Books and Boys

Manhattan - Times Square

Massive billboards decorate the streets, amid the neon lights, towering hotels, and high-priced souvenir shops that define the area. The sheer energy of this neighborhood is exciting; the pace frantic; the sidewalks, usually packed with tourists and New Yorker's alike.

While Times Square was once a seedy part of the city, it's been cleaned up and revitalized to draw people to the nearby Broadway theaters. Times Square is also home to the world-famous New Year's Eve countdown celebration and ball-drop.


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Brooke Bishop Sera Roche Abigail Allen

Despite being extremely busy with the album launch, and a few of her other clients, Brooke has been the 'perfect' daughter for the day, and drove up to Lima the previous evening to see her mother, and bring her flowers. It's a long drive, really, so she's only gotten back an hour or so ago. She's been following the news though, about Mandy Lockhart.

The show that Mandy was in is temporarily closed to allow the cast time to grieve, but will be reopening the next night.

As for Brooke, though, she's coming out of the giant M&M's store located in Times Square, with a bag filled with candy. Most for her older sister, though there are a few items that she's going to stick in her freezer as soon as she takes the train back to Brooklyn. Except for the mint chocolate M&Ms which she tears open and eats a handful of as she walks along, looking at shops, and trying to distract herself to keep from calling the theater and offering assistance to avoid a PR nightmare.


Being useful, that's what Serafine hopes she's doing. Mandy Lockhart's story and picture has been plastered all over the newspapers and television news, Kostas is fit to be tied, and Denny is running out of time to stall on giving the coroner's report. Toby's parents have money, and with their son the prime suspect, everyone wants that medical report. The problem is, Denny is going to have hell of a time making 'throat slashed' cause of death stick if the Prosecutor's Office wants to take another look so they can charge Toby.

It really is a PR nightmare. One that, Kieran reminded her that she shouldn't care about, but for reasons she can't fathom, she does care. About the possibility of two vampires, about how The Priory is going handling it.

The Priory? Keep telling yourself that.

The alleyway is cordoned off still, yellow caution tape swaying in the breeze and an occassional passerby stops to peer or snap a picture.

Realizing she's been staring at the alley for far longer than morbid curiosity will allow, she turns away and pretends to be utterly absorbed in the shop window behind her. Because she is so overwhelmingly interested in the cuteness of Disney.


Brooke is going to look back on this, and laugh. The fact that she keeps running into her favorite author everywhere. Her mum would call it kismet. That they're meant to have interactions. That possibly, Brooke should stop fangirling and see if she can't offer to help promote the new book for Sera Roche's publishing house.

They generally have their own in-home public relations and promotions people, but that doesn't mean that she can't freelance, or offer, as a fan, to set up a book reading at the library or a book store. Plenty of fans do that type of thing.

Instead of doing that though, she holds out the bag of chocolates, and tries very hard to nonchalantly say, "I didn't know you were a fan of Disney."


Lost in her thoughts as she is, Sera only notices Brooke's approach on a subconscious level. The hunter is aware of someone moving into her personal space, but in a non-threatening manner. Because of that, Sera isn't startled, and doesn't jump. She gives a half laugh of self-deprecation and shake her head, turning to Brooke with a smile. "I'm not … really. Lost in my own head space."

"Thank you." Sera takes a few of the chocolate candies, "Funny running into you. Again." New York is a huge city, and it is starting to feel a bit karmic that she keeps running into Brooke.


"I figured since I was in Manhattan anyhow, I may as well do a bit of shopping." Before she takes the train back to Brooklyn. Brooke glances at the window dressing, tilting her head in a silly manner, and then playfully sticks her tongue out at a child passing by, who blinks then laughs. Winking at the little girl, she turns back to the author.

"Daydreaming? I saw the way you and Bryn were eyeing each other at the launch. I'm sorry he had to leave so abruptly. He's… rather good at doing that."


Serafine grins at the other woman's actions with the girl. It's one of those moments that she automatically records in her mind for future reference, something that she may be able to work into a story to display a character's playfulness and love of children.

"Shopping therapy or just shopping for fun?" Serafine is partial to shopping therapy. She's also a fan of feeding therapy, but sometimes a woman needs to soothe herself with new shoes or a new purse, vampire or not.

"We - " It's on the tip of her tongue to deny that she and Bryn were doing anything of the sort, but her mind leaps back to the feeling of his mouth against hers, and the plethora of feelings and sensations she experienced when he kissed her again. She knows that her mouth is trying to curl into a smile, and she tries to school her face to something a little less obvious. "He's an attractive and interseting man."

She has no idea how the woman will react if she learns Serafine was out on a date with the man, and doesn't want to ruin a pleasant conversation. "Oh, it wasn't a big deal." The vampire shrugs. "I ended up leaving for a client crisis, so it all worked out."


"I'm sorry that you ended up without a date for the evening." Though, apparently, Kieran charmed the hell out of her.


"A little of both, I think. Shopping to think, because sitting at home in my loft this evening was driving me a little batty." Alone in her loft, with the novels, and trying to figure out just how well Sera knows her friend, and how much is embellished. Brooke gives her head a shake, and pops another of the little chocolates into her mouth.

"He is." Beat. "Just be careful, yeah? He's got a habit of leaving without a word."

Pausing slightly as Sera apologizes to her, the witch lifts her shoulders. "It's fine, really. I had a bit of work to do, and I enjoyed dancing with Mr. Collins." Beat. "I don't generally bring dates to work anyhow."


"I know exactly what you're talking about. I was tired of staring at my four walls, too." Not exactly the truth; she's hoping to figure out something that might have been missed regarding Mandy. She keeps playing over the scene and the body in her head, but is coming up blank, thus far.

Sera laughs and does her best to play it coy and cool. "That's fine. He's an attractive man with a busy schedule and I barely know him."

Turning to venture toward the next storefront and inviting Brooke with a tilt of her head, "I'm pretty sure that Mr. Collins enjoyed dancing with you, too."


"It must be one of those nights," Brooke says, with a quiet laugh. The type of night where brains just won't shut off, and apartments seem far too small.

"The way you two were kissing at the party, Miss Roche, tells me that you know him better than you're letting on." Winking at the authoress, Brooke laughs again and follows down to the next store front. Along the way, she pops another M&M in her mouth, and nearly chokes on it when she hears Sera's comment.

Coughing a little to clear her throat, Brooke looks down at her feet to try and hide the flush of red that's creeping onto her cheeks. "Oh? That's nice…"


"All right, I made it," Abby says into her phone as she walks down the street. "What is it you were looking for again? …Yeah… Right… Okay. See you when I get back. …You too." Click. She looks around before she stops somewhat near to Serafine and Brooke, looking a bit thoughtfully at them. "…Hang on…" she says to herself, approaching them. "I'm sorry but… where have I seen you before?" she asks Serafine, peering at her. "I think it was…" She thinks about it some more.


"Oh…" Sera ducks her head and bites her lip, feeling a little burn of embarrassment. "You saw that?" Her fingers toy with her purse strap. The man really didn't leave her any choice but to kiss him after he apologized for kissing her. "It was … unexpected. And probably a little inappropriate …" She gives a quiet laugh. "I wasn't even certain he was interested in me before the party."

Glad to shift the embarrassment away from herself, Sera gives Brooke a sly smile, "He thanked me for introducing the pair of you, even if was in a rather round about way."

The teen's approach startles Sera, and her eyes widen. She's really not accustomed to people approaching her on the street unless they have a book and pen in hand. Or they're men trying to get her number and using a lame line. The latter happens more than the former, simply because Sera doesn't make a good many public appearances. Limited daylight mobility is something of a problem.

She gives the girl a polite smile, "I don't think so…"

Sera could identify herself, but chances are the girl saw her on a book promotion poster, or the back jacket of a hard cover, and identifying herself won't really mean anything.


"I happened to notice as Mr. Collins and I were dancing is all," Brooke points out. Her goal wasn't really to embarrass the authoress, but more or less just give her a warning about Bryn. While she still cares for the man, it doesn't necessarily mean she trusts him so far as relationships go, and she'd hate for the lively, vivacious, friendly author to become hurt and bitter.

"He did?" Blinking, Brooke pops another M&M into her mouth and chews it thoughtfully before holding the bag out to Sera. "I…" Beat. "Well you definitely weren't kidding when you said you used him as a model."

The interruption causes her to blink again, and she glances over her shoulder at Abigail. She knows the girl isn't talking to her. Though the presence of a teenager, in Times Square, at night, on her own, causes a frown to appear on Brooke's lips.

"Does your guardian know you're here on your own this late at night? Why on earth would they let someone your age wander around the city on their own after what happened to a girl not much older than you, just a few blocks away?" It's rude, and she knows it, but it's the shock of seeing the girl on her own and not with a group that causes it to come tumbling out of her mouth.


"It's really important," Abigail says to the woman who was scolding her. "I need to pick up this book that just came in at a bookstore. It's… a Mother's Day present. For my mom. And my dad's really busy anyway, and I wanted to show him I could take care of myself on my own," she explains. "Really, I'll be fine…" Then, she realizes something. "Hey… wait, you're the author!" she exclaims, finally recognizing Serafine. "You wrote the book I'm getting for my mom! She really likes your books, but she was missing one and my dad and I wanted to get the best deal, so we found this one store…" She looks pretty excited.


The other woman's reaction to her reveal about Kieran is amusing, and she's almost about to tell her to expect Kieran's call when the girl's appearance has completely derailed that train of thought.

Giving another blink at the girl, Serafine's smile morphs into something less confused and softer, a bit flattered and amused. She gives a quick glance at Brooke, her bemusement plain, and turns back to the girl. "Which book would it happen to be?" More a curiosity than anything else.


"Is your father nearby?" Serafine looks around, if only because Brooke seems so concerned, when the vampiress hadn't really given a thought to why the girl would be here on her own. Too many years, too many rebellious teenagers, and sometimes the importance of things like that blur around the edges.


Brooke is concerned. Most stores are still open another hour or so yet (with some being open until the theaters let out), but that is besides the point when there is a strange killing that happened not too far from Times Square.

"Or anyone, for that matter?" She gets that at that age, taking care of oneself is an important thing, but there's independence, and then there's insanity, and this is on the border between the two.

"Sera? Why don't we go to the store with her. You can autograph the book after she purchases it. That would make a nice Mother's Day present."


"It was… 'Evening Waltz', I think was the title," Abby says. "Well… My dad's a policeman, so he kind of moves around the city when he's on the job. I call him a lot so he knows where I am. But…" She sniffs at the air, then gives a somewhat odd look to Serafine and Brooke. "…yeah, I think it'd be a good idea if I went with you," she says. "It'd be safer…" She sighs a bit, thinking her father was totally going to say I told you so.


"I think that's a wonderful idea," Serafine nods to her companion with a smile. "I think that an autographed copy will make an excellent edition to your mother's collection."

Brooke's concern for the unknown girl is sweet, and touching, and it's one of those rare moments where Serafine realizes despite everything she holds onto, she has lost touch with certain things. Especially when she's far more interested in what happened to a dead girl than she is concerned about a living one standing in front of her. However, this girl is making her own choice, however foolish and -

A subtle shift in the wind and Serafine catches the girl's scent. Shampoo and body wash, make up and deodorant, and beneath it that animal scent of wolf.

She's a werewolf.

If she were older, Serafine would think that she's probably safer out here than most, but at her age, she's probably as new at being a wolf as is the baby vampire they're looking for at being a vampire.

"Barnes and Noble?" Serafine asks, to get the whereabouts of where the book is. She assumes that it's not at Midtown Comics


"Wait a minute," Brooke says, before they continue on toward the book shop. "Your father's a police officer, and he didn't think to be worried about you being down here on your own?" It really isn't any of Brooke's business, but she can't help but glance at the alleyway with the yellow police tape that she knows blocks off both ends — one here, and one by the theater.

Then again, she grew up in a smaller community, where her mother and father were always right on top of where she was, and who she was with.

"Thank you, Sera," she murmurs under her breath at the authoress. "I'll pay for the autograph."


"Oh, he's worried all right. Loads," Abby says to Brooke. "But I was talking to my cousin's boss the other day and she was talking about how I shouldn't be sheltered inside all the time," she adds. "So… I've been trying to convince him. I guess he figured there'd be cops close by already with the murder case, so nobody would try anything… yeah, Barnes and Noble's where we're heading." You might call it the "lightning doesn't strike twice" argument.


The author is not getting in the way of Brooke's concern/chastisement, if only because she now knows the girl has weapons at her defense if frightened. Also, this little wisp of a girl doesn't fit the profile, she's not blonde and she's too young.

And no sane vampire is going to risk the wrath of Kostas and a battle with the weres to bite a wolf. Assuming, of course, that the vampires in question are sane.

At the mention of cops, Sera takes a moment to scan the crowds, and spots them when she hadn't before. A uniform strolling along, apparently just keeping an eye on thing, though he never strays far from the alley. An unmarked police car diagonal from the corner where the alley sits, a man talking on his cell phone and pacing back in forth in front of the same store. Probably all hoping the murderer will come back to the scene of the crime, and not realizing that they stick out like sore thumbs when one knows what to look for.

"Well, he'll feel better to know you had some company for a little while, I think."


Brooke hmms a little, and then let's it drop. Either the girl's father is aware that she's out here by herself, or he's not. She can only be concerned for so long, really. They'll get the girl a copy of the book, Sera can autograph it with a mother's day wish, and then they can get back to their own shopping.

"Yes, I'm sure he'd feel better." Turning, she starts toward Barnes and Noble, glancing at Sera as she looks around. It's odd, but it doesn't hurt to be cautious, so she doesn't comment on it.


"Thanks for all the help," Abby says, trying to relax some. "I really appreciate it." But she can't help but stare a bit more at Serafine. Like those men she'd seen at the cafe once, she had that same odd smell, or lack thereof. The kind that her friends in the Pack had told her about. How many of them are there around, she wonders.


Sera's attention lingers on a vehicle for a split second and then she turns back to present company. If she were alone, she'd drop over and find out what her detective buddy is up to, but she's not about to do it with not one, but two … well, not normal humans, not in the girl's case, but two people who don't know the depths of what's been going on. Better they think the woman is just cautious.

"You're welcome, I like browsing in book stores anyway," Serafine says. She looks to Brooke, and almost tells the woman not worry about payment for the autograph. Instead, she figures she'll just not accept payment when the time comes, no need to make a fuss right now.

It would be awkward resuming the conversation of Bryn and Kieran in front of the girl, so Serafine asks Brooke, "Will the band be going on tour soon, to go with the album launch?"


"They'll be hitting a few of the talk shows here in the city, but they're not nationally known yet." Brooke sighs a little, because after ten years, she was really hoping that Steel Clover would've hit it a little bigger.

"They've got a few gigs booked up in Boston, and a few in Chicago. I'm working with their agent to get them a few more." Brooke folds up the M&Ms and tucks them back into her bag. If they're going into another store, eating candy isn't really going to be a good thing to do.


"Oh… you work with a band?" Abby asks Brooke, somewhat curious about the idea as they approach the bookstore. "That's kind of cool. What is it you do exactly?" She'd rather find a reason to think about something besides werewolves and vampires etc.


"She's not a groupie or anything like that," Serafine explains. "She's a promoter and the band is very talented. A local group, though I'm not sure it's something your age group would know or listen to. They've got real talent."

Serafine knows what's popular among the youth these days, and she misses the days of jazz, swing, and the early days of rock n' roll. Sure the seventies and eighties had their moments but the rest of what is out today is all synthesized, auto-tuned and engineered to sell. Very few perfomers have real talent anymore.


Brooke needs to bite her lip at the real talent comment. She won't diss music that younger ears listen to. There is a reason they call it 'popular' music after all. Steel Clover, on the other hand, isn't really all that popular. They're more of a niche band.

"Public relations and promotions," she says, corroborating what Sera's just said. "They're a Celtic Punk Metal band."

Reaching the door of the book shop, she holds it open for the other two. "In you go, ladies."


"Celtic… punk… metal?" Abby tries to work out in her head what that might sound like exactly. "I think I might know some people who might like that sort of thing. But, I'm in drama club at school, so no wonder I know some people with different tastes." She heads into the store.


"Thank you," Serafine chirps, stepping into the bookstore behind the girl. She watches her, and gives her head a faint shake. The child really is bait. Naive, trusting, friendly. The only thing that will save her is that she's a wolf, and so it's safer to assume she's Pack than not.

Wandering a few steps in and making certain that Brooke is still with her, Serafine stops at a display table and nearly bursts into giggles. A sign decorated with flowers and hearts, roses and birds draping ribbon reads 'Fall Into a Spring Romance.' One of her novels, Irish Magic, is displayed prominently and it makes her scoff internally. That's hardly the book she would have picked for a spring romance display, considering the majority of the tale takes place in the rainy fall. Still, it's amusing.

"Maybe it's an omen?" Serafine asks Brooke, indicating the table.


"Yes. They're rather good really." Brooke never recommends the band to anyone. If they're interested they'll ask, if they're not, they won't. She doesn't need to personally promote all of her clients to everyone she meets. As much as she's a hard worker, that would be going well beyond the 'above and beyond' thing that she already does.

Noting the look on Sera's face, and the fact she's holding in giggles, Brooke lifts her brow a little. Tilting her head at the sign, she laughs. "Really?" There's a beat, and she picks up a copy of Irish Magic. The cover art doesn't do the man justice at all, and while she knows it's an artists rendition, that's not the point.

"An omen?"


"I don't have a paperback of this."


It looks like the others are having fun, Abby thinks as she heads for the shelves to find the right book. She looks back at them a few times before she finds it, wondering about various things. Her pack friends had told her that vampires and werewolves were supposedly trying to maintain peace. So, is that why she hadn't been attacked by any of them? In three years, she hadn't thought much about asking about these things. Mostly, she'd been trying to keep it out of her mind apart from in pack meetings and around the full moon. But maybe her cousin's boss was right, and she should try to involve herself further in this hidden world she'd fallen into… In any case, she returns to the front holding the book that would be her present to her mother.


Serafine tilts her head and studies the cover. "I really am predictable, aren't I? The light eyed, dark haired ones seem to be my signature." She does have one or two blond love interests, and a brown haired, brown eyed one, but those are few and far between.

"Then you should get it. Better yet," Serafine plucks it out of the other woman's hand. "My treat. I'll sign it, too. Make it a collector's edition." She winks at the woman.

Holding up a hand, she intercepts any argument or debate. "Least I could do for smooching on your date at the launch party."


"Sera, no." Brooke gives the authoress a harsh look and reaches for the book. She tries to snag it, but there's a hand in her way. Exhaling a sigh, she shakes her head. "A friend, not a date." At least she hopes that Bryn still considers her a friend. He might not as he's gone without much contact in twelve years.

"Fine. Thank you. But then I'll have to give you an apology gift as well, for monopolizing your date all evening."


"Let me set up a promotional reading for you?"


Approaching the others, Abby holds out the book toward Serafine. "Here it is," she says. It sounded like they were talking about personal or business stuff at this point, so she tries not to listen too closely. "My mom's name is Emma, by the way."


"A friend, not a date," Sera tosses the witch's words back at her with a bright grin. "I was just there because Kier needed arm candy." Her tone implies that she's done it before the launch party and has no problem being the pretty, smiling date on Kieran's arm when needed.

"I didn't even miss him."

After her last statement, Sera is still grinning playfully, a grin that slips at Brooke's next words. She blinks, and hesitates, not wanting to tell the woman 'no,' but she has this battle with Diana a good deal.


"Okay, it's a deal. But … one request. It has to be an after dinner, nighttime reading."

Fortunately, before that conversation can continue any further, Abigail arrives with the book. "Oh, perfect. What would you like for it to say? Anything in particular, or you just want me to go with it?" Serafine turns on a dime, suddenly completely professional and exuberant. She ruffles in her purse, and finds a pen. As she prepares to sign, Serafine sees one of the booksellers frowning and heading in her direction. With a wicked grin, she holds the back cover up beside her face, flashes the young man a smile and wink that makes him stumble and blush, and then lowers the book to wait for Abigail's answer.


"I wouldn't set it up at any other time." As she'll have to set it up on her own time, which usually isn't until after dinner, and often later. "We could even set it up as a late dinner reading at a nice restaurant if you'd like. Just give me details of the new book later, and I'll take care of everything."

Catching the bookseller with a grin, Brooke decides to head over there to keep him distracted for just a moment. She doesn't have a whole lot of extra money usually, but she glances at the girl and thinks about what her mum would do. Grabbing a hard cover box set of Sera's books, she quickly pays for them and then heads back to the pair.


"You can do… whatever," Abby answers with a shrug. "She'd probably like it better if you came up with the message. I mean… the present's from me, but it's your autograph."


Serafine signs with a 'Happy Mother's Day, enjoy the story, Sera,' and hands the book back to Abigail. "I hope that your mother likes her present."


Once Sera autographs the book, Brooke hands the box-set over to the girl as well. "Here. Give this to your mother too. It seems only fitting if she's getting one book autographed that she have the rest of the series that one came from." Brooke knows the girl said her mother was a fan, and she likely has all of the books, but now she'll have a copy of the book she can read, plus the autographed one she can put away if she wants.

With the promised autograph being done, and Brooke's good deed done as well, she nods to the girl. "We should be going. Good luck with your gift."

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