A Walk On The Not-So-Wild Side


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title A Walk On The Not-So-Wild Side
Synopsis It's sad when "normal" is a treat worth its weight in gold.
Date June 4, 2010

Central Park

It's cloudy enough out that Elisabeth doesn't feel too guilty about meeting Richard out of doors. Generally she tries to catch up with him somewhere inside to keep the strain on his eyes to a minimum — sure, he can function outside and all, but making it a little easier is no skin off her nose so why not? But it's beautiful outside today and for the first time in ages she actually has a couple of hours to enjoy it. There are still some small patches of snow in culverts and places where the sun never touches — 20 feet doesn't just disappear overnight even when the weather turns — but the 70-degree temperatures will make those disappear pretty quickly at this point. Then it'll all be a bad dream… or not.

Sitting on a bench near the central fountain, Liz grabbed a seat that came open and is sitting there with a soda in her hand. She watches idly for the man who said he'd meet her for a quick lunch, blue eyes flickering over park patrons absently while she makes mental notes. It's habit to know who's around her. There is still a small amount of agoraphobia that strikes occasionally, but it's nearly gone these days. Just one more lingering minor effect.

An unhurried stroll carries Richard Cardinal into view as he heads along through the park along a walkway, an easy smile crooked up to his lips and his hands tucked in the pockets of his jacket—a bit heavy in this weather, but function over comfort, one supposes. "Hey, hot stuff," he drawls out as he walks nearer, "What's a pretty thing like you doing all alone on a day like this?"

Elisabeth's lips quirk into a welcoming smile and she chuckles softly. Something about that lazy drawl always makes her toes curl — maybe because it means they're not smack in the middle of a firefight or other forms of hell breaking loose. The elbow she's got casually propped on the back of the bench comes down and she shoves herself to her feet gracefully. The black pants and tucked-in black T-shirt she's wearing have a vaguely militaristic look to them, though it doesn't scream FRONTLINE overtly. It could just as easily be a style thing; her hair's only pinned in the front to keep it off her face.

"Hey yourself…. and see, I just kicked this guy to the curb, so I figured trawling the park for handsome men to amuse myself with would boost my spirits!" she teases mildly in return as she meets him in the middle of the sidewalk. "Wanna get a hot dog and talk dirty to me?" she invites with a wicked twinkle.

"What an unlucky guy… guess he'll have to go back to eating Chinese," Cardinal replies shamelessly as he steps over to meet her, easing into her personal space and leaning down a bit until his nose is nearly touching hers, "I'd love to."

"He is," Elisabeth agrees sagely, her chin tipping upward. "Kinda dumb too, for letting someone as sexy as me go." Her blonde brows waggle and she laughs up at him, closing the last bit of distance to plant a soft kiss on his mouth.

Cardinal's head tips down to return that kiss, ever so softly, his hands sliding up her shoulders as he murmurs quietly, "Hey. I resemble that remark, woman…" Amusement twitches his eyebrows, shades firmly in place of course,"…so where're these hot dogs?"

Her laughter is easy, her expression relaxed finally. It's been a while since she's been in such a good mood, not exactly naughty but definitely flirtatious. "Yes! Yes, you do," Elisabeth retorts with a smile. "C'mon, there's a cart back that way." Sliding her arm into his, she falls into step with him readily and doesn't seem in a hurry. "How'd it go with the real estate run?" she asks as they walk. "You said there was one place that had merit."

"It's a converted warehouse," Cardinal picks up the pitch immediately as he walks along, his arm through hers, his other hand gesturing as usual to punctuate his words and phrasing; a smile curving his lips, his manner relaxed and easy beside her. "Two floors, and a basement that we could use for more private business. A little damage from the weather, but not too much - and of course, real estate's dead cheap right now."

"Dead cheap is good," Elisabeth comments. "I've got the past six months' of paychecks put away, so I'd figure between me and Peyton we can cover the rent and utilities for at least a few months. To get us off the ground, anyway." She pushes out her lower lip in thought and adds, "I'd been kicking around the idea of asking Laura Morgan to give us an assist. If she's not interested in buying into a partnership, we might be able to hire her as an advisor for the business end of things until we get the hang of it. But… her ties to Zarek and Linderman worry me just a little. She lobbed that conversational gambit back at the two of you like a hand grenade, and now she knows what's up."

"She's a professional," Cardinal insists, "We won't have any problems with her. Do you know if Rebecca wants to fold her business in with ours? I know she's got her own investigating firm going…"

"Heh…. yeah. I'm pretty sure she's going to be willing if we offer her a stake in this company. If her office is anything to go by, business hasn't been good," Liz replies quietly. Her tone is thoughtful. "I can't tell if that's just because business in general's been bad or if it's something else. I know she's a damn good forensics tech, and I think she'll be an asset. I don't think she's probably got the finances to actually buy in, though. We'll have to decide how we want to handle that."

"I've got to talk to Alia, I know she's been doing some money-juggling," admits Richard as they walk along together, "She'd be an expert computer security tech, too, vital to the company's front image. I think we've actually got a pretty good team for the front aspect of it…"

Elisabeth has to laugh softly. "Ever think you'd be trying this for a living?" she asks in a tone of amused disbelief. "I honestly think we have a shot at it. If we put as much work into the legit business as we do the other stuff, I really do think the company will work out."

A faint chuckle, Cardinal's head shaking as he points out, "Just remember, this is a front business, lover. It's not like we're doing this as our real full job - hell, you'll probably just be an 'advisor' or something."

"Mmm," Elisabeth says mildly. "You should be careful about that thought — because in point of fact, it very well could be a lot more than a front." She looks up at him seriously. "It wouldn't hurt you not to burn that bridge." She nudges him with her shoulder, pointing toward the cart that's a little way ahead. "There. Hot dogs. See? I promised you gourmet." Where in the world can you get real hot dogs that are actually decent ones off the street? New York. Maybe Chicago. The old guy manning the stand sees them coming and is already starting to pull buns out.

Cardinal shakes his head slightly, noting, "I'm not burning that bridge, but it's not my number one priority, Liz. We have important work we need to be doing, you know…" Then they're nearing the cart, and he grins, "Well, good to see I'm not a cheap date."

Shrugging, Elisabeth retorts, "Sue me for having a little hope, okay?" She nudges him once more with her shoulder, shaking her head, and then tells the vendor, "One with everything but the onions, please." She throws the empty soda she's been carrying since the bench into a nearby trash can while he puts his order in.

"Ketchup and mustard, heavy on the 'kraut," Cardinal orders as he steps in to the vendor cart, adding, "And one've those cans of coke you've got in that ice box there." A smirk back to her, "Yeah, yeah."

The vendor is fast, and everything's hot (except the soda, obviously). After the hot dogs and drinks are handed out and money exchanges hands, Elisabeth grabs a stack of napkins and starts back down the path meandering aimlessly, speaking around her bite of the hot dog in her hands. "So I got a question for you… and you're welcome to just tell me you don't want to talk about it. My vision didn't really give anything useful except that I was in the middle of yet another riot. Did you have one?" Given that we know Joseph Sumter is also missing, she's pretty certain of the source and now assumes they were not dreams of any kind.

At the question, Cardinal takes another bite of his hot dog, silent for long moments as he walks along beside her through the park, pausing once as someone goes racinga cross the path chasing their labrador, who escaped the leash to go barking after some scent. "I did," he says quietly, "It doesn't matter, though, we'll be averting those events."

She's been his on-again, off-again lover for over a year now, more on than off. Elisabeth knows when something's eating at him. "Okay." It's a simple acknowledgement — she told him he didn't have to share it. She's suspected since the day after that he saw something bad, something that scared the shit out of him. Around another bite, one that sends her scrambling for a napkin as mustard almost dribbles on her shirt, she asks, "Do we have any ideas about how much warning we've been given on this one?" Not like the whole operation hasn't been acting on precog intel all along, so this isn't something new.

"November eighth," Cardinal murmurs against the hot dog, "This year. Plenty of time to adjust the timeline - matches up with some other predictions we got, too."

There's a nod and blue eyes skim the park. Elisabeth cracks a grin and nods toward an open grassy area where a bunch of college-aged kids are playing frisbee. "Ever done that?" It's a complete non-sequitor, but this wasn't supposed to be a lunch to cause upset or talk much business. Just a little time away from the grind. They get little enough of it.

"What," Cardinal asks as he looks over to the frisbee game, then back to her to ask deadpan, "Hit on college girls? Sure." He's trying not to grin.

It sparks a giggle and Liz has to raise a hand to keep from flashing the bite she just took at him, since she was chewing. "Considering how old you look some days, I wouldn't advise it," she taunts after she manages to swallow. "I have to tell you, getting blown up and shit hasn't been as kind as you'd like to believe." Tongue firmly entrenched in cheek.

"H-hey!" A furrowing of Richard's brow shows a hint of mock-anger, and he shoulders into her firmly, a smirk twitching to his lips as he observes, "Well, maybe this old man should just hit the road, then… all washed up and aged…"

"Well, you could," Elisabeth laughs as she gets nudged sideways on the path. "But you'd miss me." She winks.

"Probably," Cardinal rolls his eyes, "Must be gettin' crazy in my old age."

"That's definitely a problem," Elisabeth agrees with another sage nod, munching on the last of her hot dog. "I'd have to shoot you if you went nuts — I mean, considering what you know or think you know about the future, you couldn't be let loose, Richard. You'd be a danger to the entire timeline." She gives him a very serious look that she manages to hold for all of two seconds. And then she grins cheekily. "If I didn't give you shit once in a while, you'd start to think I was taking you for granted."

That serious look she gives him is returned for a few moments… but his doesn't break into a smile. "Could be right, there," Cardinal murmurs as he looks back over to the frisbee game, taking another bite of his dog, chewing and swallowing before balling up the napkin and using it to wipe his lips.

Tilting her head, uncertain what she said wrong but aware that something shifted in the conversation, Elisabeth wraps the last couple of bites of her hot dog in one of the napkins to toss it away. She plucks the napkin out of his hand to toss both in a nearby trashcan and then comes back to slide an arm around his waist. "C'mon, you," she cajoles softly. "I have like an hour before I have to go back. You can tell me about the warehouse or you can tell me about how things have been going while I've been tied up over in Red Hook or we can go find a frisbee to play with or you can find a place to kiss me silly. Any of the above options work just fine for me."

"The frisbee sounds good," Cardinal says, flashing over a quick grin as he pushes away whatever that dark moment was, brows raising a little, "But I get to stand with my back to the sun, or else you're cheating, woman."

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