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Penelope Winston a name she still after a few years was getting used to using. Yet it tied her to a life she could have had along with pushing past the life she once had. Well mostly, she still carried her thirst for revenge for Abraxas Bradford. The man that destroyed her family, before she even knew part of it. Now she was gifted with the task of being the Guardian of The Archives Hall, A hall that was a labyrinth with mythic items and books full of magic dark, light, and neutral. A hall you could get lost in and would trap you if you didn’t know what you were doing. A hall owned by Malva Ailward the Aspect of Magic, and while Penny herself wasn't a guard to the order she was of a trusted bloodline that Malva had a hand in making herself.
Though not only was she the guardian of the hall, but she was the owner of Winston Library which was Evermore Largest Privately owned Library. Today was like most days, she pushed the cart along the row of books placing books back. She had a love hate relationship with the Library. While it gave her all the world's information at her fingertips it sometimes felt like a cage. She came from a Nomadic coven, who ran around the woods in the dead of night naked and did what they wished till falling in with Abraxas Bradford. So sometimes she wanted strip away the pin skirt and professional dresses and run around in the woods naked again.
That day was a day she was missing her mom deeply so pushing the cart around the library placing things back on the shelf made her want to set the building ablaze. So she pushed the cart back to the desk and planned on taking a long lunch when her gaze fell upon a woman who radiated not only Diviner energy, but a longing deep within herself. Most diviners where self involved with their own problems to notice anothers Aura. In fact she knew many diviners who never bother learning about magic on a soulful level like she had herself.
Penelope placed her bag down and moved towards the woman for a moment. Not noticing what section of the library she had been in but more so focusing in on her aura trying to see what she long for. Penny realized after a long moment of staring that she was actually focusing to much. "Forgive me for staring. I just was trying to understand what had you feeling so empty." She held her hand out towards the young girl. "My name is Penelope or Penny if you like, I am the owner of the library." she let her eyes flash their scarlet red for when she was using magic. "I am also a fellow diviner." she said more softly. "You seem like you could use someone to talk to." she said softly wearing the same warm smile that was on her lips the moment she realized she had been staring to hard. "I was going to go on lunch if you like I am more then open to listening."
Aster knew that coming home would be difficult. It hadn’t been the same ever since she left the first time at age thirteen. It was always good to see her father and her sisters, despite that their visits were often once a year or less. It was her mother who made things difficult. She simply couldn’t handle that Aster didn’t need her anymore. It made things even worse that at a young age her daughter had bonded successfully with her host parents. Stella Gallagher had a particular dislike for Silvia Bennet and had made her feelings known on plenty of occasions. As far as Aster went, she’d simply learned to keep her mouth shut. The less she spoke about her life overseas or her success the more bearable evenings at home would be, but now at twenty-six the young woman couldn’t help but wonder if it wasn’t normal to have a parent resent you for simply doing what was natural: spreading your wings. She saw her younger siblings cope in various ways, Luna was a rebel who eighty percent of who she was from her parents, and Thea despite her kind nature never backed away from holding her mother accountable for overly dramatic statements and harsh words. Aster hated having left them to grow up alone inside a place she’d run from, the guilt gnawed at her insides, especially when she could see how it had made them mere acquaintances in a home that had once held family.
It was Wednesday. Leftover day. She hadn’t meant to stay for lunch, but in the Gallagher house there was no such thing as a short visit. If you stepped in the door, you were transported first through the hospitality, then the casual conversation, and finally the grilling of your life which was so perfectly masked by familial concern. Aster was bad at saying no. She didn’t know how to step out of their gravity. How was it that Ridley never saw this side of her family? How could they be so normal in front of everyone else, but when the doors were closed every mask was left behind. The cold air bit at her cheeks just as much as the warm container of pot roast was turning her fingers pink. She never left without extra food. Her mother hated waste. The young woman hurried down the parking lot, without a single look back, trying to make her escape before someone could call out to her and draw her back under, into the bubble, where it was hard to breathe.
She’d driven there, but instead of getting in her car, Aster found herself walking and walking. It was unusual. Most days, she couldn’t stop herself from dancing. A tap here or a twirl there, whatever she did, it was like there was an invisible symphony chasing her feet; but not today. Today, she was cold and empty. A warm light from a building up ahead drew her in. The container of food had long since gone cold in her hands and a whisper of frost was aired from her lips.
I should have worn gloves. How stupid of me.
Aster plodded up the stairs, surprised to find it unlocked. As she did, she found herself surrounded by rows and rows of books. To say she’d never found herself spending much time in libraries was a fair statement. School had never been her strong point. She spent more time on stage than with bookshelves, but somehow the warm light and old leather bound covers were comforting. They reminded her of her father’s study and how when she was a little girl, long before she’d ever chosen her hopes and dreams over her parents, she would sit on his knee and get a bedtime story. Before long, she found herself engrossed in six different volumes of children’s fairytales of princesses frozen in glass or locked in towers and eventually, the people that saved them. It didn't take long before she was much warmer, and certainly...finally, removed from the threat of misunderstanding.
Deeply engrossed in her book, it took Aster a few moments to realize that someone was there. Perhaps, she'd been reading for a lot longer than she realized. It was mid-afternoon by now and the sun was beginning to lower in the sky. In December, it didn't take long for that to happen, perhaps an hour or two. Aster adjusted and peered up at the young woman who was speaking. She was brunette, with strong features, but a kind voice. As if on cue, Aster's stomach growled. She never ate much when she visited home. There was never a vegan option and it was terrible enough to be teased about your lifestyle choices, but worse to be made to regret them. She always tried to have enough to blend in, but not enough to make herself sick. A healthy salad right about now would be very much appreciated. Aster smiled, "I'd like that...Penelope. I'm Aster. It's lovely to meet you."
Penelope looked to the girl and the books she had found herself engrossed with. The longing of being saved from something you don’t understand is what a theme a lot of the books had she was reading. Or was it a childhood memories she wished to relive? Penelope brain wondered as she smiled towards her. “It’s a pleasure to meet you Aster. I have to say that isn’t a common name from around here.” She said as she then moved with Aster towards the front door of the Library pulling on her coat before taking in the cold December air. “The place I eat is right across the street, So not a far walk.” She smiled towards her as her hands moved to tuck into her pocket.
She walked across the street when the light told her too and over to the lovely little restaurant that sat there getting a warm welcome from the staff as they were used to her coming in around this time most days a week. She took the booth in the back like always and settled in with the menu looking it over before looking to her. “Feel free to get whatever you like on me.” she smiled at her before reading back over the menu. As the waiter came she ordered a chicken salad sandwich. After waiting for the waiter to take Aster order and walk away did the diviner turned her full attention back to her. “So what is troubling you?” she asked softly.
The winter air hit Aster, quick and cold, before she hurried into the only jacket that she'd packed before moving to New York. She'd left in a hurry, as she tended to do and most of her things had been left behind. Aster was used to living in multiple places and letting the world rotate around her like snowflakes falling in a globe. She still hadn't managed to build up the courage to ask Ridley if any of her clothes were still in storage from the apartment that they'd temporarily shared. The restaurant across the frosty street was warm and inviting. She took a seat on a barstool and crossed her legs. There was a long line, but Penny seemed to know someone behind the counter. Aster could appreciate things like that. Never having stayed in Evermore for long, she couldn't really relate to forging bonds that stayed true beyond packing the next suitcase. She perused the menu and chose a tomato soup and alternative flour toast. "Do you often invite strangers to have a meal and ask them how they are?" She bit her lip, sipping her water through a tall straw. "Or is that just a today kind of thing?"
Despite how much Aster needed and wanted to talk about what was going on, she often had a difficulty opening up to others. It took her time to let them in - at least, half a bowl of soup and a sandwich.
Penny wasn’t one to often beat around the bush unless she had to. If she was honest. She enjoyed helping people. Some people needed a gentle touch and others not so much. Sometimes Penny could be wrong but often after a little time people seem to approve of her methods. She had learned a long time ago life was short so why do anything slow when you could take a knife to the back the next day.
So as they settled in and ordered and she chuckled for a moment at her question. She gave a slight shrug of her shoulders. “I would be lying if I say you are the first stranger I invited for a meal in order to help them through what may be troubling them. It's kind of in my nature. I believe life is far too short to be carrying weight on your shoulders when we all only have one life to live. May as well live it happily and do what we have a passion for.” She smiled at the waitress as she picked up the drink that was sat down in front of her.
“Do you often go to lunch with strangers who invite you? Or has it just been that kind of day?” she turned her own question back on her as she reached up and tucked some of her hair back behind her ear for a moment. “Maybe you want someone to talk to without knowing you do.” She said softly to her.