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The Lie

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Rin - default
It was ironic his work had taken him here, he thought, considering Rui lived here. He'd visit her later, but for now he hadn't the time - this was the only chance he'd have to eat before he had to get down to work.

Meanwhile, strolling down the street was a certain red-head with a bag of books slung over a shoulder. Audrey, unlike Wes, had just gotten off duty at that moment, and she was at that point looking like she could really use a cup of coffee... or something to eat. She didn't seem to notice anyone else, although she did glance up at Wes for a moment. After all someone who looked like THAT seemed a little out-of-place in such a peaceful town.

Wes noticed the woman come in, and glanced to her. Hm, another pretty red-head. He seemed to encounter a lot of them, that was true . . . Of course, there was something irresistible about women with red hair. And purple, but that was another story.
He leaned over and smiled to the woman. "Good day."

Audrey slipped into a nearby seat at another table when Wes spoke to her. Setting her bag next to her, on her side away from him, she glanced towards him.

"Hello," she said cautiously.

It was a relief for her when a waitress dropped off a menu at that point. However, as soon as she ordered tea, the waitress left her alone with Wes again.

"I've been around this town before, but I've never seen you. Did you just move here, or am I just blind?" He was smiling lightly.

With a shake of her head, Audrey opened her menu and stared at the specials.

"I moved in a few months ago," she said, "but I don't get out and about that often."

"Ahh." He looked away a moment, then back. "Sorry for disturbing you, I'm just . . . bored." He shrugged. "It's a lot more pleasant eating with company, don't you think?" He had his menu out now.

She jolted slightly, then put her menu down. She had an idea of what she wanted anyway.

"Oh, no," she said. "I should be the one apologizing. I didn't mean to make you think you were disturbing me." She glanced over and studied Wes for a bit. "So, are you from here, or do you frequently pass through?"

"The latter. Business, mostly. I'm a . . ." Crap, he hadn't thought of what he was . . . "Librarian, actually. I evaluate rare collections, hence the travel."

Immediately, Audrey's face lit up. "Is that so? I work part-time as a librarian in the city library. If you'd like to stop by, I could show you some of the rarer books in our stacks, Mr..." Right then, she realized she hadn't asked for his name.

"Thomas," Wes said. Close enough, right? "Perhaps, but I'm actually on a very tight schedule as-is. This is just a lay-over to eat before I head on to Slateport."

"I understand," she said. "I'm Audrey. It's a pleasure to meet you, Thomas."

Right then, the waitress came back with a cup, a tea bag, and a metal kettle. Soon after, Audrey relayed her order to the waitress before the latter, like a bee going from flower to flower, stopped by Wes' table.

". . . I'll have the biggest burger you have with all the trimmings, rare - that means pink, not bloody - and . . ." He considered. "A milkshake."

As the waitress scribbled down the order and hurried away, Audrey bit her lip but said nothing about the man's choice in diet. Instead, she opted with playing with a napkin as she thought of possible conversation topics.

"What got you interested in rare books, if I may ask?"

"What? Oh, I just . . . like old things. But some things are even better." He winked at her.

Catching the wink, she crossed her legs and stopped playing with the napkin.

"Oh? Like what?"

"The company of someone else." He said it innocently enough. And really, he was only playing around. He had no real interest to stop and do anything more serious even if he had the time.

"I suppose," Audrey said with a small smile. "You know... don't take offense to this, but you don't seem quite like any of the other appraisers I've met."

"I'll take that as a compliment," Wes replied. "We don't all have to look identical." He smiled and looked totally relaxed as his food appeared.

The waitress, after plopping the PILES OF DEAD ANIMAL in front of Wes, placed in front of Audrey a pasta dish made with nothing that ever ate, breathed, was squeezed from an animal, or generally looked cute. After a thank you and a bite, Audrey tried to continue the conversation without looking at Wes.

"Oh, I didn't expect it," she said. "It's just that a lot of appraisers seem to be more interested in books than in... anything else."

"We're still human. If we get a paper cut, do we not bleed?" He took a bite out of his large burger after adding some ketchup.

Audrey giggled. "Oh, that's very poetic." She paused to take another bite. "So, on another topic, may I ask about your favorite author?"

"Copernicus," Wes said without a pause. "I specialize in historial science books." Okay, it was getting easier to lie now. "It's amazing to hold some of his books in your hand and think of how old they are."

A smile played across her lips. Wes was certainly saying the right things.

"Oh, I agree," she said, "and it's certainly impressive to know the historical significance of his work as well. So, you've read De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium? What did you think of his theories -- other than the obvious, of course?"

Wes was silent. Then he added smoothly; "Why discuss work at a time like this? We're eating, we should try to take our minds off work."

Audrey gave Wes a knowing smile.

"If you insist," she said. "Would you like to join me?"

"Sure," Grabbing his stuff, Wes moved across from her. "So, what do you like to do for fun?" he asked.

With a small shrug, Audrey responded, "Oh, a few things. Take a walk, go antique shopping, read... occasionally go to events with colleagues and friends, but I usually prefer something a little quieter and intimate."

She took a sip of her tea.

"Antiques . . . saw a lot of those growing up in Orre. Everything over there is old. Except the people, the one exception being the retirement community."

"Orre?" Audrey raised an eyebrow as she peered at him from over the cup of tea. "Where exactly in Orre do you come from?"

"Phenac," Wes said. Close enough.

"Phenac? I've never been there before," Audrey said. "Could you tell me a little about it?"

"It's a city full of water in the middle of a desert. It's pretty much the only nice city in Orre. The rest, other than Agate, tend towards more dangerous. And you, where are you from?"

Audrey looked at the food that was still left on her plate. "Cherrygrove City. Johto isn't nearly as exotic or wild, but Cherrygrove had its own charms. You should go there in the spring when the cherry blossoms around the city bloom."

"Ah, nice. Perhaps I will." Wes smiled. "Maybe you could give me a tour." He laughed.

"I wouldn't mind," Audrey said.

She finished off her plate of pasta before thinking of anything else to say.

"How long will you be staying?"

"Just a few more minutes. It was nice to talk while I eat instead of eating in silence, though." His burger was long gone, and so were the fries; just half his shake was left. "Let me cover the tab, as one librarian to another."

"Thank you," Audrey said as she bowed her head, "but... I don't think it will be from one librarian to another."

She brought her head up and looked into Wes' eyes. The knowing smile was back.

". . . Well, from one friend to another," Wes said, letting out a laugh. "I did well, though, didn't I? And it sounds better than the truth." He leaned closer. "I sell rubber nipples."

A blush spread across Audrey's face as she leaned back.

"Rubber nipples? Is that so?"

"Yep. Need any?" He laughed uproariously. "I don't *actually* carry them around with me."

At that, a sweatdrop slid down Audrey's head as she stared at Wes.

"Ah, no thanks," she said. "If I ever need one, I'll contact you, though." With that, she stood. "Thank you for the meal, Thomas. If you're ever in Verdanturf sometime in the near future, I wouldn't mind doing this again."

"Sure." He dropped a wad of bills on the table. "Take care, but I have to run." One final wink and he started for the door.

With a wave and a nod, Audrey waited until he left before exiting the building herself. She shook her head, knowing that Wes was probably only the first interesting character she'd encounter in this town.
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