Emmple (emperial) wrote,

In the Library with the Feather Duster

In waist coat and suspenders, Daub pulled books from the highest of the shelves and handed them to Laceana, who gave the covers and pages a brief dusting before handing them back. They were an effective team for the moment, Daub's height compensating for Laceana's lack of, Laceana acting as sounding board for Daub's thoughts. "It would have been entirely masturbatory, dating her," he was saying, telling Laceana of his first date. "She was too much like me." He paused, Pride and Prejudice in hand. "But not as good a conversationalist."

Laceana pulled the book from him and gave an inattentive, "Uh huh." She knew by now that Daub's idea of a good conversationalist was either someone who would let him prattle on and nod occasionally, or who prattled or ranted so much Daub was the one doing the nodding. Laceana was the former, n'Barit was the latter, and Kirkcaldy rested somewhere in the middle, listening and engaging simultaneously with Daub and periodically giving him cause to listen. So long as there was someone talking, something ongoing and constant, Daub was happy. Given how much trouble he sometimes had juggling multiple things mentally, a person who could keep going on about the same thing was something of a relief for him. Laceana handed the book back to Daub and he replaced it and pulled down the next one.

"She was a sweet girl, really," Daub sighed. "I hate that I had to do that to her." Laceana's eyes darted upward, wondering what precisely he had done. "It was just, you know." Daub shrugged and passed her another book.

Laceana dusted it, but Daub turned from the bookshelf and leaned against it, crossing his arms, and Laceana was left holding the book and waiting for him to resume their task. He just stood there, brow furrowed, until finally Laceana sighed and put the book down on the lower shelves and crossed her own arms expectantly. Standing with her weight on one foot, holding her feather duster at an angle, she was all attitude to his disturbed seriousness.

"You know I'm gone tell you off," she warned him, speaking of the cleaning task at hand. Though she was paid by the hour, Daub was a ridiculously generous tipper, and the sooner she finished work the sooner Laceana could go home and actually enjoy her hard-earned money.

"Lace," said Daub, not caring for the moment about the cleaning. He looked so serious that Laceana dropped some of her attitude, fixing him with a wary look. "I haven't told you a few things about myself."

"I ain't told you a few things about my self, either," Laceana easily countered. She preferred it that way. Daub knew her big secret and she knew (most of) his, but she still kept all of the smaller things to herself. He didn't need to know everything, and neither did she, but apparently he felt there was something she needed to know that she did not already.

"You know when I met n'Barit and Cady I was at a... difficult point in my life." Laceana knew that: Daub had said it in almost those exact words to her months earlier. "The truth of the matter is I had tried to kill myself. A few times. Never quite worked up the courage."

Laceana dropped her attitude, uncrossing her arms to press her hair behind her ear, looking down in discomfort. "I think we all had bad times in our lives," she half-mumbled. Daub's forehead knit in concern.

"Of course we have," he said quickly. "I'm sorry." He reached over and squeezed her shoulder. "Forget I mentioned it."

That, Laceana was more than happy to do, and they resumed dusting the bookshelf. "This girl, she deserve what you done?"

"Not even in the slightest," Daub admitted.

Laceana fixed him with a stern look. "You apologized?"

Daub had to hang his head shamefully. "No."

"Uh huh," said Laceana, smacking the current book into Daub's hand. She knew he'd do it now that she had pointed him in the right direction, and she'd check back tomorrow to be sure he had, since he was prone to forgetting things. They dusted quietly for a few minutes, nothing but the sound of books changing hands and sliding in and out of the bookshelf. Finally Laceana asked, "You goin' try again?"

At that, Daub smiled, smacking David Copperfield into Laceana's waiting hand. "Of course," he said. "One step forward at a time." 
Tags: daub, laceana
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