Although not part of the Library, the Lobby was where librarians from all branches often came to unwind after a long day of research, filing paperwork or otherwise deadly missions. It had been started fifty years ago as an initiative by two culinary branch members who were looking for a new challenge, who one day got up and left the Library to start a small business, although it had changed owners since. They'd built it a ten minute walk away from the main plaza of the library, so it was easy to reach by foot.
The lobby was a stand-alone building with three floors. On the ground floor there was the entry and the bar, and quite narrow compared to the other floors where space for customers was concerned. The room was cut in two by the bar, which (together with the liquor cabinet behind it) took up at least half the room, and next door was the kitchen. The ground floor looked most like a pub, with a warm and homely interior with an oak bar, chairs and tables. There were red flags with the logo of the Lobby (the golden outlines of a shield with a bear on it) stationed outside and in, and would sometimes at later hours (by the more jovial customers) be waved all throughout the bar. On the walls were paintings of employees and customers alike, and slogans that were good for a laugh or at least made life seem just a little more bearable. The lights were dim and atmospheric, and often there would be performing bards and artists in the back where was a small stage that lifted entertainers a foot and a half above the customers.
On the first floor there was the lounge, with a similar interior style in colours and materials, but rather than the small round standing-tables, there were dinner tables where parties could gather and the more comfortable couch-corners. There were tall rectangular windows and curtains that the guests would often be the ones opening or closing. The first floor even had a balcony, from which you could see the performing artists below.
The second floor was the game lounge, where cue sports were played. It was often a smoky lounge, but aside it being empty for the most part it reminded more of the pub than the lounge. Against the walls were standing tables, and there were scoring and ranking boards that were used every once in a while when there was a competition. Although their were both holder and non-holder brackets, for the dexterity of some made it plain unfair to most common humans to compete with. Unlike the first floor it was closed off from the rest, so music was but an echo. Conveniently this was the easiest place to have a conversation and occasionally guests from the lounge would come up and stand in the corner with a cigar instead of playing attention to the games. Of course when there was a competition, this crowd thinned out quickly as half the bar would be on the second floor.
Lastly, although not open for guests, the Lobby had a cellar underground. It stretched wider than the building itself did, which had lead to an inside joke that neighbours would be their worst nightmare. It held a wide cabinet of liquor and functioned as a small brewery as well. Sometimes there would be held card games by small companies here, and although not criminal, the stakes here were higher than could be considered a fun evening of gambling. Few had gotten insanely rich of the game, others had lost everything.
Emily, first floor bar
When Emily arrived she had taken a stool at the bar and requested a drink right off the bat. A Banshee. The bar tender nodded, placed down the glass he was cleaning and prepared the mix, pour the contents in another. Once finished he slid it down the counter’s surface, the white liquid swaying with the movement and slowing to a stop when it touched her arm. She had only had enough time to change her clothes in a simple black dress and high heels. It was likely fancier then she needed but at least she looked decent, unlike at the end of her recent mission. The Rook pushed the thought away. She didn’t want to think about work now, not when she was relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere in the place.
Gently she pressed the Banshee to her lips, taking a testing slip before setting it down. Eyes paced around the paintings of many different people, and phrases to lighten her heart, Emily smirking at them while her finger traced the glass’s lip. It seemed like good idea at first. This being a place to chill and relax, but at the back of her mind, she couldn’t help wishing she had brought someone with her, a co-work from the research branch or even teammate. Anyone she could chat with at the bar right now. It would’ve gotten her off the fact she was so bored and stuck sitting here alone right now. She sighed and took a deeper drink, careful not to slam the glass down. Last thing she needed to do was break it absentmindedly. She could hear some slow pace jazz playing in the background from a band on stage and just let her mind turn inward, thoughts wonder back to Soule, her home. Emily hadn’t visited there in a long time, missing so much from the birth of her cousin’s first born son to her own birthday. She made a mental note to send a letter to her cousin next week apologizing for her absence, followed by a late baby shower gift.
Her spirit’s form was sitting beside her and naturally glowing at any male, bartender included, her eyes happened to cross over. Each one in his mind a potential threat to him, more and more hating the fact Emily had chosen here to relax. Cerberus naturally spoke, disrupting the peace she found in trying to make amends. He hissed, Why do you think that will be enough? She doesn’t want some petty gift, she wants you to visit. We both know that.
“Cerberus,” Emily began sounding desperate to prevent this argument,” Not today. I’m not going to fight with you, I’m tired, bored and not in the mood.”
I couldn’t tell since you picked this place of all places to relax! Cerberus snapped back, his voice rumbled through her head and causing her let out a deeper groan.
“I‘ll do what the hell I want to with or without your permission. I’m a holder, not an object,” Emily pointed out as she gave the last word on the matter, farther ignoring her spirit's attempt to ruin her mood.
Nuka, first floor bar
A bar? Nuka shook his head and entered anyway. He wasn’t sure if this was desperation or improvement therapy. Not even bothering to try to count how long he had been with the Library he began to realize he could count the others he could call by first name on one hand. He didn’t know anyone. Oh he managed to trust any he was pushed with on a mission. Why not?
But the madness of that Party where Liberian attacked Liberian made Nuka begin to wonder if he should attempt to find a small group within this massive collection that he could trust, that he would know. He had no idea how or if he really had the social skills to judge. But doing nothing began to grate on him. So here he was at a bar. It was gathering place, the watering hole, and seemed to take little thought to be the place to begin.
He stepped inside and realized it was pretty empty. Was he early? The wrong day for a drink? Things like that were way past Nuka’s knowledge. But there was one at the bar. Nuka took a breath and a quick look down at his clothes, oh hell, he didn’t know, and moved right to the seat beside the woman drinking. He stood beside the chair and spoke to her.
“I don’t normally approach or normally intrude. But I could use and drink and don’t like the idea of doing so alone.” He didn’t sit. She might be brooding or planning or waiting for someone else. He could at least allow her an escape.
Emily, first floor bar
Emily just sat there, mentally tuning out Cerberus’s harsh insults and her face showing disinterest as she focusing on the circle made by the glass open end. Her finger was still tracing it round and around. Cerberus has become overbearing lately. It was to the point she had difficulty swallowing them and not pulling out locks of her braided hair, leaving her scalp bare. Thankfully all of it was tied up neatly then tucked safely from her reach, pinned at her head back.
She leaned upon her forearm and pulled herself closer to the counter. Part of her hoped the time would pass quickly yet she knew better. It would spite her by inching slowly on. This thought caused Emily to sigh as she gently kicked off her high heels, the shoes making a soft thump on landing. Feeling the pain ebb from her now bare feet, she tucked then under to rest on the stool’s bar and let the metal chill the throb away. The only reason she wore them was due to the no shirt, no shoes, than no service policy. It felt good to now releasing her feet from their painful tormentors and finally let them breathe causing her to relax at the relief.
She had just been furling her toes, working some feeling back, when a man’s voice gave her a start. Emily jerked to face him. In her reaction she nearly sent the glass tumbling to the floor, stopping by gently pressing her hand over the top and flashing the man a friendly smile. Inwardly the Rook hoped she didn’t scare him away with her sudden reaction, not wanting to listen to her Spirit’s bitching the rest of the night she motioned for the stool next to Nuka. Letting him take she seat she spoke,” You’re more than welcome to join me, it beats listening to Cerberus’s harping for the rest of my night.”
An afterthought had seemed to hit her then, the fact Nuka wouldn’t know who Cerberus was, then prompted her to explain hastily,” My spirit. Three headed guardian of Hades and over size pain in my ass sometimes.”
She chuckled seeming to find amusement at her description of her spirit and introduced herself,” My name’s Emily Reece of the Library’s Research branch and who do I have the pleasure of meeting?”
Nuka, first floor bar sitting with Emily
Nuka had to smile with the image of a three headed gate keeper of Hell being a pain in the ass. He sat and ordered whatever she had. Two of them. “Emily,” He nodded his head slightly finding the smile slip a bit, “I’m Nuka Hokolesqua Antiman which is a mouthful even for me. Nuka, please. Medical Branch although I am finding less and less use for that.” When the drinks came he slid one over to her.
He thought of, what did she call it, Cerberus?, sitting right there making some sort of judgment of everything. He was tempted to order another for the spirit just to help them both out. Or maybe Emily shares drinks. He suddenly realized he had not spoken to anyone else much about their unseen partners. They all had them. But he would guess even those he worked with knew little about his and he about theirs. His fault. He never asked. He shifted a look to Emily and thought maybe it was time to start. He caught a glance of her toes, and the high heels left on the floor. She looked good. She was in black dress with heels what couldn't look good about that. Much better than he. Then again that most always the case.
“I am noticing that mine might be one of the few spirits that does not stay. He doesn’t enjoy any confines or my company much.” He took a drink, ah Banshee, then turned his upper body to face her, “Can you tell Cerberus when he is good company and when he is not?”
Mime, First/Ground floor bar
It has been awhile since Mime visited the Lobby since the Ball. Usually, she visited the place for the game lounge on the last floor or for the kitchen, but this time, she came to vent and away from the insufferable people in the Library, especially those in the administration. Just how can they not realize that one of them went missing? And their face when Arlette said she was taken by the rebels! They, of all people, should know that Arlette was not the kind of person to make up that kind of lie. The spirit was planning what she was about to do to make them all suffer when her holder told her to calm down, and when she talked back, told her to go away. And so, here she was, still in the guise of her holder.
Stepping into the bar, Mime looked around absentmindedly as she headed toward the upper floors. She paused when she saw a man with ball for hair and colorful clothing sitting on the bar while talking to a woman. A smile formed on the spirit's copied face. Now there's something to do. Changing her direction, Mime made her way to Nuka as quietly as she could. When she was close enough, she then jumped forward while covering his eyes with two hands.
Nuka at the bar on first/ground floor
Nuka jerked as hands pressed against his eyes from behind. Guess? His mouth opened but he could not think of what sound to make. Part of him wanted to grab hold of each wrist and twist the arms around to find out the answer to that simple question. But he wasn’t out in some assignment. This was a social thing, wasn’t it. He shouldn’t feel the slight ting of fear, should he?
Besides the fingers felt young and slim even soft. But guess? How could he guess?
“Should I know these hands?” He asked turning his head hoping to slide his eyes from under the fingers.
Emily, Ground floor Bar
Emily was inwardly pleased her comment had made the man smile, her spine straighten upright from the slouch posture and subconsciously pushing out some wrinkling across her lap. More out of habit to be looking her best then worry about length, her head turned to listen to her current drinking partner for likely the rest of her night. It was better company then Cerberus’s growling in the background that was for sure. Slowly she tuned out the spirit’s disapproval into a dull and unimportant silence.
That’s when Nuka’s name caught her attention. Indeed it was a mouthful, something both him and her agreed on, that she quickly found relief when he suggested using his first. Alright easy enough Nuka from Medical, she thought but her eyebrow rose in question at the last bit. Part of her was hoping she was misunderstanding his meaning as before she could question it, Cerberus’s words tore into her attention causing the Rook to roll her eyes. Naturally you couldn’t help but bat your eyes and flirt like some loose slut… slipping so easily back in to your rhythm, such a sickening display. Have you no pride or is this desperation to end up on your knees again?
Emily didn’t reply, not because she felt it was true, and instead drained her first Banshee in one drink. Cautiously placing the fragile glass back upon the counter top with a soft thump, turning to the follow up Nuka had ordered. That’s when she felt him looking her over. It seemed like the perfect moment to speak, his attention ironically on her, and was about to before the man popped off one of his own. Yielding to the first question she smirked and decided to answer honestly,” First off, thanks for the drink. Though let me state a question for you to ponder on while I answer yours. Why do you think a medic’s skills are becoming less and less useful?”
“Considering I wish Cerberus was like that at times, it might not be as bad as you think. Right now, it’s best I’m the only one that hears what Cerberus says every time I merely look at a guy or say hi. I could only imagine what he would do if he was Knight’s spirit.”
She took a moment to shudder before continuing,” As for telling when he’s good company or not, it depends on the gender. My spirit just happens to be sexist but he’s seen me though a few hard times, but lately, trust has been an issue.”
Her mind had wondered a bit only to be brought back, a sudden movement. Suddenly Nuka’s eyes were covered by smaller hands followed by a childish question spoken in a female voice. Emily had an unsure and slightly confused look upon her face at this. Slightly leaning back, the Rook attempted to catch a glimpse of their unexpected company. Her face turned back to Nuka, her hand keeping her balanced and from falling off the stool, then to the youth. She had to be at least sixteen and it seemed knew Nuka enough to play a bit of mischief from the looks of it. Nuka attempted to turn about to spy the girl, freeing himself from the fingers latching on as he asked about the hands. Emily tried not to giggle at the sight but her head seemed to shake at the antics.
“A friend of yours?” she guessed but waited to be sure, her hand still holding the fresh glass Nuka had ordered.
Mime, Ground Floor Bar
Mime's forehead twitched into a frown upon hearing Nuka's reply. But then humor came in and she imitated Arlette's giggle.
"Yes, you should!" Mime said. "I haven't been gone for that long. No peeking!"
She then also shifted her position when Nuka turned, trying to keep her fingers on covering his eyes. The spirit turned her face to the woman that Nuka talked to. The look of curiosity was apparent on her face. Deciding that it would be helpful to be polite, Mime decided to start the conversation.
"Hello," she said to the woman carrying two glasses of drinks while still keeping her hands on Nuka's face. "I'm Arlette, nice to meet you!"
Arlette suddenly sneezed for no reason on her second reading of the reassignment letter in her hands. The letter was a letter that reassigned her from the Administrative branch to the Mercenary branch. The suddenness of the letter made her both afraid and confused. They had even moved her from the dorm to another boarding house and took the initiative of moving her belonging there! Unable to think of anything, she then started to look around for Mime.
Nuka, Fist/Ground Floor at the bar
Ok so he got it now. Some game he wasn’t really sure of. But, hell, might as well play.
“Chrissie?” He asked and then twisted his jaw toward Emily trying to let her know the next part was to her, “Mine are, my medical skills, or so it feels to me.” He sort of smiled under small hands over his eyes. “Each assignment I am suddenly in some battle trying to fight and not heal anyone. I know, “ He sighed.
“Scarlet?” He said over one shoulder. “I know, it’s not a complaint. It’s my own illusions.”
“Mary Sue?” He listened to the sound of Emily's glass as she rolled the ice around. “So your spirit has opinions?” He laughed. “He just wants you for himself. Can’t blame that.” He paused for a minute and then added, “Trust is always an issue. But why withhold it?”
He then reached with his hands having of course heard the introduction minutes ago to Emily and took a gently hold of Arlette fingers. “Now Arlette,” He pulled her hands off his eyes. “If you behave yourself you can sit in a big seat at the bar and I’ll treat.”
He tried to turn and look at her. Did he know her?