"I wasn't planning on it! Well, the point is, it's malfunctioning terribly, and I really don't have the resources here. I just need to come home for-" Ezra was cut off by someone on the other end of the line, and for a few moments he waited and listened. "You're quite right. But it's only a two hour flight, one and a half if I really do go at it. I just need to come home, fix it, maybe chat a little, and then I can come back." Amy wondered what the translator had to fix. It must be something pretty urgent.
"No, Baruch, it's doing it as we speak, flickering as though I'm some sort of-" Cut off again, she assumed." No, that's not necessary. Well, he has his own work to be getting on with. I can make the flight, brother." Very odd name, that was. Baruch. And who actually called their brother brother these days, anyway?
"Yes. I am aware. The flicker is occasional." Ezra was staring at his own hand with a slight frown. Amy shook her head slightly, going back to her cataloguing. There was no need to be so nosey. The translator was a fairly odd fellow. He always wore a tweed suit, which Amy thought was quite unusual in its self, not to mention the ring that was often in his right hand, twirling between his fingers.
He wasn't unattractive, Amy supposed. He had dark, glossy, healthy-looking hair, and it came to curl slightly around his ears. Skin was darkly tanned, and also healthy looking, clear. Not really her type (but then, what man was?), but he wasn't ugly. At the moment, he had his spectacles perched on his head, making his dark eyes easy to see.
He was a translator, working on some old Arabic texts the library had gotten from somewhere or other. Amy had never met a translator before Ezra had come to the library a few months before, but she'd never thought they'd make it look so easy. He paged through the books with his right hand, eyes passing over the letters and writing out the English in a neat script with his left hand. It was as if he didn't need to think about it.
Ezra hung up the phone now, sighing slightly and taking a sip from his tea.
"You OK?" Amy asked.
Ezra chuckled slightly, giving her a small, thin smile. "My siblings can be quite irksome sometimes, I feel. Of course, I shall solider on." The librarian smiled back.
"How many siblings do you have?"
"Eleven." Ezra answered promptly. "Six sisters and five brothers. It can get to be quite the pandemonium when we're all together."
She laughed a little. "Your poor mother!"
The man smiled, fondly. "Yes, she's a poor thing, really. Especially with us milling about. Very intelligent, though, I'd say."
"Yeah? What's her name?" Amy asked, entering a new ISBN number into the system, followed by the author and title.
"Alexandria." Ezra answered easily, taking a sip of his tea and leaning back in his chair.
"That's a nice name." Amy said in a pleasant tone. "Where did you grow up?"
Ezra chuckled, and said, "Alexandria." Amy tilted her head, perplexed. "It's a city in Egypt. On the coast, actually, though I myself am not fond of the water."
"Oh." Amy nodded. "They speak Arabic there, then?"
"Yes. Arabic is our official language. Different dialects of Arabic are popular in the city. Then, Greek, Italian, French, and such, they're often spoken too. Immigrants bring different languages, and then there are the most popular foreign languages, like French, English and German." She nodded as he continued to speak, describing how life in the city was.
"You miss it?"
Ezra tilted his head, considering the question. "Yes." He said, finally. "But then, I miss it as I do Marseille, where I lived with my wife, and as I would miss Aberystwyth, if I left. When you live somewhere, for years, it tends to grow on you, does it not?" Amy heard a note of sadness in his tone.
"Your wife? Does she live with you here?" She asked carefully.
"No." The ring came out from nowhere, and Ezra twirled it in his fingers. "Irena died some years ago."
"Oh. I'm sorry."
"It was not you that killed her, Amy." Ezra said quietly. "She died in her sleep, without pain, at least." The translator gave a little sigh, and picked up his pen, going back to his work.
Amy watched him for a moment, and then looked to her own work.
The next day, Ezra was in as usual. They were chatting amiably enough about books over tea when something changed on the translator's face. Black scrawls of lettering marred the skin, which had lightened to a brownish yellow, on his face and his hands, and Amy tilted her head to the side as she stared at him.
"What is it, dear?" He asked, obviously confused at the way she'd stopped mid-sentence.
"Your- your face, it's-" Ezra frowned and glanced to the window to see his reflection, and promptly dropped his mug.
"Oh, dear." He said, the closest he ever seemed to come to cursing.
"My glamour's fallen." Ezra muttered, eyes still flickering over his reflection. "Miss Timmons, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to accompany me somewhere."
"Are you an alien or something?" She said, still staring. The black, inky writing seemed to move over his skin.
"No." He answered shortly. "Nothing so incredible. Come now, I need you to tell our dear superior that I've succumbed to an illness and that you're going to drive me home."
She stared up (for he was rather tall) at him. "Are you seri-"
"Miss Timmons, if you do not assist me in this matter it will not end well for me." He said clearly, with a pleading note in his voice.
They were in the back catalogue room, and Ezra moved to pick up his coat and his brief case, pulling the coat on and stiffening the collar so that it mostly hid his face.
"Okay." She nodded, electing to trust. She knew Ezra, she liked him. She could trust- whatever he was. She ran from the room quickly to speak to the library head, Bernie MacTaggart. She nodded. They were only an hour from closing time anyway, and if Ezra couldn't drive himself home...
"Miss Timmons, this way." He led her to his car and slid into the driver's seat, indicating for her to take the passenger side.
She swallowed, and did so, closing the door behind her. Leaning back and reaching onto the backseat, Ezra grasped at a hat and pulled it out. "I must admit," He said as he put it on his head. "I was rather expecting something like this, but my brother always thinks he knows best."
"Miss Timmons, my most humble apologies, but I'm afraid I must make a phone call." Amy bit her lip, and then nodded, going quiet.
Ezra dialled a number on his phone – a brown thing that didn't look like any mobile she'd seen before – and put it aside. It rang loudly as he pulled out of the parking space, until someone answered on the other side.
"Émile." Ezra said, sounding somewhat surprised. "Where's Baruch?"
The man on the other end of the line laughed. "He fell down the stairs."
"Oh, for goodness' sake, Émile!" The translator growled. Amy watched his face, seeing the characters on his face twist and morph into new ones. He gave a little sigh.
"My glamour's fallen entirely."
Émile sobered. "You- Oh. Oh, I sho- um." He stammered a bit. "Are you gonna fly over?"
"I can't. Émile, this is Amelia."
"Uh, hi." She said, voice tentative.
"Got yourself a lady friend?" Émile sounded overjoyed at the prospect.
"No." Ezra spat. "I need you to come over with a stone or something, ask Himeros or-"
"I got it. Don't worry."
"Thank you, brother."
"S'no worry. Head over to your apartment, and we'll be set and jazzy."
The phone went off with a small click. "Miss Timmons, I would ask that you accompany me to my apartment. Now that you have a- ah – a glimpse, as it were, I think it best that you see all."
Amelia had always been curious. Always had a need to explore and read further, work her way through all the information she could digest and just take it in.
"Okay." She murmured, and nodded. "Okay."