short sigh, she walks over and is spared coming up with some awkward statement by Peter's attention shifting from his book to her. "Yes, unfortunately," she replies with an apologetic half-smile. "We close in about ten minutes. If you want to check out that book, run up to the front desk and do so. Diana hasn't left yet," she adds, referencing the black-haired much-younger librarian's aid in charge of stamping books in and out. Diana was sweet as pie, but Rosemarie always felt that she had some air space between her ears. "I hope you got at least some of the information you needed," she adds as she walks away, granting him a brief lop-sided smile.

It thankfully takes Rosemarie only about three more minutes to find the last patron and he's as kind as Peter, thanking her for reminding him of the time because his wife would kill him if he was late getting home again. She finds herself up at the front desk with Diana and chit-chats lightly with the younger woman as she watches each patron leave, mentally ticking off the faces and noting the people she hasn't seen leave just yet.


When Peter comes up to the front desk, he unloads that armful of books with a light /whu-whumpf/ of sound as they're set down in a small avalanche. Yet it's still the six book limit, it's just… well… they're rather big books. He smiles to Diana and tells her, "Hi." But then he looks over and meets Rosemarie's gaze, offering her a wiggle of fingertips in greeting. "Oh hey, Rosemarie. It's been a dog's age. How are you doing?"

His smile twitches a bit as he teases, but then he looks back to Diana and gestures with a thumb, "Old friends." He gives a nod solemnly as if they are long time veterans of the great war or some such. But when their manager walks by he greets her as well with a smile, not knowing that Mrs. Ketch sees such open displays of joviality as something of a challenge.

Yet for now, Peter is so pleasantly blissful as he adjusts the hang of his backpack while standing in line waiting on the previous patron to get their books checked out.


Rosemarie can feel the prickling on the back of her neck as Mrs. Ketch looms behind her, but it's Diana's fault entirely that there's a line for book check-out in the first place and finally, the head librarian sweeps onwards. Giving the woman's back a secretive glare, Rosemarie then turns her attention to Peter and shakes her head twice.

"Nothing much has changed since I delivered the dreadful news of our impending closing hour," she replies, folding her hands primly on the desk top before her and offering a pert smile. Diana gives her coworker a curious look, actually pausing for a moment in mid-stamp; the look switches to the young man next in line and lingers a bit longer, but then resumes her process with two eyebrows raised high. "Diana will get those books checked out for you shortly here," she adds as an unspoken goad for the stamp-wielding assistant to chop-chop, double-time, stop lollygagging, etc, etc. Rosemarie reaches up to scratch at a lingering tickle behind her ear and her nose wrinkles momentarily as she realizes that there's a mirrored itch on the other side of her head as well.


Looking back to the younger librarian, Peter smiles gently, looking all the world like a nerdy college student (which he is) with those glasses and that ESU jacket. "Thank you, Diana." He says once she gets up to checking out his books with that stamp that states when it's due back. He waits patiently for her to get through the six he chose and then he starts to stuff them into his backpack, though he has to carry the last one under his arm.

Once that's done he starts to step back and away from the desks. "Have a good night!" He calls out as he make for the door and once he does he slips on outside.


Rosemarie gives the parting college student a polite wave and professional smile before her face falls into a tired moue. "And don't you start," she cuts off Diana even as the younger assistant goes to ask her about this glasses-wearing new friend of hers. The last patron leaves without saying a thing and Rosemarie deftly locks both sets of doors. It doesn't take long for the rest of the staff to gather their things and they all exit out the side door, Mrs. Ketch lastly since she bears the ring of master keys for the place.

"Bright and early tomorrow, those of you who will be here," she says, her voice ringing sharply in the cool night air. Rosemarie shivers despite her jacket and rubs at her upper arms. Her apartment isn't far away at all, only a few blocks, but she still considers hailing a cab before she remembers that another staff member, one of the older librarians, lives nearby her and offered to walk her home during night shifts. Mrs. Ketch says a few more important things, but the itching behind Rosemarie's ears has intensified and she grimaces as she digs her fingernails into the skin.

"Looks like you have fleas," the woman says with tired humor as they all split and go their separate ways.

"Who knows?" Rosemarie replies with a small laugh that fogs in the air before her. "Nothing a warm bath won't cure."

"Amen to that," her coworker replies. They walk in companionable silence until they reach Rosemarie's apartment, first along their path, and the two part with quiet wishes of a good night and good dreams.

Rosemarie's small apartment is sparingly but fondly decorated with various accoutrements and foibles that reflect her hobbies. She sheds her coat and purse in the closet just beside the front door before retreating to her room. As she walks past the bathroom, she finds herself itching again and growls some half-hearted curse. At first, she can't quite twist to see behind her ears with the size of the mirror, but finally, she finds an angle that works. The skin looked reddened and bumpy, as if she were having an allergic reaction to something, and she sighs tiredly. "Sleep," she mumbles as she continues to get ready for bed. "Sleep cures all ills."

This time, however, sleep does not cure her ills. Deep night finds Rosemarie wide awake and staring at the far wall, shivering and baring her teeth in animalistic fear. Another night terror, some unfathomable and horrifying sequence leaving her shattered once again. Her shadow is cast brightly on the wall from the full moon shining its light through the window. The outlines of feathers quiver with each quiet sob. Somehow…something must be done.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License