A Smaller Scale


delia_icon.gif nick2_icon.gif

Scene Title A Smaller Scale
Synopsis While the world around them seems to be going so fast, Nick and Delia are just trying to get a handle on simple conversation.
Date July 23, 2011

South Street Seaport

With picking Delia up at her residence out of the question (even if he had a pass into E-ville, he wouldn't go to Logan's front door), he waits instead at a bench at the South Street Seaport. Sunglasses hide his eyes, the small remaining red sploches now only noticeable close up, and beside him on the seat is a bouquet of flowers — a cheery bouquet of Gerber daisies in bright colors, tied with a fuchsia ribbon.

He taps his fingers nervously on his kneecap, turning his head slightly now and then when he gets a glimpse of red hair, though it's never the right shade nor length nor attached to the right person.

When Delia's hand comes to rest on the pipe rail at the top of the staircase, she spots Nick almost immediately. He's not facing the water, like so many of the other people sitting on other benches, so it makes it a little hard to sneak up on him. Even he's not that bad a spy. Not trusting her agility on the steps, due to the clunky cuff, she takes them a little slower than the rest of the foot traffic. Still, she's a little taller than the average woman, so she's not all that difficult to see.

The jersey cardigan she has hanging loosely over her shoulders protects her pale skin from the sun a little better than the sundress she wears. It's her favorite one, old and weathered, and there's a pale green stain along the bottom hem that seems to have resisted many washings. Flat, strappy sandals, give her the appearance of bare feet, save for the leather ring around one toe and the strap above her heel. Amazingly, she doesn't trip when she skips toward her target on the bench.

"Nick!" The exhuberant call from only a few feet announces her presence, just in case he didn't see her, it wouldn't be good to stop his heart now that he's on the mend. Her red curls bounce when she hops to a stop directly in front of him and smiles widely. "Can I sit with you?"

When he hears his name, Nick looks up, lips curving from their usual somber expression into a small smile. He stands and brushes his hands off on his pant legs before reaching around her waist to tug her a little closer into him.

"Of course," he says, then lowers his head to brush her lips lightly and shyly with his.

He turns away to pick up the flowers to clear her seat, gesturing to the bench and then offering the flowers a moment later. He nods to the storefronts and restaurants. "You grew up around here, so it's probably nothing, but I guess it's supposed to be something fun to do in New York…" the words almost lilt into a question.

Her cheeks flush a pale pink and Delia can't help but give a toothy smile when he bends to give her the greeting. It lingers and even brightens a little when she's presented with the daisies (her new favorite). "Y-you didn't have to get me anything. I forgot to get you something…" She didn't forget as much as just didn't think to do it in the first place. "You'll just have to make due with me instead of presents."

She doesn't refuse his gift, however. She takes them and cradles them in one arm while smoothing her hand down his wrist and palm to lace her free hand with his. Twisting into the seat, she tugs on his hand, urging him to sit alongside her. "Shopping's always really fun when you have money," which she doesn't have. Instead, she points out to the water. "We can watch the garbage in the water stick to boats. It's kind of like cloud watching… on a smaller scale."

Nick laughs and shakes his head as he sits — he's a little healthier looking than the last she saw him, with his skin no longer ghostly pale. "You don't have to get me anything. And just seein' you's enough."

He looks toward the shops and then to the water, a soft huff of a laugh in response to her words. "You're such a romantic. And if you wanna shop, we can shop. I have money."

He pauses, reaching up to pull of his sunglasses so she can see his eyes. "How are you?" he asks, in a way that asks for an honest answer, rather than just the rote response of 'fine.'

"We can shop for you, if you want. I don't need anything," she says lightly plucking one of the bright pink gerberas from the bouquet and tucking it behind her ear. There's a small smile on her lips, an attempt to be coy instead of answering but she can't hold it for very long.

"Not contageous," she murmurs as she stares at their hands. Slowly, she lifts her eyes to meet his and bites her lower lip before continuing, "I just found out earlier today." From her perspective, there isn't much more to say. How she is, summed up in two words.

He takes her hand and squeezes it. "Let's walk," he suggests, pushing off his boots to stand, tugging her hand. "I wasn't much worried about you being contagious."

He begins to move along the boardwalk, fingers entwining with hers as they pass by merchant kiosks and tourists taking photos of themselves with the Brooklyn bridge behind them. "Things are okay, still? Where you're at?" He watches the ground as they walk, though he chances peeks at her through the corner of his eyes now and then.

"Yeah, they're okay," she agrees, her voice is quiet compared to the din of the crowds around them. Leaning against Nick's arm, Delia eyes streetside merchandise like a native, rather than stopping to looks at everything like one of the tourists. "Tania's still gone." Just by the way the young woman's voice takes a mournful tone, it's clear that she misses her housemate.

"Can we talk about something else though?" She tilts her head to look up at him and gives him a hopeful smile. "I mean, we're together right now and I don't want to waste the time talkng about— " Things. "I mean, they just haven't changed is all. Even without the Martells to take care of, I leave as quickly as I can every day and go back as late as possible."

The young man nods, still staring more at his feet rather than at her, and his jaw twitches a few times as if he means to speak, but can't quite will the words out. One hand reaches up to rake through his shaggy hair — if he were still smoking, he'd be reaching for his cigarettes right about … now.

Instead he laughs and looks up at the sky, squinting into the sun for a moment. "Here's the thing, Czerwony," he murmurs. "The kinda girls I saw in the past, we never really made small chat, and you and me, what we have in common is all this rubbish gone wrong in the world or people who don't really exist yet and other things what ain't good conversation for a date. You got more experience than I do in this, I think, Del, so help me out. What do we talk about?"

More experience, the words cause Delia's eyes to widen as she darts a quick glance in his direction. Her mouth hangs open for a moment, as if she's about to answer, instead she lifts her shoulder in a shrug. "I already suggested the garbage watching," it's a little joke, the crinkles at the corners of her eyes say so. "There was a market yesterday and Delilah was selling these cookies that are called jammie dodgers. I guess they're cookies with jam in them… I've never tried them before."

She pauses the conversation for a moment to stop and actually look at a blanket laid out on the boardwalk with a bunch of handcrafted bracelets and necklaces laid out on it. "Do you like cookies? Doctor Price was just raving about them, so I guess they're good."

Cookies. And Dr. Price. Nick's fingers tap at his pocket — as if to find the cigarettes he no longer carries — and his jaw twitches for a moment as he stares past the boardwalk to the busy water way beyond.

One shoulder lifts in a shrug. "They're like shortbread biscuits — cookies, like you said. Not like you Yanks' bread biscuits. Little cookie sandwiches with jam. They're all right, I guess." He laughs a little self-consciously. "Foodwise, I'm not too picky. We were pretty poor growing up, so beggars can't be choosers, I guess."

A few more steps go by before he finally manages to ask, as neutrally as possible: "Did you know the doctor from when you were still living with your dad?"

"N-no, not really, I met her last summer the first time when I was at the bookstore. Then after we moved to Gun Hill, Eileen asked me to keep her clinic running until they found a doctor for it." There's a small pause before Delia gives Nick a sardonic smile and lowers her head to look at the sidewalk in front of her. "They didn't find a doctor."

Which isn't really the point.

"Anyway… I sort of knew of her before I knew who she was, you know? Just the name and that she had a cat." She stops and tugs Nick toward the rail to look out at the water instead of walking any more. Resting with her back against the heavy pipes, she gazes at the hollow of his throat instead of up at his face or down at his chest. "I know people don't like her very much. If they did, they would talk about her, you know? Instead of never saying anything."

"Most of the time when a lot of people don't like someone, it's for a good reason," Nick says in a quiet voice, but he smiles and bends to kiss her cheek. "Not counting bigotry and racism and shit like that of course," he amends, reaching to tuck a strand of red hair behind one ear.

"Where did you see her?" he asks, again, trying to sound conversational. "She move offices?"

"Usually," she agrees, unlacing her fingers from his and lifts them to trace the outline of the medallion under his shirt. "But it's hard to get a whole picture of someone's character when they've already made a good impression, you know? Maybe it's just me… I just… I don't know." Delia pauses then, the thought occuring to her that they're not just talking about Odessa anymore but she doesn't voice it.

Nick's attempts to keep his line of questioning above suspicion seem to work when she shakes her head, loosening the strands that he just tucked away. "No, she lives in Eltingville. I sort of remet her when she came to visit the house one day. Then she came to visit me at Sai— " She stops suddenly and takes in a short breath to think, carefully rewording her answer. "She came to visit me at work."

Nick rests one hand on the railing on either side of Delia's waist. One brow quirks up at the word Eltingville. "She lives there?" he asks, clearly bemused by that news.

The question is followed by another, more likely to be an awkward one, though he doesn't know it. "I don't think you told me what your job is. If you did, I don't remember." Another half smile is given, and one hand lifts to loop around at his temple, blaming the lapses in his memory on too many high-grade fevers.

A hot blush creeps across Delia's features but she lifts her chin defiantly, if not a little proudly. "I didn't tell you, you were sick when I got the job and there were other things going on." The hand on his shirt lifts and she waves it nonchalantly, dismissing imagined worries before they form. "I do laundry, for the girls at St. Clare's." Whether or not the brothel is known outside the fence around her little community is unknown to her but she doesn't attempt to guess at it.

Tilting her head just slightly to the side, the redhead quirks a brow as she veers back to the topic of the doctor. "Yeah, you didn't know?" Scolding herself with a tick of her tongue against teeth, she rolls her eyes to make light of her blunder. "I guess not, I mean, she said you guys knew each other but she said work keeps you apart too… I just assumed— again— "

He doesn't react but to give a smile at her pride at the job — apparently he either doesn't know or doesn't care that she's working at a brothel. More likely doesn't know. When she returns to Odessa, Nick's eyes slide to the side, and he shrugs.

"I hadn't seen her for a long time. She probably thought I was away at work since mine can be unpredictable," he murmurs, pulling away from the railing and tugging her hand to follow again.

"Hungry?" may or may not be a leap for a subject change… he might just be hungry, himself.

"Starving~" Delia sings in answer, it's hard to be offkey with just one word and no musical accompaniment so she manages to sound not horrible. Her step has a little skip to it, making her hair bounce with each one. It gives her a lighter and bubblier demeanor than him, at least at first glance. "I don't suppose we're going for Happy Meals, are we?" It's another thing they don't have in common, her love for fast food cheeseburgers.

The flowers are held down at her side, she's careful to keep them from being crushed by running into anyone. It may be all to his credit that they don't, since she's trusting his lead and sidewalk navigational prowess to keep the bouquet in tact.

He's busy glaring at a couple whispering and eying her anklet for a moment, but then Nick turns to smirk at her request. "They don't have one here. Not posh enough. But I'm sure there's one close enough to walk… Whatever makes you happy, Del."

In his head, Benji's words echo: It doesn't take much.

Delia's not completely oblivious to the whispers or stares of strangers when she walks by. The first weeks with her new accessory were spent trying to hide it, she still does at times. Today it's obvious that she wanted to be a little dressier, with or without it. Still, it doesn't stop her hackles from being raised and her mood taking a violent downswing when she follows Nick's gaze to the strangers. Clenching her jaw tightly, she grips his hand a little harder, perhaps needing the anchor to keep from verbally launching into the pair.

The quick glance she manages to meet Nick with is blurred by tears forming along her lower lids. Just as fast, they're blinked away and she hangs her head to glare at the sidewalk. "We should maybe go somewhere these aren't— " she starts in a mumble but stops with a small shake of her head. There's nowhere except Eltingville.

"We'll go wherever you want," Nick repeats, stopping and stepping in front of Delia, taking both her hands, and knocking his forehead lightly into hers. Glancing over her shoulder at the muttering couple, he narrows his eyes before dipping his head to kiss Delia — not the shy brush of lips that he gave her at the bench, but a longer, lingering sort meant to send a signal.

Keeping his head low, he breaks from the kiss to whisper, "Screw 'em, Delia. What the world thinks of you isn't important. They don't know your heart, and you didn't do anything wrong to have that thing put on you. Don't you dare feel ashamed, or you get no bloody cheeseburgers today." Hopefully at least the last bit will earn him a smile.

Delia's heart practically leaps into her throat, her eyelids flutter shut, and whoever the message is meant for (whether for her or the strangers) it takes root in her. When Nick pulls back, her lips follow his for a fraction of an inch before she slowly opens her eyes again to give him a rather dumbstruck expression.

"Uh— huh?" She's supposed to be ashamed of the anklet and stay sullen and moody but Nick's solution seems to have worked better than hypnosis or mind tricks. "Oh.." At least for a little while. Until she looks down and sees the thick cuff and remembers what brought all of this on. This time it doesn't affect her in the same way. This time, she gives him the desired silly grin and quips back, "But Nick, I don't like them rare."

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