1965-01-30 - Finding the Lynchpin
Summary: On her never-ending quest for metahuman equality, Jennifer Walters finds aid from Rosemarie Falcroft in the public library.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
rosemarie jennifer-walters 

The rhythmic *click-clack* of heels on the hard library floors precedes Jennifer Walters' actual arrival by a few long counts. It's old, this building, and there are parts of the original slab flooring that at best have seen only the thin protection of a fading industrial carpet from time to time. In fact, the last few paces towards the Help Desk are swallowed up by that heavy commercial fabric, breaking the rhythm rather jarringly.

High-powered suits are a relatively rarity in the library. Academics are, by definition, never in a hurry, and students with no formal dress code seldom wear hard-soled shoes into the ediface. So Jen Walters, Attorney At Law, is already a bit of an anomaly, with an attache case, black pinstriped suit, and hair in a bun that would be severe save for a few errants wisps over her bangs.

And she's a startling near-seven feet tall, and her skin is a brilliant, healthy shade of green.

"Excuse me," she says, addressing the nearest library technician. She's a little over-loud, someone accustomed to projecting her voice. "I'm looking for the law section, and there's no one at the main help desk?"

Rosemarie can probably blame the extreme focus on her task at hand, which involves sorting the last missing box of patron check-out cards by chronological date of acquisition. It's a pain, it is, and she's sporting a grimace by the time that Ms. Walters finally reaches her particular podium.

In fact, the volume of the voice makes her jump in her seat, jarring over a small mesh-wire tin of pencils and one half of the stack. At least it all stayed on the desk! Slamming a hand down on an errant, rolling pencil, she manages a short laugh before glancing up at the patron. And then staring. And then realizing that she's staring and turning a brilliant shade of red from her cheeks to her ears.

"Oh!" It's all she can find for words at first. "Oh, um, g-g-give m-me a second, sorry," she continues, her voice dropping to nearly a whisper. She ducks down beneath the desk to find one lost pencil before popping back up again, only a strand of her bun gone astray. Clearing her throat, she brushes down the front of her blouse and tries for a winning smile. "You said l-l-law, right? F-Follow m-m-me." With that, she steps from within the little podium-desk and gets to walking, glancing over her shoulder to make sure she isn't out-pacing Ms. Walters.

Jennifer's used to people reacting that way, and her response is an instant and polite smile. She was trying to be a little obtrusive in her approach, but— well. Book nerds can get lost in their own world.

More helpfully, at least, she deftly puts a large palm down atop the pencils and pins the others in place. While Rosemarie retrieves the one lost, she gathers the others and puts them back into the mesh container and sets it upright again.

"Yes please. Specifically I'm looking for New York state statutes, the relevant sections on rental rate regulations," she tells Rosemarie. She keeps up easily, even shortening her strides so Rosemarie isn't forced to double-step to set pace.

The librarian nods as she listens to precisely what's being sought out. Their travels take them from the main entrance area, with its empty main help desk (ooh, Mrs. Ketch is going to nail someone for that!), and into one of the halls. On both sides of the long and double-wide hallway, doors open into study rooms as well as smaller collections specific in relevancy; maps, pictures, genealogy, etc.

"I'm n-n-not one-hundred p-percent certain as to sp-p-pecifics in this section, b-b-but everything is v-v-very w-w-well-labeled w-within the law section," she says softly, mindful not to speak loud enough to disturb anyone pouring over books in the various small cubbies.

"My paralegal came down with a bad case of eloping at Niagara Falls," Jen explains, rolling her eyes with an irritated eloquence. "And I'm fully expecting that I'll get a letter from MRS. Allison Shandy in a few weeks apologizing for leaving work, but 'she's met the one' and 'it's time to focus on being a mother'."

She steers away from the stacks and towards a law library card catalogue. This woman's a professional researcher; few people know how to navigate the law library catalogue, which makes the conventional card system look like a phone book.

She starts flicking through index cards faily quickly, fingernails (also green) deftly segregating them. She pulls out one at a time, transcribes the information to a spare notecard, and puts it back.

"And I have a case I'm arguing on Monday over some /obscure/ interpretation in State regulation, so this isn't— well, there's never a /good/ time for a paralegal to pull up stakes, but— mrgh." She exhales upwards, making the loose hair on her brow dance.

Rosemarie lingers by the door leading into the law section of the library. Yet another few nods conveys a camaraderie of sorts.

"I c-can't imagine th-that's easy at all," she sympathizes. Her dark eyes wander over the green-skinned woman's form and wondering etches itself on her features. Still, she finds her voice again after another moment of pensive silence. "I hope y-y-you w-win your c-case, especially if it's ab-b-bout rent. Some p-people are horrid…the l-l-landlords, I m-mean. I'm very l-lucky with mine, b-but I know others aren't."

"Mmmh. Metahumans have it bad in this town," Jennifer explains, her deeply jade eyes flickering back and forth over the square-rimmed glasses low on her nose. "It's pretty hard to justify racial prejudice, and it's easy to prove. Metas don't have the same legal protections. One pyro sneezes and sets an apartment on fire, all of a sudden landlords left and right are evicting tenants or ratcheting their rates to the clouds."

She finishes a small stack of index cards and turns to face Rosemarie. "Which is ridiculous, because people smoke around hair products and run those little space heaters and use hot plates, and those catch on fire all the time." She *fffffts* the index cards with the edge of a fingernail. "Looks like I need to pull a few books. Can you send someone over from this section, or can I hang on to you for a bit longer?" she inquires, with a good-natured smile.

The brunette is contemplating precisely how one would set an apartment on fire via sneezing — it has a decidedly dragon-esque lean to it and she does frown a little, her eyes gone distant. Could there be metahumans with draconic abilities?

She comes back to the present again, catching about half of what Jennifer says. Another faint blush betrays her, but still, Rosemarie smiles shyly. "I'm able to c-c-continue assisting y-you, yes," she replies. Inwardly, she's content to take a break from the drudgery of those old patron cards. Walking up to the tall and brilliantly-green lawyer, she holds out a hand. "D-Divide and c-c-conquer, maybe?" A little laugh is more embarrassment peeking forth.

"Fair enough," Jen says, matching Rosemarie's giggle with a throaty, easy laugh. "Okay. I'll take… these four," Jen says, dealing the remainder to Rosemarie like someone who's played a little poker in her day. "You take these three. Meet back here in twenty minutes?" she suggests, waving a hand at a low, sturdy oak table. Likely picked because the chairs are solid old hardwood that look like they were built to survive a bombing attack on New York, in case the Kaiser invaded.

She picks up her cards and starts moving through the stacks, the clicking of her designer shoes disappearing into the thick muffled pages of the books around her.

"S-Sounds like a p-p-plan," Rosemarie replies quietly. She holds up her cards in a little fan as she watches the lawer disappear off into the stacks. The cesura of wonderment continues for a few counts longer before she blinks and covers her mouth against a smile. New York was getting to be full of wonders! But now, there were books to find. Glancing down at her collection of index cards, she too makes her way into the aisles of books, her steps far softer due to their flat-footed bottom.

The minutes pass, and then the librarian emerges from the collection with a small armful of books, some thin and some attempting to reach the height of an encyclopedia. The thump heard is her placing down the stack on the oak table and she rubs at her forearms briefly before glancing back over her shoulder.

Jen is a minute or two behind Rosemarie, and easily cradles six giant tomes in her arms. The business suit strains a little at the sleeve; her skirt shows some athletic lines in her calves, but Jen must be built like a powerlifter. She sets the books down on the table, flashing a smile at Rosemarie, and starts glancing over the contents in Rosemarie's stack.

"Wow. Nice job," she says, impressed. "I should hire /you/ to do this. Most librarians get fixated on pull cards. Looks like you found some good secondary references in there," she remarks.

"Oh, it-t-t-t-t —" Gotta pause to cut off that machine-gun stutter and Rosemarie simply sighs after a moment. "It was n-nothing, b-b-but thank y-you. And you're w-welcome!" She doesn't pull back a chair just yet, uncertainty present in her stance. "D-D-Do you n-need further assistance?"

There's an awfully hopeful light in her cinnamon-brown eyes. She certainly wouldn't say no to aiding the lawyer in finding information. This has been the highlight of her day thus far!

Jen's already sitting down (carefully); the chair creaks alarmingly, but holds. She's already mentally preparing her farewells to Rosemarie, so the other woman's offer comes as a surprise that momentarily derails her train of thought.

"Wow, sister, you really go for the 'full service' press here," she says, with wry admiration. "Law research isn't any fun, but—" she eyes a book, then flips it open and turns it on its back to face Rosemarie. "Anything on rent control, equal rights, or liability and property damage," she tells the comparatively smaller woman. "Find me a lynchpin for my argument, I'll throw a nice dinner into it."

With her chin dipping in quick, birdlike nods, Rosemarie pulls back one of the heavy chairs. It grinds across the floor, making her wrinkle her nose in bookish dismay, but scooting it back in is far less noisy in turn. She leans over the book in question after angling one of the study-lights to better illuminate the text. A fingertip with carefully-tended and polish-free fingernail slowly works down the page. Flip. Flip. ….flip. Flip? Flip.

The brunette eventually makes a soft hum in the back of her throat and glances over to Jennifer. "W-Would s-s-something abut d-d-damages work? Th-There's something here ab-b-bout subpar m-materials and p-painting?" She angles the open book towards the lawyer, keeping her nail on the beginning of the paragraph in question. "I d-d-don't know anything about l-law," she adds by way of apology in case the information is ultimately useless.

Jen glances up at Rosemarie's quiet voice— the woman is so soft-spoken, it almost doesn't cross Jen's perceptions when Rose speaks to her.

"Hmm? Lemme see," Jen says, pulling the book closer. She skims across it fairly quickly, absently scratching her temple with a pencil eraser and tugging her neat bun out of proper arrangement.

"Hey. Hey, this isn't bad at all," Jen says, approvingly. "Yeah. I mean, on its own, no, but— here, look at this, and this," she says, pulling other books over to face Rosemarie. "See, we have to establish that the damages caused by a tenant were 'unreasonable and excessive' under the code. You can't be evicted for doing minor damage. Now, you've got this guy who evicted someone because he used shoddy materials in the renovation, and that exacerbated the normal wear and tear. I can use that along with some of the New York state building code, plus some discussions on ethnic prejudices that go back to the Chinese shooting off fireworks," she explains. "I can show that the damages caused by a metahuman are no worse than would be inflicted by any given tenant, and likely would have been mitigated by proper structural code."

Rosemarie sits with her mouth formed to a small 'O' of quiet surprise and hands folded in her lap, within the shadows of her skirt. Re-reading the other information does clarify things a little further on top of the succinct explanation of Jennifer's court-room battle plan. Finally, she looks over at the green-skinned lawyer again.

"Th-That m-m-m-makes sense to m-me. I'm glad that I c-could help!" While still softly spoken, her smile is braver this time around.

"Help? This might make my case," Jen says, wryly. She starts closing books out and fills out the checkout card in neat, immaculate penmanship. She seems capable of writing while talking, never missing a beat.

"If you ever get bored with the librarian bit, let me know. I could use a new paralegal, since mine has decided to work on her Mrs. degree," she says. She scribbles a few digits down on a scrap paper and offers it to Rosemarie. "And a deal's a deal— drinks at 41, on me," she tells Rosemarie. "Wear your party shoes, it's the hottest nightclub in town at the moment," she advises the woman.

Taking the slip of paper in-hand, Rosemarie looks from it to Jennifer again and then, upon hearing the name of the club as well as suggested mode of dress, those doe-eyes go quite wide.

"Oh — oh my," she breathes before laughing again. Her fingers stray up behind an ear to scratch behind it; those dreaded feathers, how they tickle just beneath the skin with a simple jump in blood pressure. A small laugh and then she grins, caught up in the excitement of going to that particular club! "Of course, p-p-party shoes. What t-t-time?"

"Nine PM? Cabs run up there all the time, unless you're clear out in Schenetady or something," she says, with wry humor. "It doesn't get really lively until a little before midnight, but we've closed it down a few time. Liquor board turns a blind eye to it, there are too many lawyers and civil servants drinking our woes away there. I'll see you— tomorrow?" she offers, gathering her things and rising. She shoulders her attache case. "I'll send someone over to collect these books and bring them to my law firm. Gimme a call, huh? Thanks again for the help." She mouths a 'bye-bye' and waggles her fingers at Rosemarie, and then heads towards the exit.

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