All the Answers


alec_icon.gif tallie_icon.gif

Scene Title All the Answers
Synopsis Alec and Tallie meet a second time, with Alec deciding to lecture Tallie on what he assumes is a drug habit and poor life choices.
Date February 8, 2009

Piccoli's Delicatessen

Everything about Piccoli's is welcoming. There's a large, cheerful neon sign mounted on the roof, the interior is brightly lit and spotlessly clean, and the old-fashioned decor is more reminiscent of mother's kitchen than a successful business. Since the doors opened in 1946, Piccoli's has been best known for pastrami, hot dogs, corned beef, and salami. The wait can sometimes be a little long, but the prices are reasonable and the food is always worth it..

The streets are getting quiet in the city that used to never sleep — curfews and police states do that, even to the Big Apple. The door to the deli opens, and in lumbers Tallie, pushing her mountain bike in. She lugs it over to the hallway and raises a hand to the men behind the counter. "The usual, Tallie?" Al the owner calls, and she nods. There's something different about her today, her eyes seem brighter, her cheeks rosier, her step almost bouncy. She heads to the counter rather than slumping in a table this time, and waits for her order of sandwich and potato salad, orange juice and a cup of ice. Today, she pulls out a bill to pay with and there's an argument in low voices with Al, who apparently doesn't want to take her money.

Alec is sitting at the same table, eating the same chili dog, pouring over what appears to be more documents. He's starting to become a fixture in this place. He makes a little unhappy sound and sighs, marking more at the paper. He apparently, has lost track of time, what with curfew rapidly approaching.

Tallie apparently loses the battle and sighs, putting her bill back in her pocket before taking the tray of food and heading back to her own table near Alec's. She nods to him. "What's wrong, Omega?" she asks, nodding toward his documents. "The bridge not cooperating?" A closer inspection of Tallie will reveal eyes just a touch too constricted for the ambient light. Her knees bounce under the table in a steady but frenetic pace.

Alec eyes her for a moment and smiles, "Nope." he points. No longer a bridge, now it's a structure, old style architecture too, "Done with my work on the bridge for now, now I just have to wait for the teams I sent to investigate to get back. Now I'm working on the library, which luckily is a great deal stone and not steel. Holds less radiation. Sadly, I feel it may be a lost cause none the less. Micro fractures are being found in the support columns." he eyes her, "And how are you?" his eyes suggest he disapproves of something.

She tilts her head and looks at the blueprints this time. "Just save the lions. They're the best part. And of course, the books," she adds. "It'd be awful if all those books and the art and the documents inside got ruined, if they're not already." She opens her bottle of orange juice and begins to pour the juice into the cup of ice. "I'm fine, thanks," she says, though her hand is a bit tremulous and she ends up spilling a bit of juice on the table. She frowns and reaches for a napkin from the dispenser and sops up the orange sticky fluid. "It's warmer today… practically spring."

Alec eyes her for a moment longer, "Not my place but I'm gonna say it anyway, you should stay away from that stuff, get you killed one day." he doesn't mention what he's talking about, but he's sure she'll understand.

She looks up at him with startled eyes — first surprise, then fear, then humor crosses through the gray steel depths. She begins to laugh, and raises her cup of orange juice as if in a toast. "Right, I'll keep that in mind," she says, then downs the orange juice — as if she needs the sugar boost. "But thanks, Dad," she adds, a little sarcastically.

Alec snorts, "Sorry, felt like being the silly responsible one for a moment. Shoulda known better, tough kid like you already has all the answers." he nods and takes a bite of the chili dog.

Her eyes flinch a little at the sarcasm that's returned in kind. "I don't have all the answers, but I certainly didn't ask for them from you, did I," she tosses back, stabbing a bit of potato salad with her spork, and popping it into her mouth. "I'm not some bridge or building for you to fix, mister engineer. I know your type. Think you can fix anything that's broke, but I'm not fixable, okay?"

Alec grins at her, "And I know your type." he eyes her up and down, "Let me guess, okay up bringing but not great, normal kid, some great tragety did you in, took most everything you had and wanted and now you're lost. You fill your head with lies every day, saying how the next day, just like today, is another victory, another win against a battle with no end and no hope. I know your type and you have soarly misjudged me kitten. I don't think I can fix you, because I don't think you're broken. I think you are lost and all you need, you seek, is a direction that will lead you to security and saftey." he smiles evenly and takes another bite of his food.

She stares at him through those gray steely eyes, those tiny pupils making them all the harder, all the more guarded. She tosses her head like a teenager might, though with her hair up it lacks the haughty effect it might have once had. "I'm not lost," she says. "Lost suggests I have a home or somewhere to *be.* And every day in this hell is a victory, even if there's no prize except the chance to do it all again the next day. But I'm a survivor, and I don't need someone to tell me what to do or where to go."

Alec's grin is unwavering, but it's not soft or ignorant, it's harder and colder then perhaps she ever would have thought a man like him could possess. "You have whatever home you wish to have and can go where ever you like. The only question you have to answer is what would you be willing to give up in return for such a life? What if a big house could be yours? Money enough to get away from here, or perhaps if it's more your style, stay? What sacrifices are you willing to make to see to it that you are more tomorrow then you were today?" he waves away whatever denials she was about to make, "The question isn't a rhetorical one, and it isn't to be answered in haste. You have my card. You need direction, and you need a job. I can a starting place for both. When you're done 'surviving in hell' and you want to make a play for something greater, you know where to find me." he looks around.

She pushes her food away from her — apparently not hungry, but in the state she's in, that's not a surprise, is it? Most people on highs don't have much of an appetite. "Whatever you're suggesting… whatever job you think I'd accept from you…" she begins, then shakes her head, a nervous energy about her now, and the fear back in her eyes. "I'm not someone you can buy, I'm not about to do any job just for a wad of money, no matter what you think of me. I have pride."

Alec chuckles mirthlessly, "What made you think I was offering you money?" he questions flatly. "If you wish any of what I have told you, then you'll find me and you ask. When you cannot take another day wearing clothes that smell like the filth of the streets and peddling for all your worth to deliver another rich man's package to someone else just as wealthy and self involved, you'll find me. And I promise you, I will only pay you what you earn, never a penny more, but what I offer will be worth more then the money ever could be."

Her hand shaking slightly, Tallie pushes a stray spiral of blond hair out of her face. "Doing what, exactly? And how would you be paying me, or helping me achieve all these alleged goals I have, if I am not getting paid? I'm not going to go to some fancy building on the far end of town just to be told some fucking gimmick about … I donno, time share condos in fucking Bermuda, you know? I don't have time for that. I make enough to get by now, and if you're promising me 'direction' and 'purpose' and no money, than you can save your breath."

Alec shakes his head, "When you come down off of whatever it is that you're on, when you can think more clearly, consider everything I've told you again. Surely a kid smart enough to make it here after the bomb can realize that there are things more valuagle then money in this world. Now leave me be kitten. I have to finish this before morning." he turns back to his work, the action partial dismissal and also something else, almost an acceptance but in a distant and cold way.

The tiny blond narrows her eyes, not liking oh, so much about his words — the judgmental nature, the condescending nickname, the ultimate dismissal. "Don't hold your breath," she mutters. She wraps up what remains of her food, showing that she's more in her right mind than she might seem otherwise, and slipping it into her courier bag. She picks up the cup of juice and tray, dumping the latter on top of the busing station, before heading to her bike, which she lugs down the hallway.

February 8th: Good people come in all shapes
February 9th: Lamb
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