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For the Joy of It Ch. 2, More tea and some discomfiture.
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Cuckoo
Posted: 17 October 2019 - 11:56 PM                                    
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I swear the next chapter will actually showcase some action. In my defense, these are incredibly short chapters. But we're getting there.

No chapter warnings, unless you really don't like tea and/or literature.

Commenters interested in lengthy discussions of Murdoc's character are particularly welcome!

Ch. 2: Afternoon Blend

The next day, Murdoc found the target of his target working alone. She sat behind the counter in a threadbare, velvet reading chair, nose in a book, lower lip caught between her teeth as she studied the page. Dead to the world, and so temptingly vulnerable. A smirk ghosted over his face.

It couldn’t hurt to indulge himself a bit.

He stepped up to the counter and smacked the bell just to watch her jump. She responded beautifully, popping from her seat with a yelp, nearly tripping over her own knees as she tried to unfold herself midair. Flustered, she dropped her book on the chair and met him at the register. When she realized who was waiting for her, she actually smiled.

“Hello again! How can I help?”

“I wondered if I might trouble you for another cup of tea.”

Murdoc saw the first rosy hint of a blush bloom on the young lady’s cheeks before she whipped around and busied herself at the tea station. “Of course! Just a minute. I’ll bring it up if you like.”

He accepted the invitation and moved towards the stairs, a spring in his step. Although he knew the technical reasons that urged his predatory prey to chase the little book lover, one never knew when a little more information could aid in the hunt. Besides, he really would appreciate another cup of tea.

On his way to the loft, he paused to grab a book. The classics section lined the way to the stairs, and with so much time on his hands, Murdoc did enjoy the selection’s reliable quality. His hand wandered along the spines until he brushed across a very old friend, a slim volume, Machiavelli’s The Prince. As an assassin, he appreciated the Medici’s great patronage of his art. And, anyway, the discussion and negotiation of power had always thrilled him. What was killing but the control of the ultimate powers, life and death?

He tapped the book against his thigh, smiling to himself as he climbed the steps. He was truly enjoying this little game, and he hadn’t even reached the endgame.

No sooner had he situated himself in his preferred corner overlooking the entrance than the girl came trotting up the stairs. There was a particular enthusiasm to her step. He wondered if she’d first approached him as an excuse to escape from behind the counter. She was bursting with the kind of energy young women her age typically channeled into more kinetic pursuits, but apart from her walk to and from work, Murdoc hadn’t seen her put that energy to good use. No parties, no clubs, rarely more than a stroll around the neighborhood.

If her blushes were anything to go by, she didn’t stretch her social muscles very often, either.

The poor thing was practically starving for a little engagement.

As she settled the cup on the table at his elbow, he lifted his brows and gestured to the chair beside him. “Join me?”

“Oh,” surprise jerked the reaction from her lips, and even as her eyes widened, a fetching blush rose to her cheeks, “oh, I’d like to, but I should really be down by the register in case someone needs me…”

His eyes guided hers around the empty store.

“Expecting a rush?”

She stopped. Murdoc could almost see her mind ticking through her options as she considered his proposal. Although she applied herself to her work with greater faithfulness than the majority of her coworkers, that kind of dedication wore on one’s patience. Alone in the shop without anyone to gainsay her, the temptation would be strong, even if it cost a little of her conscience to abandon her post. He knew before she spoke what her answer would be, and he had a grin waiting to meet her agreement.

“You make a valid point,” she conceded. “But,” she lifted a finger, “I need my own tea. Hold on a sec.”

He watched her surreptitiously as she fetched her own drink. And her own book. He hid his expression behind his mug as she returned, absently perusing his book so she would not see how his eyes tracked her through the store. The pages rustled under his fingers as the girl dropped into the chair he indicated earlier with a happy little sigh. She put her book on the table between them in favor of her own tea – which he noted with approval was the same milky brown as his own.

Then he noticed what she was reading.

“Jane Eyre?”

She looked up, and for the first time he saw a hint of steel in her face.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

He shook his head with a shrug. “Just interesting.”

“Good interesting, or bad interesting?”

He sat back, letting his own treatise on death and manipulation fall closed on his lap. The printed word could wait. Tea grew cold and conversations turned stale all too quickly.

“Does it have to be one or the other?”

“Of course not,” his conversation partner said, “but all too often people say something is interesting when they mean the exact opposite.”

“Well, perhaps you can tell me why you find it interesting, then.”

“You are very good at dodging questions.”

Murdoc lifted his eyebrows in challenge. “You aren’t doing a terribly good job answering them yourself.”

The girl went to throw her hands in the hair, remembered the cup in her hand, and took a long slurp instead. When she finished her first sip, she frowned at him. And took another.

Her soft temper simmered like a kettle, and Murdoc kept his expression carefully neutral. Why spoil his own fun? This wasn’t an interrogation, and he suspected she was desperate enough for a real conversation she’d rejoin the fray eventually, potential insult to her beloved book or not.

His patience was rewarded.

At last, she said, “I like the honesty of Gothic novels.”

Now that really was interesting. “Honesty?”

“The authors don’t feel like they have to play games. Fear and hate, love and death, everything you’re not supposed to really talk about in polite society just sits bare on the page. Everything that made these books scandalous back in their day is what makes them classics now.”

She shrugged.

“This one is just my favorite because the heroine does something besides faint and be tragic.”

Before he could pose another question, she nodded towards his own reading material.

“Speaking of interesting, I’m sure you have an opinion on the eternal question: is The Prince a manual or satire?”
“Why can’t it be both?” he asked again, smirking.

She stuck out her tongue. He laughed, startling himself. Fortunately, the girl was already looking away before his face shifted.

“Tell me more about Jane Eyre,” he said, hoping to keep her distracted. He cleared his throat, trying to banish the wave of vulnerability he’d suffered. “What does she do besides faint?”

“She knows herself.”

“Now, that you really must explain.”

The door chimed, welcoming a new guest to the bookstore, and the girl popped to her feet. She gathered her book and the half-drained mug in one hand, dusting imaginary dust from her clothes.

“I have to go.”

He reached out and caught her hand before he could talk himself out of it, savoring how her attention snapped back to him and the warm skin that greeted his palm.

“Your name, before you go.”

Awkwardness sat between them now, and only she could break it. Her eyes travelled from his hand up to his eyes, and in the end, she smiled.

“You could’ve asked earlier. It’s Elizabeth.”



 
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uniquelyjas
Posted: 18 October 2019 - 11:35 AM                                    
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QUOTE (Cuckoo @ 17 October 2019 - 11:56 PM)

It couldn’t hurt to indulge himself a bit.

He stepped up to the counter and smacked the bell just to watch her jump. She responded beautifully, popping from her seat with a yelp, nearly tripping over her own knees as she tried to unfold herself midair. Flustered, she dropped her book on the chair and met him at the register.

Well, that was kinda mean of him!! But what can you expect from Murdoc!! LOL!! Don't worry about "action". I actually think you are doing a real good job introducing the characters and setting the scene. You are also "humanizing" Murdoc, for lack of a better word...Showing us a different side than much of the actual show did!



Jody~

"I've found from past experiences that the tighter your plan, the more likely you are to run into something unpredictable" ~ MacGyver (The Heist)

 
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Dragondog
Posted: 19 October 2019 - 04:38 PM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 18 October 2019 - 02:35 PM)
QUOTE (Cuckoo @ 17 October 2019 - 11:56 PM)

It couldn’t hurt to indulge himself a bit.

He stepped up to the counter and smacked the bell just to watch her jump. She responded beautifully, popping from her seat with a yelp, nearly tripping over her own knees as she tried to unfold herself midair. Flustered, she dropped her book on the chair and met him at the register.

Well, that was kinda mean of him!! But what can you expect from Murdoc!! LOL!! Don't worry about "action". I actually think you are doing a real good job introducing the characters and setting the scene. You are also "humanizing" Murdoc, for lack of a better word...Showing us a different side than much of the actual show did!

I was gonna point that out to, but I thought it was hilarious XD

Ah, this whole chapter reminds me of why I love Murdoc tongue.gif



"If at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer" - Hank The Cowdog

"You have the heart of a chief, and the soul of a dragon"- How to Train Your Dragon 2

"[T]he more we try to understand one another, the more exceptional each one of us will be" - Zootopia

"Love makes you do strange things." - Charlie Brown

"When something looks too perfect, it probably sucks" - Dreamworks Dragons Race to the Edge

 
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Cuckoo
Posted: 21 October 2019 - 08:50 PM                                    
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QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 18 October 2019 - 11:35 AM)
QUOTE (Cuckoo @ 17 October 2019 - 11:56 PM)

It couldn’t hurt to indulge himself a bit.

He stepped up to the counter and smacked the bell just to watch her jump. She responded beautifully, popping from her seat with a yelp, nearly tripping over her own knees as she tried to unfold herself midair. Flustered, she dropped her book on the chair and met him at the register.

Well, that was kinda mean of him!! But what can you expect from Murdoc!! LOL!! Don't worry about "action". I actually think you are doing a real good job introducing the characters and setting the scene. You are also "humanizing" Murdoc, for lack of a better word...Showing us a different side than much of the actual show did!

He is mean. tongue.gif He clearly likes getting a reaction out of people. I'm so glad you like the pace and depiction so far!



 
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Cuckoo
Posted: 21 October 2019 - 08:51 PM                                    
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QUOTE (Dragondog @ 19 October 2019 - 04:38 PM)
QUOTE (uniquelyjas @ 18 October 2019 - 02:35 PM)
QUOTE (Cuckoo @ 17 October 2019 - 11:56 PM)

It couldn’t hurt to indulge himself a bit.

He stepped up to the counter and smacked the bell just to watch her jump. She responded beautifully, popping from her seat with a yelp, nearly tripping over her own knees as she tried to unfold herself midair. Flustered, she dropped her book on the chair and met him at the register.

Well, that was kinda mean of him!! But what can you expect from Murdoc!! LOL!! Don't worry about "action". I actually think you are doing a real good job introducing the characters and setting the scene. You are also "humanizing" Murdoc, for lack of a better word...Showing us a different side than much of the actual show did!

I was gonna point that out to, but I thought it was hilarious XD

Ah, this whole chapter reminds me of why I love Murdoc tongue.gif

I am ALWAYS happy to help remind people why they love Murdoc! thumbup.gif



 
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