A Bad Penny


jaiden_icon.gif remi_icon.gif

Scene Title A Bad Penny
Synopsis Two old friends find each other completely by coincidence.
Date January 26, 2011

The Corinthian

It's snowing out today. The weather is cold and biting, and snow is tumbling to the ground. Really, it's quite peaceful; cold, yes, but also very peaceful, with chunks of white drifting down from the sky. Some people would be out in this, marveling at it from up close. But really, it is way too cold for that. Smart people are enjoying the snow from inside.

Remi is one of those smart people. She is standing in the rose garden, closer to the windows of the fairly warm greenhouse. Snow layers itself on the glass, betraying cold weather outside. But it's nice and warm in here, definitely. Which is why Remi has chosen to come here to watch the snow fall. The French Ballerina is dressed in her typical finery; a pair of tight black jeans, covered up by a pair of leather boots that ends just below her knee. Over this is a simple white shirt, covered by a long-sleeved gray open-front cardigan with black and white stripes.

Quietly, the woman reaches out a pale hand, gently running her fingers over the petals of the flower. This place is pleasant. Right now, it is empty, which provides a good place for her to rest her mind. And so she is, with no defenses to keep her mind from honing in on those who enter the 50 foot diameter that is covered by her ability.

Here's hoping a large tour group doesn't decide to barge in.

It is snowing today, and the hydrokinetic mechanic, instead of being arm-deep in some kind of Jaguar or pressing bearings into a front control arm with a press that wouldn't look out of place in a 1940's machine shop, has instead planned to enjoy the springlike weather inside the greenhouse. The outer door opens, sending a little puff of cool air into the alcove leading to the greenhouse, Jaiden entering and hanging his jacket up on one of the provided pegs before stepping into the greenhouse proper, his camera at the ready.

This is one of his little refuges in the city. For a man used to warm weather and tropical situations, near below zero temperatures and snow do come as a shock, even though he's been in New York for several years - up to and including the giant cold snap that shut down the city. Still, it has taught him the value of bundling up, using layers, and keeping yourself warm and dry when circumstances otherwise would not allow it or would make it very difficult.

The Greenhouse, as was stated earlier, is quiet, with a bit of shrubbery blocking view of the entrance from where Remi stands. Hiding Jaiden rather well, in fact. He stands there, in the warmth of the greenhouse and takes a deep, relaxing breath, his eyes closing for a moment, the man lifting on his toes to stretch before flopping back down to the balls of his feet, looking around. As far as he can see, up to the amazingly clear glass of the greenhouse showing the wintery scene outside, lie flowers, grasses, trees and shrubs, crowding each other in some way, each vying for warmth, space, light, or heat…usually a combination of them all. Lifting his camera, he takes a picture of an orchid near the door, his camera making a soft click.

Remi, so close to the back of the greenhouse as she is, doesn't even suspect that she isn't alone. Not yet, at least. She smells that rose she was touching moments ago, before she takes a step back from the rosebush, smiling faintly up at the scene outside. It's a remarkable contrast, really, the warm, spring-like weather in here, with the backdrop of the cold snow.

She has no reason to suspect that a person from her past, a very important person from her past, is approaching her. No reason to suspect that she's about to be brought back to a very scary time for her, in more than a few ways. It's been more than three years since she last saw the fellow who is unwittingly approaching her.

She closes her eyes, taking a deep breath, inhaling the scent of the earth and the plants and the flowers. It's relaxing. A little piece of delightful summer vacation, a haven from the cold outside.

All the while, Jaiden approaches closer to where she stands. 90 feet. 60 feet. 50 feet. It's about at this time she might get inklings that someone else is around. Small sub-surface thoughts - mostly a soft melody hummed without really any rhyme or reason to it combined with thoughts about the beauty of a certain flower or how the bark on this tree reminds him of old paper that's been in the sun too long, curling and wrinkling on itself - can be picked up by that point, and if Remi looks, she'll see Jaiden crouching, zooming in on a caterpillar that is quite assuredly confused about the season, munching on a leaf quite nonchalantly.

Jaiden is dressed in clothes to keep him warm. What can be best described as thick canvas overalls lined with down over jeans and boots, a long-sleeved flannel shirt that wouldn't look out of place on a logger, and a hat that just screams 'Australia' thanks to the fact that it's an akubra hat, the brim bent up on the right side in the style that was popular when he got it.

Oh, mother of— can't she ever get a private moment? It seems like she's going to have to go to her cabin in Montauk if she wants some private time to rest without hearing the inner musings of people. And that's a rather horrible drive these days, what with all of the snow. She slumps a little, frowning out her anger at the rosebush in front of her.

But…that voice sounds familiar. Like she knows this person. Slowly, she turns, brows arching up high on her head to see that fellow, wearing that 'Australia' hat, carrying a camera. No…it couldn't be him. The chances of her meeting up with her ex boyfriend who disappeared to who knows where after she drove him away are slim to none, right? I mean, she broke up with him in France. He's from Australia.

For a long moment, she can only watch the man, listen to his thoughts in stunned silence.

He's from Australia, but they met in France. He had said, many times during their whirlwind romance, that he didn't know the language very well and that he'd gone to the states a few times, so chances are better than not that this might be the man that she's thinking about. Jaiden's thoughts, ambling as they are, do have that same gentle twang of his accent - apparently you can't even hide that in mental thought without some kind of thought - as he moves from the orchids to the leaves of a tree arching high against the glass, some condensation raining down on him as he shakes the tree, the man smiling a little. He didn't see another jacket here, so he's alone….


The water stops falling and hovers around him, coalescing into a gleaming ball that he rolls around in his hand for a moment, thinking, before placing it mid-air where it hovers…allowing him to aim his camera at it and take a photo through it - an instant refractive lens. And as the camera clicks, his power fades, the water splashing to the path below and soaking into the gravel. Jaiden turns with his camera, the gravel crunching beneath his feet, and starts toward the front again, out of range, apparently not noticing the woman standing fifty feet from him….

That…is definitely Jaiden. She remembers those looks of his, the rugged sense of style he sports. And above all, she remembers those thoughts. Those were some of the first thoughts she heard when she first woke up after her collapse during the applause to La Bayadere. Those were some of the first thoughts she made an effort to drive away.

Three Years Ago…

"Get out. Just…get out. I can't 'andle this— I can't 'andle 'earing everything that you think when you're with me!" Remi's makeup is smeared from tears, mascara streaming down her cheeks in dark grey smudgtes, as she points toward the door, staring the man down with a frown set deep into her young features. "I can't turn this off, so I 'ave to…you 'ave to leave, Jaiden. Just…go." Then, she storms back into her bedroom, slamming the door behind herself.

She never looked back to see how he handled it.

At first, all that Soleil Remi Davignon can manage is a slightly choked squeaking noise, hidden by obscurity and inattention. At first, all she can do is stare as he uses his ability to assist with his photography, clasping her hands to her chest as if there is some hidden battle going on between her heart and her brain.

"Jaiden?" She asks quietly, a frown on her face as she steps just a little closer to him. "Is zat you?"

He didn't handle it well, all things considered.

After Remi collapsed on stage, Jaiden was waiting for her in the dressing room. He could see her distress but couldn't understand what she was going through. She couldn't understand the virulence that her words held - the demands that he leave and never return. It was all too easy, in fact, to get on the plane as scheduled and fly back, turn in his story about Paris and Ballet and the Davignon dancing girl while leaving out the rest of the story - the steamier parts that did not deserve any more than an audience for two. It was an impulsive thing, to go, but he did…and that was so many yeass ago. So many things have happened since then.

Her voice is something he never thought he'd hear again. Something totally unexpected and shocking. At her words his head jerks up slightly, then turns, just enough, for an eye to gaze cooly across his shoulder to where she stands, widening a little when he sees that, yes, is is Remi standing there. "Hey there, Remi. It's been a while."

Remi stands there, watching the man who was there for her when she needed it, only to be driven away when things went bad for her. She really did think that she would never see him or hear of him again. That summer spent with him in France was perfect, he was perfect, and she drove him away. Told him to never come back. She didn't need to see his reaction…because she could already hear it in her mind when he stood there, staring at the door between him and her.

Slowly, gracefully, she draws forward, her eyes wide as she sees him, hears the verbal confirmation that it is indeed him. And she's quiet for a long moment. She still doesn't have her ability under control; in fact, her mind is focused on his, a definite change from the her he knew three years ago. Her ability has become a crutch, at times.

"Jaiden— it's really you?" She asks this with a disbelieving look on her face, drawing still closer. "I…I never expected to see you again." Soon, she's almost close enough that she could reach out to touch him if she wanted to, though she keeps her distance.

As she approaches, Jaiden turns, straightening from his crouch. It's all there as she remembers it - the camera, the hat, the grin bubbling just beneath the surface, ready to pop out with a simple quirk of his cheek. His exterior is as calm as a pond's surface on a winter's day - mirror smooth with nary a ripple, but his thoughts? Chaotic would be putting it mildly, to say the least.

Three Years Ago…

Pounding on the door, first worriedly, then insistently, then not at all. "Remi…please." Those were the last words he said before she closed the door on him, her face streaked with mascara from her tears. Makeup for a prima ballerina doesn't hold up well to torrents of tears…that's one thing Jaiden learned from that night.

"Yeah…" He agrees with a small nod, glancing down at her feet before those olive eyes of his fix on somewhere 'round her forehead and chin. "it's amazing how people turn up after the longest time. I'm like a bad penny, I guess."

Remi stares silently as Jaiden raises up, her eyes following his. That hint of a grin, the way his face moves when he talks, everything…it's just the same as she left behind the door, though with a few little lines added by the time spent apart. All of it is the same, and for a while, Remi can only stare, almost frozen in place by the sudden encounter.

After a moment, she reaches out, placing one hand against his chest, as if to be sure that he is, indeed, real. For a moment, her hand remains there, feeling his pulse beneath her fingertips. Rather soothing, really, feeling proof that she isn't hallucinating. She stares up at him like this in silence for a long moment; then, she pulls back, clasping her hands in front of her.

"Oui…amazing." She sounds slightly distracted, both by her own memories, and by his thoughts. After a moment, she closes her eyes, shaking her head slowly. "I— I'm sorry."

Turmoil beneath Jaiden's mirror-still surface. worry, wonder, questions all left unasked. She never told him why he needed to go away, only that he did, and now she's back standing just a few feet from him again? Those days of merriment, those nights of passion…those were things Jaiden remembered with fondness. His time with Remi, a brief three month affair in the summer, taught him many things about himself, about others, about how to treat one you care for, and how not to end a relationship which, in his opinion, is what they had at the time.

His chest rises and falls slowly, his heart beating off measures of time as it always should, his eyes closed as he looks down at her miniscule hand on his chest. She's still tiny compared to him - only 5'7 to his 6'ish - and as fragile as he remembered her - almost like a china doll dressed in grown-up clothes. His arms cross across his chest at her apology, a slight nod, the brim of his hat hiding his eyes for a moment. "That hurt, you know, Remi…" his voice is soft, barely heard over the brushing of snow against the glass outside the greenhouse. "Being pushed away like that. I didn't even know why. If I had thought more, I would have tried to stay, but I just left…and you just left because you told me to."

Quietly, Remi adjusts her cardigan, pulling it tighter around herself fr a moment, before she relaxes her hands at her sides. She's still that waifish little thing she was three years ago, long and lean as she's always been. His words bite her, just as much as her personal guilt over it bites her. Blue eyes turn down toward the ground, her eyes hooding slightly.

Then, she reaches out, her eyes focusing on his hand. Her hand comes to rest gently over his, her hands soft and delicate as she looks. For a moment, nothing really happens, save for the woman closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. "It wasn't because of you."

Then, Jaiden will feel like he's not alone in his mind. Remi focuses her ability, quite literally joining Jaiden in his mind for a moment. It was because of my ability.

Then, her hand withdraws once more, her blue eyes opening to look up into Jaiden's to gauge his reaction.

Jaiden is not normally cruel, but even in that short time she was with him, she would know that his words, while sometimes sweet, can also be very direct and to the point. It's the newspaper writer in him - get the story out in as colorful language as possible, but keep it under three column inches, so choose your words well. It's what he felt. It's what he needed to say. If she knew how much her going away hurt him back then, she might have stayed, even with her power.

His eyes widen as a presence pushes itself into his head, the man taking a step back as her voice echoes inside of his head, one hand lifting to tap his temple, his hat tilting rakishly to the side as he does so. "I….holy hell, Remi…." It's not like this makes it okay, but it does make it a little more understandable. "I could have helped you, you know."

He lifts his hand and one of those jewels of water emerge, twinkling,almost, twirling on his palm before melting away with a puff of breath. "I've had an ability since before you met me."

She takes a step back, running a hand through her fiery red hair with a small frown on her face. "No— you couldn't. I…I needed to be alone back zen." She turns her eyes to the ground. "It was something zat I had to do alone, oui?" She turns blue eyes up to Jaiden. "I can't say I'm sorry enough— and I can't explain as well as I would like to."

She turns, moving over to a bench and seating herself, crossing her legs at the ankle. "All I can say is zat I'm sorry— I'm sorry zat you 'ad to meet me during zat time of my life."

"I'm not."

Jaiden's words are quiet, his hands going into the pockets of his overalls, closing and opening, making his waist look like it's boiling for a second. "I'm not sorry that I met you then. Yeah…it was hard, but…we did have a lot of good times."

Remi turns her gaze up to Jaiden, her head tilting toward him. "There were some pretty good times." She offers a tiny smile up to him, before her eyes turn back to the ground. "I 'ave a much better grip on it, now." Saying that, she suddenly cuts herself from her ability, and Jaiden's whirling mind is reduced to a dull whisper in the back of her mind, easier to ignore than it once was.

Then, she pulls a card from her purse, holding it up for Jaiden with slightly raised brows. "You…should call me, oui?"

His right hand comes out of his pocket and takes the card, looking at it closely for a moment, flipping it to look at the back in an automatic movement. Sometimes he gets to see numbers written on the back, but this time all he sees is a bit of wear from being carried around in her wallet for a few months or so. He tucks it away in his breast pocket and nods. "I just might do that so we can catch up on old times." It seems he's interested in at least rekindling a friendship.

Standing, Remi offers a faint smile to Jaiden. "Zat would be good. Maybe— maybe I will 'ave a better explanation for you next we meet, oui?" She reaches out, her pale hand cupping his cheek briefly in an affectionate gesture. "I will collect my thoughts for next time we call." Then, her hand slips off of his cheek, and she's stepping past him, making her way toward the exit.

She'd love to stay. She'd love to catch up with him. She'd love to spend time with him. But first, she needs to gather her thoughts. This meeting caught her off guard; she needs the time to reflect on the matter before she can confidently speak to him about it.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License