A Foreign Notion


melissa_icon.gif nick_icon.gif

Scene Title A Foreign Notion
Synopsis Once again Melissa runs into Nick. This time she gets a bit of information out of him, and presents a foreign notion to him.
Date August 9, 2010

Birdy's Bar

Far from posh, Birdy's is Nick's kinda place. The Brooklyn bar doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside is packed, thanks to cheap drinks and decent service. The dim interior is decorated, wall and ceiling, with old metal road signs, license plates, and neon alcohol signs — Jagermeister, Absolute, Jose Cuervo, Corona, Guinness, Pabst, Budweiser, Coors, and more all fight the eye for attention in their glowing fluorescent hues. The music is loud rock, coming from an old fashioned jukebox currently playing the Stones' "Brown Sugar." It's a gritty sort of place, where no one puts on airs, and if a tourist comes in asking for a fancy microbrew, people are likely to laugh.

Nick is hanging out with some fellow dock workers, playing pool and apparently wiping the table with his mate — the solid balls are all still on the table minus the 2, while Nick is focusing on putting away his last striped to win the game.

Usually when Melissa goes out for a drink, she does to Tartarus. Why bother going anywhere else when she can go to the club she manages and get free drinks? The downside though, is that all too often she ends up working for that free drink, even on her days off. So today she's decided to hit an out of the way bar where she can just drink and relax.

She walks in wearing knee high boots, black fishnets, a red plaid skirt, and a sleeveless black shirt that covers her scars unless she moves her arm just so. Well, except for the scars on her arms themselves. She pauses a few feet inside the door to glance around, never having been to this bar before. She starts to head towards the bar to get a drink when she notices a familiar face, and one she'd just spoken of the day before to Abby. Well, well. Coincidence? She thinks not!

As she glances at the others playing pool, Melissa moves towards the table, coming up behind Nick, as though trying to sneak up on him so he can't run away before she gets close enough to speak. While he's bent over to take his shot, she bends down as well, to whisper to him, "We keep running into each other, it's gonna start looking like something's up."

Just as he's trying to shoot. The cue slips and the shot goes wide, dumping the white ball into the pocket instead of his last target. He slams the stick on the table and turns to glare at the woman who kept him from making his sweep of the table; meanwhile the group of guys all elbow one another and laugh. "Looks like York's got a girlfriend," one says to another; meanwhile the other player grins, clearly hoping to redeem himself and keep the twenty.

How fucking small is this city, that he has run into Amato now twice, and now Melissa? "Not my girlfriend," Nick says decisively, blue eyes narrowing as he leans against the table. "If I lose this game, you owe me a twenty, Goldilocks," he tells the woman, before turning back to survey the damage that Fred is doing to the game.

That's to say, not a lot. The man makes one shot, but misses the other.

When the shot totally misses, Melissa does her best not to smile, but she can't fully surpress the twitching of her lips. She does, however, glance towards the other man who spoke, brow arching, then looks back to Nick, nodding. "Sure thing, cutie." She takes a step away from him and leans against an adjacent table, arms folding over her arms while she watches.

Again the one who spoke gets another look, and Mel shakes her head in agreement with Nick. "He's right, you know. I'm not his girlfriend. I don't even know his name," she says, pouting cutely and letting her gaze slide back towards Nick. Clearly she's trying to prompt someone to use his name.

"Just call him asshole. We all do," Frank says, glaring as he watches Nick re-chalk his stick and take up his spot at the table, eyeing the difficult shot. Nick ignores him, and Melissa, as he surveys the table, apparently doing some geometry in his head as his eyes flit from one bank to the other and then to the corner. Difficult, but not impossible.

He leans, carefully arranging his stick — the placement of the ball means he's at an awkward place near a corner, and the foosball table behind him isn't helping. Taking his time, his eyes flick in the same triangular focusing that they did before — bank, bank, corner — from this new perspective, and then suddenly the stick shoots out, hitting the white ball into the striped 5, which ricochets off the table and to the other bank, before hitting his last ball into the pocket.

"I'll have that twenty, Mouth," he tells Frank, moving to put his stick on the rack nearby and grabbing his leather jacket from where it hangs on the foosball table.

"Well now, if I was going to stick with nicknames, no reason for me to call him anything but cutie," Melissa says to Frank, shrugging. Then she looks at Nick, and pushes away from the table to step close to him. "Can we talk? Won't ask any questions. Your secrets, whatever they are, are yours," she murmurs to him, making no move to touch him, but she does sound serious.

"His name's York," Frank says helpfully, as he hands Nick two tens, and Nick raises his eyes to the ceiling. Jesus. He shakes his head and heads to the bar, not answering Melissa though not trying to get away from her either, it would seem. There is beer to be had, and not at a personal expense to himself.

Leaning at the counter, he catches the bartender's eye. "Bass," he says simply, then shrugs and glances at Melissa. "Make it two," he adds, holding up two fingers. Apparently he'll buy her a drink, but he's not kind enough to ask her what she actually wants.

"York's a last name or a city, not a first name," Melissa says with a shrug to Frank, before she's following after Nick, and settling on a stool at the bar. She doesn't argue against his choice of drinks, not when she's not the one paying for it, and instead waits for the drinks to be set down and the bartender to slip off before she begins speaking.

"First off? Wanna say that I don't know what's up between you and priest boy, and it's not my business. Won't pry," Melissa begins, leaning an elbow on the bar. "Second? I don't wanna pry into your secrets either." She smiles faintly and shrugs. "Guess I'm just sayin' that you don't have anything to worry about when it comes to me. So no more running away, please?"

Picking up his pint, he takes a swallow before snorting at her words. "You're right, it's not your business," he says shortly, not looking at her, but staring straight ahead at the shelves of liquor bottles behind the bar, small sections of mirror visible behind them reflecting back their faces.

"I don't know that guy, or why he thinks he knows me, but he's pretty fucking stupid and got what he had coming to him, all right? He's lucky he's not dead. Someone else? If he grabbed them like that? He'd be bleeding out from a knife or gun wound, Goldie. He wasn't trying to help me, I can promise you that." He takes another swallow and shakes his head. "And don't flatter yourself. Little thing like you ain't gonna make me worry or run away. If I'm runnin', it's 'cause I have somewhere to get to."

"I don't know who he is either, but I think possibly breaking his jaw was a little extreme," Melissa says, shrugging. "And maybe he wasn't trying to help, I don't know. I've got a friend who vouches for him, though, so I'm inclined to think he was. But again, not my business, won't get into it. You wanna distrust him, go for it," she says, taking a sip of her drink.

Then she smiles. "And I'm not flattering myself, cutie. You ran the other day. And I'm tougher than I look." And then abruptly she offers a hand to shake. "I'm Melissa, by the way, unless you really dig on just callin' me Goldilocks."

He glances at her hand, then offers his own — knuckles scabbed where they split on Amato's jaw. "Nick York," he says, letting go of her hand quickly and picking up his beer again. "If that punch broke his jaw, he's been hit before. I'm not that strong. What do you know about him? All I know is he's fucking nosy as hell and needs to quit telling people how to act, especially in a place like fuckin' Staten. He's gonna get dead or worse, he keeps that shit up. He got a name?"

"He mentioned one once, at this meeting thing I went to, but I don't remember what it is and my friend wouldn't tell me," Melissa admits with a wry smile. "And maybe he is. New York is hardly a friendly place, even for priests. And that is the extent of what I know about him." Except that he's evolved, but she's not sharing that tidbit with someone she doesn't know.

"And Nick York, huh? Interesting name for a guy who ended up in New York." Her head tilts and she grins. "Where you from though? Your accent slipped through the other night. Was that British or something? Don't Brits say hell like that? Or maybe…uh…I dunno, Aussies?"

"What happened to not prying?" Nick says curtly. "No. I'm from here. Well, not New York, but Florida." That's what his identification says, anyway. "He's not a priest. He told me that much. I just assumed he was because he started talking about charity and shit, and you saw him, passing out religious literature. Donno what he is." Or how he knows Nick. Nick takes another swallow from his beer and turns to look at her more directly. "Where's your friend know him from? I wanna make sure I don't get sued or shit, you know? Need to avoid any summons or crap or phone calls from lawyers on his behalf. Help if I know his name."

That gets a laugh, shrug and impish grin. "I said I wouldn't pry into secrets. Is where you're really from a secret? Because then I won't be able to pry, no matter how much I want to," Melissa admits. "And I have no idea where she knows him from, but pretty sure he won't sue." Abby would've mentioned that, right? "Besides, if he wanted to sue you, he'd need to know your name, and he called you Ruskin, not York, so clearly he doesn't know jack."

"Is that what he said? I figured he was swearing at me in some other language," Nick improvises, lifting his beer to his lips again to take another swallow. "Called me raggazzo or somethin' the other day. Think that was Italian, but he sure is a pale fuck for an Italian."

He gives another shrug of his shoulder, throwing down one of the tens to pay for the two beers.

One more swallow finishes his beer, and he sets the empty glass on the bartop. He arches a brow at her. "I'm not really into talking about myself, Goldie. Don't take it personally, but if you're hoping to find out my whole life story, you best get used to disappointment," he adds, as he steps away from the bar.

"Pretty sure he said Ruskin," Melissa says, shrugging. When he tries to step away she reaches out to try to grab his arm, lightly, the grip gentle enough that he could easily pull free. "Look, Nick, I'm not wanting your life's story, no. But I do wanna know more about you. You're interesting. But I won't force myself on you. So…you decide you do wanna talk, or you're into dancing or anything like that, swing by this club called Tartarus, it's on the lower east side. Anyone there can point you to me if I'm there."

The hand on his arm makes him twitch slightly before he relaxes, his mind catching up to instinct — she isn't trying to hurt him — a split second after the reflex. "Dancing," he echoes, as if it were the most foreign notion in the world, that someone like him would ever go somewhere to dance. He shakes his head, but shrugs once as he gives a nod toward the door.

"I gotta get. Night shift," he says, but then perhaps a little more gently, "Thanks anyway."

With that, he pushes through the crowded bar to the exit.

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