So We Meet Again

Tattered Cover

Though the name might suggest that this shop deals only in old, dusty, used books, the Tattered Cover is actually a nice mixture of both new and old materials. The lightly colored hardwood flooring is original to the building, though it's been sanded down and refinished. The light fixtures dangling from the ceiling are mismatched, coming from renovations to other nearby buildings.

Artwork found on the plum colored walls are pieces that are done by local university students, and young artists just starting out. The bookshelves are new, but hold everything from first editions to the latest best seller, and everything in between. A long table from the late thirties, sitting on a 'recycled' Persian rug displays the latest and greatest, as well as those books that are still selling well.

Behind the counter are a few shelves filled with comic books and collectibles; those few smaller items that are more prone to being stolen.


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Brooke Bishop Bryn Blackwell

Having a little bit of a break between clients is a good thing. It allows Brooke time to stop at the bookstore and see if there's anything new she can add to her bag. The shop keeper keeps telling her every time she comes in that she should look at one of those digital devices so she could keep more books on hand, but there's just something about them Brooke doesn't like.

Probably the fact that she can't smell the book, or can't really get it autographed. How horrible would that have been for her to have run into Sera Roche, and only have a digital copy? No autographing there.

"Mr. Wysocki, I don't really want one of those digital devices. I'd hate to put you out of business by only shopping online. I love your store."

The man rolls his eyes and chuckles. "I would just open online," he says with a grin.

With their usual banter finished, she gives him a little wave and heads into the stacks to look around.


Looking for an older tome has proven to be quite difficult in a city this size, especially since the tome in question is extremely old and very rare. Callum suggested that he pick it up, as it would detail other cases like the one he has run into with the Priory.

Bryn can hear the bell above the door make a little dingle noise as a new customer enters. He can hear the banter and the chuckling.

What strikes him is that the voice sounds familiar. Raising his brow, he flicks his finger toward the front of the shop to amplify the conversation.

"Bloody hell," he mutters under his breath.


Brooke turns the corner, around one of the shelves and freezes. She generally does when she sees a man with dark hair, her breath catching in her throat. It's not him. You know it's not him.

Fingers fiddle with a book on the shelf, and she's half a mind to twist right back around and go the other way.

Get over it, Brooke. It's been twelve years. You shouldn't still be acting like this.


Twelve years is apparently not long enough. Bryn gasps when she turns the corner, because of all the people he was expecting to run into in the city, Brooke Bishop was not one of them.

Locking his eyes to hers, he takes a deep breath and then exhales it slowly.



All of the air goes rushing out of her lungs as though someone's punched her in the stomach. Figuratively, they have. Brooke stares at him, gaping for a good minute before she moves forward. The first thing she does is swing her hand out to slug him in the shoulder.

Then she's wrapping her arms around his neck tightly and hugging him close.

Bryn Blackwell always did tend to send her emotions into a vortex.

"What on earth are you doing in the city, Bryn? I thought you were…" Frowning, Brooke tilts her head. "In Peru? Tibet? Egypt? London?"


"Ow." A frown forms on his lips as he rubs his arm and then finds himself hugged. It's awkward, because after twelve years he's not at all sure how he should be reacting to her. He ran once from his feelings years ago. Patting her shoulder, he reaches up to remove her arms from around his neck and sets them to her side.

"All of the above," Bryn replies. "Now I have relocated here."


"You're staying here? In the city? And you couldn't call and give me a god damned warning?" Brooke reaches out to swat at him again. Semi-playfully, but she's agitated. Twelve years, and not so much as a phone call. A postcard. Any indication that he was alright.

"I… I can't believe you! Couldn't you have given me a heads up?"


Exhaling a sigh, Bryn takes a step back and leans casually against the bookshelf. He knows that what he did to her wasn't at all appropriate. Leaving when and the way he did just caused more pain to the both of them than was necessary. Even now he can't really explain his reasoning, except that he needed to leave.

"New York City is a very large place, Brooke. The chances of us meeting, or even running in the same circles were very slim."


"I thought you would have been in Lima still."


"No. I needed a change of scenery after…" Brooke shrugs. After he left, staying in Lima seemed foolish. So she accepted admissions from NYU and moved to the city for school.

"It doesn't matter. I can't believe you're here. I…"


Bryn reaches for one of her hands, giving it a gentle squeeze. "I am here. I am in the process of moving here permanently. A friend of mine sent me to this shop for a particular book that I am having difficulty locating."

The gentleness in his voice is designed to bring her back to the here and now, and not allow her to dwell on the past overly much.


Teeth nip onto her lower lip, leaving small indentations in the soft flesh as he squeezes her hand. Brooke closes her eyes, and for one brief second, the twelve years that have passed seem to disappear and she's a girl of eighteen again.

I haven't been waiting for Bryn. I haven't. But damn, it's good to see him again.

"What book? If it's here in the shop, Mr. Wysocki will know of it. We could just go ask him."


"No need for any of that, Brooke. I can use a locator spell if I really must." Bryn releases her hand when he sees that look cross her face, and he sighs. "We cannot do this, Brooke. I do not want to dwell on the past. If anything, we should both be looking ahead to the future."

He's not trying to be curt with her, but he is filled with a bit of confusion as well. They were together for several years, and experienced plenty of firsts together, but it was long ago and revisiting may not be the best idea for either of them.


It's taking everything in Brooke's power to not lose it on him. "We cannot do what? Say hello to one another? Do you see me dwelling on the past? Begging you to bed me? Because I certainly don't."

Crossing her arms over her chest, she frowns at him, not at all sure what to make of him.

"It's not like I was stalking you into the store and running around just looking for you, Bryn Blackwell!"


Bryn looks a bit taken aback by the sudden switch from happy to see him, to angry at what he's said. He's not sure how to handle the sudden swing in her mood, and so he lets loose an exasperated sigh.

"Brooke… that is not entirely what I meant. Simply that I do not want to just jump into something right away based upon the past. It would not be fair to either of us to slip back into old habits."


"Did I ask you to jump right back into anything? God Bryn, you're so obtuse! Can't a woman be happy to see someone she thought she'd never see again? That doesn't mean I want to be with you."

Does it?

Brooke's not so sure about that, but now she's far too agitated to even dwell. "Look, you're in the city, and you can't know that many people." Digging out a business card, she hands it to him. "If you want to go out sometime for a tour, or as friends, you can give me a call. If not, well it was great seeing you again."


Snapping a hand out to catch her shoulder before she can turn and run off, Bryn sighs. "Can we start over, Miss Bishop?" He's not generally this formal with Brooke, but at the moment he feels it is almost necessary to get them both back on equal footing.

"My intention was not to anger you, Miss Bishop. I was simply surprised to see you, and wanted to reiterate…"


"Bloody hell, I am making such a mess of this. It is good to see you again, Brooke. I was planning a trip out to Lima, after I finished up on a current assignment."


"Is it? Because it seemed like you just really wanted to get rid of me." Brooke hmmphs and shakes his hand off her shoulder. She still wants to walk away. Storm out. Not look back.

Rather than doing any of those things she lets her shoulders drop a little and looks down at her feet.

"You still should have called."


"I suppose I should have," Bryn agrees. Had he called ahead, he would've known that she was living in the city, and would have been able to easily avoid her until such a time as he wanted to run into her.

"I apologize, Miss Bishop. My intention was not to run you off."


"Could've fooled me," Brooke mutters under her breath, before setting a smile to her face and trying to control her anger.

"You should make it up to me, Mr. Blackwell.


"How, pray tell, do you want me to make this up to you, Miss Bishop?" Bryn lifts his brow, somewhat wary, but mostly amused. He knows that he didn't do well with his wording, and that it came off all wrong. No wonder she's agitated with him.


"I have a function on Thursday, the tenth. I have no escort to the function, and I'd really rather not show up to it alone." Brooke nips on her lower lip again, and then sighs. "Not a date. Simply two friends utilizing the event to play catch up on the last twelve years."

Tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, she glances up at him. "After the evening is done, you never have to talk to me again."


Bryn sucks air in between his teeth and frowns. "Brooke…" Bloody hell, but she's infuriating now. Not at all like she was when they were younger. He has no idea how to react to her.

Giving her a nod, he sighs. "Agreed." Taking out his own card, he hands it to her. It's a newer one with the correct telephone numbers on it. "Leave a message and tell me the time I need to pick you up, and the address."


"I will see you on Thursday, Mr. Blackwell." Brooke does turn then, after snatching the card from his hand. She wants to say so much more to him, but she can't bring herself to stay.

She doesn't even say goodbye to Mr. Wysocki as she's on her way out of the store.

Bridget is going to kill me.

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