As Annabel approached the two women, she could see that they were indeed talking about the Grimoire she had bonded. The other woman seemed very excited about it and was asking Adora all kinds of questions, which her sister answered to the best of her ability.
Oh boy, this was NOT good, not good at all. She could not believe anyone would actually be interested in the stupid thing, then again look at where she was. The look of her too was odd, seriously, what was she wearing? It was a dress, but not anything remotely modern; as far as Annabel could tell it was a mix of styles. The base look was vaguely old school Victorian but it had some gothic Lolita overtones about it in the sleeves, cuffs, and skirt, which came to just below the woman's knees and flared outwards in a series of ruffles. The cut of the dress itself was modest with the collar coming to the woman's neck and slightly puffed sleeves ending in lace on the cuffs. The whole dress was a mix of a vibrant rich blue intermingled with black, perhaps velvet or satin, she would have to get closer to see better. Simple black tights ended in a pair of old fashioned low heeled boots that came up to mid calf.
Even more surprising was the hat she was wearing. It was also vaguely Victorian but the thing had goggles, or glasses, or something; Annabel had NO idea what they could possibly be for. Oh, and breaking up the dress was a strange belt with even more weird things clipped to it. Now being a 'party girl', Annabel had once been to a 'Steampunk' party as a lark, so she knew what the style was, and she could swear this woman was trying to imitate it in a rather odd way.
As far as the woman herself, she looked to be a little shorter than Annabel herself, maybe about 5'2. It was hard to tell under that dress, but she looked somewhat stout, with a fair sized chest and and rear. Her legs weren't long and she had somewhat tanned skin, maybe ethnic? Thick dark curls of brown hair flowed from underneath her hat coming to just below her shoulders. Her face was pleasant enough with wide dark eyes, a squat nose and full lips, the former and latter done up in dark tones. She also wore a pair of spectacles that made her look a bit studious. The woman's whole look was one where she REALLY stood out in a crowd and seemed to be proud that she did. Well, whatever floats your boat honey, Ananbel thought.
Annabel stopped just before the display, curious to hear what they were saying.
Odd woman: "I can't believe you actually have this! And you say your family has had it for a while?"
Adora: (nods) "Yes, I'm not sure of the exact date it was acquired, but it's been in our library ever since I can remember."
OW: (reaches) "Oh, do you mind?" (Adora nods and the women opens the book) "Oh, these illustrations are wonderful. This writing is the same as I have seen in other Grimoire's, I actually have one you know."
Adora: (looks surprised) "Oh, is that so? Are you are looking to add to your collection then?"
OW: (Nods excitedly) If I can, that's why I came tonight, to see what might be here. Tell me, is it for sale?.......
At that point Annabel thought it was a good idea to butt in before this conversation went any further.
"Um, excuse me," she said waving to catch their attention, "Adora I'm back, what's going on here?"
The two women turned to look at her, somewhat annoyed that their conversation had been interrupted. Adora quickly recovered, "Oh, Annabel, finally. It seems we have someone interested in one of our books so I need you to watch the booth while I am dealing with this, just be your usual self and try to stall anyone with questions you can't handle."
Annabel tried to keep the panic out of her voice as she said, "Oh, really? How nice to see someone wants the things." She turned to the woman, "Hi, I'm Annabel, Adora's sister who's helping her tonight with this. So you're ACTUALLY interested in one of our books Miss...."
"Rhodes," the strangely dressed woman said cordially, "Arianna Rhodes; and yes as I was telling your sister, I can't believe you have this. It looks to be a great addition to my collection from what I can see." She turned to Adora, "do you mind if I continue looking at it Miss Ashcroft?"
"Not at all Miss Rhodes," Adora affirmed, "look as much as you like; and as for your earlier question before we got interrupted, yes, I would consider an offer if you were serious about buying it."
Annabel fretted internally; Oh, Adora, Noooo! Crap, crap, CRAP, this is NOT good! If she sells that book, Miss Rhodes is going to have a BIG surprise waiting for her when she goes to look for the stupid thing later. Annabel bit her lip in thought, was there ANY way to dissuade this woman from wanting the book? She kind of wished she could ACTUALLY talk to that stupid fairy right now, maybe the bug had an idea or two.
Thinking of Selene, a thought suddenly hit the troubled blonde. The fairy said that all the books Adora had wanted her to bring here were magical. If this woman was interested in the grimoire, would it be possible she could be interested in one of the OTHER books instead? Hmmmm, maybe it was possible to steer Miss Rhodes away from the bonded book to something that would NOT get Annabel herself into trouble. But this Arianna seemed awfully interested in that bonded book. Annabel wondered why, just what was in the thing to make it so appealing?
"Really?" Arianna said, her face growing excited. "You bet I'm serious, the more I look at this the more I think it's just what I've been looking for. Did you have a price in mind?"
Adora thought a moment, like she was running a few figures through her head, then spoke. "How does......"
"Now hold on sis," Annabel butted in once more. The look on her sister's face spoke volumes and told Annabel she was REALLY going to be in for it later when this was all over. But there was no helping it; there were bigger things to worry about right now than Adora's wrath.
"Annabel do you mind? WHY are you interrupting?" Adora tapped her shoe on the marbled floor with undisguised irritation. "Didn't I tell you to watch the booth for other people who might be interested?"
"Um, why Adora," Annabel said quickly as she pointed to Arianna, "when we got one RIGHT here. Miss Rhodes, did Adora tell you we have many other books very much like that one? I should know, I'm the one who fetched them from our library."
"Really?" Arianna said, her eyes going wide behind her spectacles. She turned to Adora, "is this true?"
"Well...." Adora looked at Annabel, then turned back to Arianna. "My sister is correct, I chose volumes that were similar styles. I was not aware though that she had ACTUALLY looked at them. My dear sister does not have a very good relationship with books."
"And yet she is here, showing them off to people," Arianna pointed out, saying that statement in a bit of confusion. "Isn't that kind of odd?"
"YES, THANK YOU”, Annabel said, enunciating every word. "See Sis, I am not the only one who thinks that."
"Eye candy dear, remember? Miss Rhodes, she is merely the attraction to get people over to our booth. Even among the intellectual kind, sex appeal sells and beauty is a powerful attractor."
Well, she's NOT wrong Damn it. Lousy sister, always right......
Arianna looked at Annabel then just shrugged. "I guess I can see that, I mean she IS very pretty and all. But some of us actually come because we LIKE, you know, books. No offense dear," directing that last statement to Annabel.
Annabel gave a shrug of her own, "none taken, I honestly would have been VERY surprised if I had been the reason you had some over to our little display. See Adora, someone actually came over for the books and NOT me."
Adora replied with a small sigh. "Yes Annabel, believe it or not, most of the people ARE here for the books and not you; consider yourself," she hesitated thinking of a word, "a bonus."
Annabel's lips broke into a smug smile. "A bonus, I like that, sounds like I'm special."
"And on that note....." Adora turned to Arianna who had been ignoring the exchange between the two sisters and was peering at the other volumes on display. "Since you got Miss Rhodes interested in those, just stand there, be quiet, and let me do my job."
Adora started to walk over to Arianna then turned back to Ananbel saying, "Oh, and look pretty." She then walked over to the other woman who immediately started asking more questions about the book she was currently looking at.
Annabel gave an annoyed sigh, "really?" she muttered. "Look....pretty? Wow sis, thanks a lot...."
"Well, it DOES seem to be what you do best", Selene whispered, "certainly better than anything ELSE you try to do."
"Will you shut it", Annabel hissed, "they might hear you."
"Fat chance that of that happening with all the chattering that Hyur is doing. Wow, and that outfit..... You know, looking like that, she could fit right in back in my world."
"Really?" Annabel looked surprised at that revelation. "People ACTUALLY dress like that where you are from?"
"Oh yes, she is actually kind of modest, some of the stuff people wear is WAY more....um...damn it, can't think of a good word, never mind." the fairy went quiet for a moment then piped up again a little louder. "OH, did you happen to see what she was wearing?"
"Will you shush! I swear bug, I WILL swat you if they hear you. And what? Yes, she is wearing that odd get up, what of it?"
"Not THAT", Selene corrected, "the broach on her dress. Annabel deary, I am sure that is an inducer. I wonder if she knows how to use it?"
"Your KIDDING?" Annabel looked downright shocked and she reached to touch her own induser, looking down at it. "Oh GOD, don't tell me she is going to do the SAME thing I did?....."
Continued: part 4
Oh, I wanted to put this here. I hope a certain someone is FINALLY satisfied she is in this. ;-)
And if you don't like it woman, TOUGH! ;p