(2019-01-04) The Author, The Librarian, The Doctor
Esme, Oliver, and Sam hit the coffee shop and talk about their jobs.

Java Junction

With copper light hangings, it leaves a rustic feel to the entire room. A long bar with a cash register below a sign that says Order Here boasts a display of pastries, bagels, croissants and other foods for breakfast. Sandwiches and soups and salads for lunch and dinner. On a chalk bard in colorful writing is a list of the different beverages offered as well as the prices. Numbers are given on the receipts so when called, patrons can get their order at the opposite end of the bar from the register.

Tables dot the room, wooden with simple center pieces and wooden chairs around them. Also built into one leg of each table is an electrical outlet for laptops or phone chargers. In one corner is a bean bag area with several magazines and a small book swap shelf.

While music plays softly from surround sound speakers, it is usually tuned into one of the two radio stations in the town. The country or rock, depending on what the barista selects at the time.

"Please, do." Sam replies, gesturing toward the free seat and sitting up a bit more properly in his own chair. He sets his notebook down on the table - it's scattered with sketches. They're rough, but it's clear the finished product would be good if they were finished. It's a jumble of different things: people, coffee mugs, animals, abstract shapes. "You haven't seen me before. I just got into town a couple nights ago. Early in the morning on the 2nd, I think. I've been slowly finding my way around the area, with a focus on coffee." He gestures toward the mug, then adds. "I'm Sam."

Sam is setup at a table near the door drinking coffee and sketching. Esme has just come in and gotten her own order before coming over to chat with Sam.

Pulling on the tell-tale white cords of iPhone earbuds so they drop out of his ears, Oliver steps in out of the ridiculous cold like so many people before him: stomping and pulling off gloves so he can blow on his hands, sweeping the interior with a look - like he might know someone in here, hard to say if he's hoping for or against. But nobody jumps out at him, and his eyes skate on forward, and the rest of him falls into step, passing by the tables between the door and the register. Including Sam's (which now includes Esme).

In the way a person does when accidentally making eye-contact, he mumbles a quick, "What's up," at Sam.

Esme relaxed back in the seat, taking a careful sip of her cocoa while peering at some of the drawings. "You're pretty talented." She offered, the smile still on her lips. "And that would make sense then! What brings you to Calaveras?" Her brow quirking briefly. So many new comers lately. When Oliver came in, her attentioned turned to him for a moment and he was offered a smile as well when he mumbled his greeting to Sam. "Hello there."

"Thanks." Sam replies to the compliment, looking down at his mess of sketches before focusing on Esme again. "New Year, new adventure. I've had a very busy and travel intensive couple years and I made a promise to myself to slow down this year and refocus. So, I picked a spot and got a plane ticket and … here I am." Perhaps he would have given more detail about what exactly he was focusing on, but his attention is caught by Oliver and he lifts eyes toward the man. "Keeping warm." He offers to the brief question.

An almost identical, "What's up," goes from Oliver to Esme when she chimes in, and the stretch of his lips could probably be interpreted as a smile? By someone charitable? "How's that going for you?" The 'keeping warm,' he means, the follow-up question put without breaking stride. He's like three steps from getting in line for coffee, and it would take AN ACT OF GOD to stop him now. He even has the barista's eye contact now, and puts in an order for his coffee.

He must come often enough for her to say, "With room left for sugar, right?" She gives him a big wink. He puts a buck in her tip jar. It's a ritual.

"Well Calaveras is a good place for slowing things down. I can attest to that. Just be careful, you may find that you end up not wanting to leave." Esme chuckled. "I grew up here…left, and still ended up coming back." A little shrug of her shoulders. She's probably seen Oliver in here quite a few times if he's a regular, but never in a position where a conversation could be struck up. Esme was usually stopping in on her way to work or on her way home. To the 'what's up' from Oliver, Esme simply muses, "Just making new friends." And gave a fleeting little grin. "So, Sam, what is it that you do? To be travelling so much?"

"The struggle is real." Sam quips, a small grin toward Oliver, but he turns his focus back more fully on Esme while the other man is occupied with filling his coffee order. "I can see why it would be the kind of place you come back to. Even in a few days, the people have been kind, the scenery is beautiful and it's peaceful without being too peaceful." Well. First impressions, at least. "I'm an author. I've been doing publicity pretty aggressively. Conventions. Signings. Readings. I love doing it all, but I really needed a chance to step back and actually write a bit more. Or maybe create is the better word." He says this while gesturing at the sketch book.

Low, satisfied, "Cooool." Oliver approves of Esme making new friends - for whatever his approval's worth. And, "Yep," about the struggle against the cold, he eyes his cold-reddened hands a sec before wrapping them around his coffee. He messes around with his coffee for a minute, pouring sugar into it, looking over the tops of everyone sitting down to the front windows (specifically, to what we can all assume is his bike chained to a light post outside), then bringing his attention back around to the duo of PCs.

Like, Oliver could probably be interested in what NPCs are blabbing about, too, but it's not nearly as engaging. Sam's an author, he overheard that, so he looks at Esme; "Don't you work at the library?" He lobs that out there helpfully from over by the register.

Esme looks intrigued at the mention of Sam being an author. "Oh really? What have you written?" A brief pause at Olivers interjection and she chuckled. "I do. I run the Ewan Powell Memorial Library" She elaborated. "If you ever start getting restless, I could arrange for you to do a reading if you wanted." Esme thought it over for a moment, taking another sip of coffee. "I've read a handful of graphic novels over the years. I think I still prefer totally written books, but both styles have their merits." A little wave of her hand. "I've worked there for the last four years…going on Five in a few months now that I think about it. Hard to believe I've been back in town that long."

"So I need to be on your good side to make sure my work gets stocked in the local library?" Sam replies, a clearly delighted expression on his face at learning that Esme is the local librarian. "I was actually planning to pay a visit soon. I love libraries." Beneath the table, Sam pushes at the leg of one of the unoccupied chairs, pushing it slowly out. He makes sure he has Oliver's attention and gestures toward the seat. "Room for more. Unless you're waiting on someone?"

After offering the seat to Oliver he returns to the topic of books. "Funny thing is, I prefer traditional novels too. I've written a couple, but it was my graphic works that found an audience. The bulk of those works fall into dark, vaguely historical, fantasy. I write under the name of Robin Brooks."

"Thought so." With a nod at the confirmation of the whole librarian thing, Oliver takes a sip off the top of his coffee, carefully testing it, then pours in a little extra stream of sugar before putting the plastic lid atop the to-go cup. Blowing into the little sippy hole, he waves off the offer to take the empty seat, evidently planning to just live right here by the register, since he leans against the counter with a hitch of his hips. The explanation, "Gotta work in a minute. But I have one of your books on my Kindle. I dig it."

Esme flashed another grin. "Precisely. So I except some good bribes in order to stock the shelves." A mock-serious tone before she laughed. "I adore our library, though that could just be because it's like a second home to me. I think we have a fairly good selection of fictions and non fictions. You should certainly stop by soon to have a look and if there's anything in particular you are searching for you're welcome to call ahead and we can try to pull it for you before you arrive." She offered, shifting her seat slightly to make sure she wouldn't be in Oliver's personal bubble if he chose to sat, another sip of her drink taken.

Esme looked at Sam thoughtfully, rolling over the name Robin Brooks in her mind. Then her eyes lit up with recognition. "Yes! I have read some of your work and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I like the darker sort of fictions." If it wasn't already obvious with her choice of jewelry. "I believe there are some copies in the library too, I'll have to take a look. SImply out of curiosities sake now." She mused. Looking to Oliver, "What do you to for work?"

Sam inclines his head in thanks at the compliments from both. "I'm glad you both enjoyed them. It pays the bills, but really the thrill is having people read them and ideally enjoy them. Whenever the next edition gets published you'll know it was authored here. I have some ideas bouncing around, but I haven't actually started writing yet. Maybe it will have some local inspiration." He nods to Esme's comments about the library, giving a grateful smile. "Thank you. I don't have anything specific I'm looking for. I just like libraries. I'll come by soon to take a look around and maybe find something new to read. I'll be sure to bug you if you're working when I'm there." He pushes his chair back and stands up. "Sorry, had a bit too much coffee today. I'll be back in just a minute." Saying that, he heads to the back of the room where the bathrooms are.

With a snicker into his drink, Oliver can juuuuust be heard muttering, "Book gonna be about quadruple homicides, I guess." He gets down another sip, and it's obvious that he's slowly coming to life with the introduction of caffeine into his bloodstream, albeit slowly. Shuffling his feet back just a touch when Sam brushes by to the restroom, he summons a momentary smirk, then focuses back on Esme with a questioning brow-lift, like he lost the thread of the conversation. "What now?" Beat. "Oh. I'm a doctor." He unzips his coat, then his sweater, and taps the hospital badge affixed to the front of his shirt. In case she needs proof. (He must get a lot of disbelieving snorts.)

"You're certainly welcome to. I love visitors." Esme chuckled to Sam before he headed off and then focused back on Oliver. There was a touch of her own smirk at his comment about quadruple homicides. There had been a lot of murder happening lately in this town. Her head tilted a bit. "Oh?" Glancing to the badge briefly then back up at him. "Very cool. I wonder if you know Anne-Marie? She's one of my best friends. Works in the ER at Powell-Braxton." Esme offered up. "Admirable work but I don't think I could stomach it."

Does he know her? "Yep. We work together." Oliver seems, for a second, like that's as much as he's going to say about the matter. But maybe the whole notion that he's being a conversational stick-in-the-mud is penetrating his brain-fog, 'cause he volunteers after another sip, "I work in emergency, too. You get used to it." Like he's had this particular conversation almost as many times as he's had the one with the coffee-girl. "I couldn't do what you do. Too quiet."

"I'll have to let her know I officially met you." Esme mused. "I've seen you in here a few times, usually while I'm heading out or heading in but you're heading out." She nodded. "I guess it would be something to get used to but, I'm not sure it's something I would like to get used to." Esme tapped her chin lightly and grinned. "It is quiet, but I've always preferred the quiet. So it's ideal for me and mostly involves me getting to read a majority of my shifts. In between putting away books and doing certain paperworks and such."

Nodding, Oliver answers for his comings-and-goings with a simple, "I keep odd hours." Hence the need for caffeine immediately, it would seem, since he risks a tongue-burn to get more into his body, stat!!! (Cuz he's a doctor. Get it? Anyway.) Then there's a shrug, and all he can say is, "Different strokes," about his work vs. hers. "What's he - ?" There's a chin-tilt toward what Sam left on the table, totally willing to go through the dude's stuff while he's in the can.

"I'm sure you do." To the odd hour keeping. Esme looked back over at Sam's things and then up to Oliver. "Sketches. Not sure if it's for his book idea or just practice." She mused. She reached over, putting one finger on the notebook to pull it a little closer. Keeping it the way he left it facing so they were looking at the pictures from an upside down perspective. "He's very talented. I hope he finds some inspiration here. Besides all the murders and cultists." She mused, slowly sliding the notebook back to where it had been and sipping the cocoa.

"Have to be. If it pays his bills." Things are mostly as they were when Sam left. Oliver's still at the counter, sipping his coffee, and Esme's still at the table. There's a low, brittle-sounding laugh at her addition, and he points out, "The murders and the cultists pay my bills."

Likely for the best that Sam missed the chatter about murderers and cultists. He'd just left New York, it was supposed to be quieter here, right? He emerges a few minutes later and returns to his seat, giving an apologetic smile toward the pair. "Sorry about that. Hopefully I didn't miss anything too exciting." He wraps his hand around his coffee mug and takes a small sip.

Probably! Though he's sure to find out soon enough that quiet towns aren't always what they seem. Esme flashes Sam another smile when he returns. "Welcome back. Oh no, just chatting about work. Oliver here works with my best friend, in the ER." She explained. "And we took a little peek at your drawings. I really do love your art style." She relaxed back in her seat with a contented sigh. "So are you staying until you finish your book then?"

Oliver, since it's freaking obvious, volunteers, "We were looking at your drawings, too," after Esme summarizes the missed bits of the conversation. There's no particular apology in his tone, just conveying the facts. He's making good progress on that coffee of us, and - so as not to lose traction - drinks again, leaving Esme's question to carry the weight this round, attention on Sam for the response.

"In the ER? That's heavy work. I can't even imagine. And I have a pretty good imagination." Sam replies at being told Oliver's work situation. He laughs quietly at the admissions to looking at this sketch book, which doesn't seem to bother him too much. He'd likely keep it closed if he felt strongly about it being private. "If either if you want something drawn, let me know. Likely sells for ten, twelve dollars on EBay." Then he focuses properly on Esme's question - "I planned to stay for a year. If that's a book or two books or zero books … we'll see. But, as you suggested, maybe I find myself not wanting to leave. I don't really have any obligations to be anywhere else." He looks between both and then asks Esme - "You said you went away for awhile and came back? What brought you back?"

"That's what I told him. But I suppose everyone has what they're good at and what they can handle and such." Esme mused, then nodded as he explained his duration of stay plan. "It's highly probable, but you'll probably have a better idea well before the year is through." Esme shifted a touch in her seat. "Family trouble." Keeping it vague. "I thought about going back to California after things were squared away, but then I was offered the job was Ewan-Powell and I couldn't turn it down. I like it here better than LA anyway. I prefer the quiet, calm. It's not too noisy and there's not too many people." A little wave of her hand. "Anyway, here I am and unlikely to leave any time soon. So I might just take you up on that drawing offer. Maybe use it for a tattoo inspiration. I've been thinking about getting one."

Shrugging lankily (which should totally be a word), Oliver answers for his work, "It's like anything. You do it long enough…" He trails off, shrugging and letting the two of them fill in the blank with whatever platitude they prefer. The offer of a drawing has him raise his brows, intrigued. "Thanks, man, I might hit you up sometime. You have a card or something?" Esme's reason for wanting the drawing keeps his brows lifted, and 'orly?' is written all over his face for a second, but he bites his tongue. (Or, as is more likely, scalds it with another gulp.)

"LA is a lot." Sam agrees. "Like everywhere it has good qualities, but it wouldn't be my first choice to settle in long term." He listens carefully to Esme's explanation, nodding along with it, but he doesn't pry for more details. He knows well enough how deep the 'Family trouble' hole can go. Maybe not an over coffee conversation. He does seem pleased by the tattoo comment, smiling again at that. "I'd be happy to do that. I've had people use my work to inspire tattoos before, but never actually drawn anything specifically with the idea that it would become a tattoo. Any ideas yet on what you want it to be?" At the same time as he's asking this, he rips a couple pieces of paper from his book and scratches out a phone number on them, pushing one toward Esme and extending the other to Oliver. "I don't have cards with me. I'm not too hard to find online, but a text will get me easily enough. Though, I mostly haunt anywhere that serves decent coffee. Not hard to run into me."

Esme smirked at Oliver's look when she talked about tattoos, but didn't elaborate on placement or anything, and was more than happy to not divulge any further information on her family troubles. She accepted the piece of paper with the phone number on it. "And I think I know exactly who I want to do it too. I'd just have to speak with her." Esme thought for a moment. "I don't have anything specific in mind. But I know I'd want it to center around the occult in some form or fashion." She lightly plucked at her bracelet. "I'm open to suggestions or thoughts, I couldn't draw properly even if my life depended on it." Esme laughed softly again. "I can picture things in my mind, there's just no translating it to the paper."

Oliver takes a cell phone out of the inner pocket of his coat, does the thumb-password thing, and takes the paper from Sam, punching numbers into his phone "Thanks, man. That text is from me." (And says simply: 'What's up - Oliver C') Then he's quiet again, while Esme resumes talking about the tattoo. And the occult. Good thing he put down his coffee cup, 'cause he'd almost definitely have sputtered a mouthful there, given the bemusement that crashes into his expression.

Sam takes his own phone out of his pocket and nods once he sees that the message has indeed arrived. He tucks it back away before nodding to Esme's explanation. He doesn't seem all that surprised by the desire for some kind of occult artwork. That stuff was cool! "Nothing I have intimate knowledge about, but some of the symbols and designs associated with the occult are amazing. If you have some ideas in your head I can try to translate them to paper. And don't worry, if you hate it, I don't expect you to use it. Not every piece of art works out."

"No contract signed in blood that requires her to get the tat if you provide the art?" That's Oliver's contribution, put while he continues to punch some things into his phone. (Not gonna lie, he's catching Pokemon. But he does it in such a way that it kiiiiiinda looks like he might be texting. Still, anyone that plays has to know that particular finger-flick.) He looks between his phone-screen and the two at the table, waiting to see if his joke landed. Without so much as cracking a smile.

Esme simply pockets the paper for now. She'll remember to add it to her phone at some point today. She has a good memory anyways. "It's a subject I've been studying for practically forever." She grinned again. "And that's fair." To Oliver she chuckled. "I only do blood contracts on the lunar eclipse or when Mars is visible in the sky." She winked and finished off her drink. "I'll definitely give you a call Sam. So we can talk about some design work. Maybe get some sketches."

Sam's brow furrows. "Isn't there a lunar eclipse coming up soon? I suppose we'll want to get things squared away before then." He says, his lips tugging at a grin. Pulling his sketch book toward himself he takes up a pencil and a blank page and begins to absently draw shapes and lines. His focus is still on Esme and Oliver. "So you've been here a long time, Esme. I don't know how long Oliver has been here, but longer than I have. Anything words of advice for a new arrival?"

Wordlessly, Oliver repeats the 'only' that Esme threw in about her blood contracts, mouthing the term while he pockets his phone again. He caught you, Sandshrew! "Sounds like you got yourself a gig," he tells Sam amusedly. Or, y'know, as amusedly as a guy with a low affect can convey without way more coffee. Speaking of, he makes some serious headway on his while he volunteers, "Eleven years," as his tenure. "What's your poison? Other than - " He looks at the drawing-stuff and the coffee-stuff.

Esme grinned. "We probably will. Unless you want to get knee deep in blood contracts and summoning rituals." Teasing. Mostly. Right? She shifted a bit, relaxing in her seat. "Well, the Rodeo community is pretty big here. It's never been my schtick but they can be fun if you're into that sort of thing. You should at least go to one while you're here." She brushed back a few loose strands of hair. "Everyone is fairly friendly, but you'd still do well to lock your doors at night…oh! And you should definitely come to the Stone Bed and Breakfast for dinner some time. Kate is an excellent cook." Then she quiets so she can hear the the answer to Oliver's question.

"I met Katherine the other day." Sam says at the mention of the Bed and Breakfast and making the great leap that Kate and Katherine are likely the same. "She was very nice. I didn't realize she served dinner there as well. When I hear bed and breakfast I mostly figure it's just breakfast. And for overnight guests only. I'll make it a point to go there one of these nights." He looks toward Oliver and his expression wobbles in consideration for a second before replying. "I like to get out at night from time to time. I'm not much of a dancer and I drink pretty lightly, so I'm usually looking for places with more flavour than just cheap beer. I run, though I'm more inclined to do it in the warmer weather and I'll have to see how it goes with the thinner air."

Oliver flicks a look between Sam and Esme. Sam and Esme. Sam… and Esme… and then, with a fuck-it shrug, volunteers, "Strip club's not bad. It's called Eternity. Pretty clean, anyway. And a bar on the edge of town called - what's it called nowadays? Used to be Johnny's? Kinda kitschy-western but." He chin-tosses to indicate Esme's contribution about the rodeo. Same theme. "Some good trails outside town." For running, one assumes. Not stripping. "I bike out there, but people jog - when the weather's up for it, yeah." There, that's more dialogue than Oliver's ever used in a pose before ever; good job, guys.

"Katherine is a sweetheart. I adore her. She'll feed anyone and everyone honestly. But I don't do much cooking at all for myself since it's just me. So I like to stop in everyone now and then." She chuckled. "I've not been to Eternity…though I did hear they're doing some kind of charity thing I thought? Or some sort of event…so I might slip in. The bar you're thinking of is Alibi. I've been there once, they have a mechanical bull. It's pretty amusing to watch people try it." Esme mused. "I'm kind of a hermit though, so I don't get out on the town too often or anything. So I'm not much help in that department." Her head tilted a bit, making a mental note about the trails.

Sam laughs quietly, mostly because he hadn't even considered a strip club as an option, but he nods to Oliver's assessment. "Everyone there well treated? I mean the dancers, by the management? I suppose you likely don't really know. I'm all for supporting good clubs where everyone is winning, but too many end up taking advantage of people in vulnerable situations. Though, doing charity events does sound like a point in their favour." He glances down at the paper he's still sketching on, the lines and shapes taking the form of clouds and a sky, dominated by eerie full moon. He doesn't have colour to make it look like a lunar eclipse perfectly, but the shading helps. "Sounds like a few things to try. And skiing? I haven't skied in years. But, seems like the place for it."

Leaning back some from that opening question, Oliver opens his mouth on a questioning, "Ahhhm?" Then closes it and nods slowly when Sam gets around to 'likely don't really know.' "Strip clubs not your thing?" Half a guess, half a deduction, and he's nodding his gratitude at Esme for supplying the name of Alibi when his watch buzzes his wrist. "They're playing my song." So he dumps his coffee cup in the trash (dude, he coulda got that in a real cup and saved a tree!), dragging on his outer gear on his way across the cafe to the door.

"Good luck." About what? To whom? Whatever. Oliver's out.

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