1963-11-20 - A Girl and Her Books
Summary: A father and his daughter go to a book expo, where they make a new friend…
Related: None
Theme Song: None
silencer rosemarie 



It is mid-afternoon.

School is over for the day. Those children heading home have either climbed into buses or cars — or walked — while those boarding at various schools have returned to their dorms. In the case of one remarkable nine-year-old girl named Emily Brooks, she is walking into town with her father:

Terry Walker.

Of all places she wants to visit on a school-afternoon, it's a book-expo in one of the larger stores. Terry smiles at that and takes her anyway. Currently they are on the sidewalk, a mere few hundred yards away from the store in question — walking hand in hand.

Most of their conversation is in sign-language — Emily is deaf — and this marks one of the few times one would find Terry Walker actually smiling. Emily giggles, hand over her mouth, at every amusing trick her father does with his abilities…

Such as randomly muting people in conversations as they pass by, or 'sound-proofing' a woman's head — so she can hear herself… but no one else can. Terry smirks down at his daughter, and waits at the curb before crossing the street.

It is a perfectly normal, quiet day.


The afternoon sun is surprisingly warm, a touch of flirtatious summer leftover in some memory of the world's weather. It brings many people out to the book exposition, including one Rosemarie Falcroft. A shorter shift for her today and time to peruse the many titles on rolling shelves displayed on the sidewalk outside.

She has to pin down the page before her as a brisker breeze flits by and then she's unconsciously tucking chestnut hair behind her ears. Her eyes quickly skim the page and take in the information before her. It's a book on meditation, one of things suggested to her by one of her new friends, Illyana. The young woman, with her…abilities? Magic?! Rosemarie still can't really wrap her brain around the concept of drawing power from another dimension entirely…she's not astrophysicist, just a librarian's aide, as clever as she is. No PhD for her. Regardless - with panic attacks bringing on the most inopportune of changes in Rosemarie's genetic make-up, her goal has been to simplify and calm her life.

Illyana added that she practiced meditation with her mentor/Master/teacher all of the time. Who had a Master anymore? Guy sounded like an archaically-minded jerk. Rosemarie frowns even as the thought passes by. Or maybe it had more of the Eastern philosophical connotation to it, like a Master Guru…or something.

Regardless, she takes one step closer to the rolling shelf to let someone pass by and continues reading, her finger leading the track of her cinnamon-brown eyes.


Father and daughter enter the book-expo, and the girl instantly makes a bee-line for the section that interests her most — no, not fairy-tales or anything fiction, whether something typical or atypical of young girls. She goes for books on art — one shelf over from where a certain young woman is perusing.

Terry Walker goes to call out to his daughter — as she very nearly runs into Rosemarie — but catches himself once remembering that Emily can't hear him. Even for him, that still ends up being one of those annoying little details one struggles to remember in the heat of the moment.

Strangely, it is Emily who prevents herself from quite connecting Rosemarie as she goes past. Without making a sound — any sound — the young girl somehow manages to nudge Rosemarie aside a mere second before colliding with her.

Terry immediately comes running up, his expression alarmed, intense, watching everywhere and anywhere all at once — hyperalert. Is his daughter okay? Did anyone see or notice what happened? Did Rosemarie notice? "Hey," he says aloud as he reaches Rosemarie. Emily, alerted to her father's presence by catching him out the corner of her eye (or was it the telekinetic tap on her shoulder? Not that anyone would have seen it), stops and turns — looking guilty.

"Sorry, luv," Terry says to Rosemarie in his obviously Australian accent. "She's been goin' on about a book-thing-whatever-this-is fer ages." While speaking, he uses sign-language to include Emily in the conversation.

Whaddya say to the sheila here, Em?

Sorry! the girl mouths and signs to Rosemarie.


Was it the mildest of telekinetic nudges that teased Rosemarie into shifting?

Was it the near-unconscious sentience of the unknown recoding of her genetics keeping its vessel safe?

Regardless, it takes the young woman a moment to realize that someone is speaking to her. Looking up from the book, she glances at man to child and then back to not man, but father to the daughter. "Sorry? What for?" It takes her another heartbeat to realize that she had felt the slightest of brushes in passing - must have been the daughter? "Oh, she didn't even touch me, you're fine." Statement to father, soothing side comment to little girl.

She notes the sign language and watches it with avid interest as well as a small smile. "American Sign Language! I haven't seen that in a while. And you're fine, really now," she repeats as she tucks the book beneath her armpit and kneels down to get eye level to the signer. "I'm Rosemarie. What's your name?"

Turns out that Rosemarie had a good friend back in junior high school who was also deaf. She never picked up any of the language, but does know to enunciate and make certain to have eye contact as well as add perhaps a bit more body language than normally necessary to impart her point. Big grin, soft eyes, relaxed shoulders. She even holds out a hand in case the daughter is brave enough to shake it.


I'm Emily, the girl mouths without making a sound. Her hands sign it out at the same time, just from habit. Terry glances askance at Rosemarie and repeats the name while his daughter takes the woman's hand for a polite handshake.

Scarcely another second passes, and the young girl is running toward the artbooks she wanted, from the next section over. It's only a few feet away; nothing to worry about. Terry turns back toward Rosemarie and shrugs his shoulders a bit.

"Kids, huh?" he remarks with a rueful half-smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. A heartbeat. "Got any? Oh, I'm Terry." And he offers his own hand — calloused and scarred as it is — to Rosemarie in greeting.


"Emily. That's a lovely name - oh!" And the little scamp is darting off towards the coloring books. With a chuckle, Rosemarie rises to her feet and glances over at the father. She nods to his thoughts on children before seeming to freeze up. Her eyes widen every so slightly before a blush touches her cheeks.

Quickly, she scrapes loose hair behind her ear and then takes his hand much more carefully than she did to Emily. His palm is roughened in comparison to hers, warmer, and she attempts one firm pump before retracting her hand away. It hides away in the process of shielding her front with the book on meditation. Arms crisscross across the back of the tome.

"No, no kids," she replies with a faint laugh. "Just a cat. I'm Rosemarie." Also offered with quiet hesitance in the face of such outgoing social expression. After all, she's a librarian's aide and used to dealing in muffled conversations.


Emily runs back, again soundlessly, to her father with some books in her arms. She shoves them into his arms — with partial success, in that he drops two of them on the floor. One is definitely a colouring-book, while the other is a collection of animal paintings from around the world.

Emily grins up at Rosemarie, and points to the bent corner of one of the hardcover books. She signs something, which causes her father to roll his eyes and look plaintively at Rosemarie.

"She says I damaged it an' hafta buy it now," he tells his new acquaintance. Then the weathered-looking fellow gives his daughter a raised eyebrow. "Planned this, di'ncha? Yeah."

Emily smirks, and glances back at Rosemarie.

"She has a cat," Terry says, making sure his daughter can see his lips in order to read his words. Emily signs something else, causing Terry to look over at their new friend once more.

"What's yer cat's name?"

More signing.

"Please."


Another chuckle from Rosemarie, muted in cautious expression in the face of possible parental disapproval. She raises her eyebrows once towards Emily and then glances between father and daughter as they have their brief silent conversation. It's intriguing, honestly, being on the outside and watching the delicate hand gestures form.

"Oh, my cat? Her name is Lola. She's a flame-point Siamese, the ones with the red on their faces and feet rather than the smoky-black." Proud of her cat? Very much so. Lola was hard to find and harder still to afford on a librarian aide's paycheck. Loved? Until the end of time. The sassy creature could easily be considered Rosemarie's other half and furry soulmate. "She was very sad that I had to leave her today, but this expo was going on and I couldn't resist it." All directed towards Terry now, with a shy smile. "I was looking for a certain kind of book and found it - " She runs her fingertips along the back cover of the book held to her chest in a four-beat tattoo, "just like I thought I would. It's surprisingly hard to find books on meditation here." A pensive frown that quickly evaporates as she glances down at the front cover once more. Now that's an expression of relief.


All the while Rosemarie speaks, Emily watches her face. It's not just the lips that she needs to see, but entire expressions to give emotional context to one's words. The eye-contact from an attentive child is never a bad thing in itself — and probably quite a rare thing these days.

When Emily glances at her father, he signs the words that she can't quite pick up on her own. Then he frowns at Rosemarie. "Meditation? You mean, like sittin' and contemplatin' existence? Or stuff to keep ya calm 'n sh — stuff?"

Unfortunately for Terry, even though he catches him before speaking the word 'shit', he still accidentally signs it. Emily gives a silent gasp and lightly thumps her father in the hip.

Sorry, he signs.


Rolling her lips inwards, Rosemarie prevents a smile of embarrassment for Terry from appearing. Emily seems to have the recrimination part all figured out.

"Yes, for keeping calm and stuff." There's that little quirk to one side of her mouth, unable to be completely repressed. "My life has been far too hectic lately and things…things like this are nice. Nothing crazy ever happens at a book expo, unless you count people shoving in line to get a book signed by some author." She laughs lightly. "I don't know who the guest author is here today, so I won't be stressed-out by anyone."


Terry 'huhs', nodding his head. "Quiet, yeah. That's my thing. Stress… comes with the territ'ry." He could be speaking of his job as a merc — not that it has come up in conversation — or, just as likely, his role as a father. The latter is how Emily takes it, and puts her hands on her hips.

"Not you, Sweetie," her father assures her. "You don' stress me at all, luv." 'Thump'. "Okay, maybe a little — but I love the stress and the quiet with you, Em." 'Hug.' Terry's eye had twitched when he'd said 'you don't stress me at all', and Emily had seen it.

He gathers up all the books his daughter hands to him, tucking them under an arm and muses aloud: "Now what's this all gonna cost me? An' what's yer mother gonna say about where you got all these new books from?"

Emily shrugs. 'Library,' she signs, mouthing the word at the same time. 'Or, borrowed them from Lisa. At school.'

"Hmph," says Terry. "Fair enough." Apparently there is 'something' there, between Terry and Emily's mother. Complicated. Terry looks back at Rosemarie. "You do this sort o' thing often? Book… things?"


The brunette watches the girl with a slight squint of curiosity. She can't read lips, but clearly, she's mollifying her father about the stack of books he now holds in his arms. She smiles again, the expression a smidge lop-sided for the scarring across one side of her lip.

"Often? No, not too often. I don't have the time to attend them normally." Rosemarie glances around and then back to Terry. "I was expecting one of my work friends to show, but alas - seems that life got the better of her. I think she was just being nice telling me that she was going to attend anyways." A resigned shrug, though not sad - accepting, in a way. "But I found my book and that's the most important part."


"I've got books at home, but I hardly ever read 'em; back in the day I mostly stuck to mission reports, briefings — that kind of stuff." Terry says as he starts making his way toward the counter. Emily is already ducking ahead, and darting back, ducking ahead and darting back, grinning at her father from time to time. Terry always seems to manage to get her attention without having to run after her — as calling out would do no good.

"Where d'ya work?" he asks after a moment. Terry stops at the counter, which is just inside the entrance of the book-expo, while there are more tables on display outside — all covered in books. Emily stops at one of them — romance novels, random selections — while occasionally stopping to watch traffic out on the street.


There's a sense of unspoken invitation to follow the pair and Rosemarie considers the man's retreating back in silent moderated interest. Mission reports? Must have been military. Australia, though?

"I work at the New York Public library, aide. Re-shelving books, handing out late slips… It's nice when it's quiet though. You learn a lot, even by flipping briefly through the books returned to you." She takes her place in line behind Terry and runs fingertips down the front of the book on meditation. This had better work… she thinks, with equal parts hope and weariness. It's hard when she can't tell the difference between an itch caused by a loose thread on her collar and one caused by something else entirely.


"Bit like…" Terry replies while waiting to be served. "Actually, I dunno — never been that much of a book person, yeah. Unless you count looking through some Communist 'warlord's' stash of por — erm, magazines — while gatherin' intel."

He 'hmphs' wryly at that, but gives a faintly embarrassed shrug of his shoulders. The expo quietens just a little… and Emily turns around, coming back to her father. "C'mon," says he as the cashier is ready to process the sale. When his hands are free he asks, "Wanna grab a bite after this?" speaking aloud while signing.

Emily looks reprovingly at her father and signs something back. Terry translates for Rosemarie: "She says I'll spoil her dinner. Figures. Still, gotta run — nice, or swell, or whatever you Americans usually say, meetin' ya."

Both father and daughter smile. Emily waves vigorously to her new friend.


Rosemarie watches the signing once more and grins at Terry's explanation of the conversation at hand.

"Wouldn't want to spoil dinner, it's an important meal." Another soft laugh, still shy despite the friendliness of father and daughter, but she does return Emily's wave even as she steps up the counter and places down her book on meditation.

"That'll do just fine. Nice meeting you too!" One last little wiggle-wave of her fingers and she turns back to the clerk in time to answer his question as to whether or not she found what she was looking for.

Indeed, she did, along with some new friends!


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