Another Ordinary Miracle Today


cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Another Ordinary Miracle Today
Synopsis Sneakiness happens.
Date March 28, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Recording Studio (with parts in the lobby and penthouse)

Studio A is spacious and bright, with dramatic views to the north and east along Lafayette and 4th streets. The abundance of natural light provides our clients with a relaxing environment in which to work. This tracking and mixing room features a 72 input SSL 9000J series console and a ProTools HD 3 Accell system.

Studio B is a perfect vocal tracking, overdub and production facility. This wing features a comfortable control room with a Yamaha DM 2000 console and Protools HD 3 Accell system as well as an intimate live room, ideal for both vocals and instrumentals. In keeping with the atmosphere throughout our facility, both our B control and live rooms have plenty of natural light with views of east Manhattan. A separate lounge adjacent to the studio rooms provides a place to relax while maintaining our clients' complete privacy from the rest of the studio.

Studio C is a production and writing room.

She wasn't planning on turning up at Cat's place. But with the morning stretching before her — a rare day off, or maybe a half day, or … who knows? — Elisabeth didn't have much better to do than call Cat and see if she wanted breakfast. The bruise on her face is brilliantly colored — a bit of purple and angry red down her left cheekbone — but her fat lip is at least going down. There's just a cut on it and a bit of puffiness, mostly, now. She's not even sure the other woman will be home this morning. She lets herself into the lobby quietly, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt.

As she makes her way toward the elevator, waving at the security guard, someone — looks like housekeeping, actually — lets himself out of the elevator. And Elisabeth asks the guard, "May I?" She should be a familiar enough face by now, she hopes, that it won't set off alarms.

At the security desk, Elisabeth is spotted also, but nothing is said or thought of about it. Officer Harrison's a frequent enough visitor to the upper floors, both from visiting Miss Beauchamp and whatever mysterious person lives up there. They may well even believe the officer has her own keycard and key by now. And as the person Elisabeth speaks to steps toward the elevator, he seems to be thinking the same thing. He ducks inside and opens the control panel which hides the buttons to the upper floors. "Which level?" he asks her, intending to press the correct one, lock the panel, and go on his way.

Elisabeth shrugs and says, "I just wanted to go into the studio, actually." She offers him a smile, and if he lets her in, she just nods and says, "Thank you. I appreciate it." Mostly she's just looking around. Cat's given her the tour before and she thought she remembered seeing a piano in here. Which is where she heads. Sliding onto the bench and adjusting it, she runs her fingers across the keys of the lovely instrument. It's been a little while… she's not as limber as she's used to being.

The studio is on the fifth floor, so the man she's speaking with presses that button and steps out, thinking nothing of it all. The elevator is left to her devices then, it'll go where she wants when the doors close. And on the fifth floor the studio is unlocked, making it an easy thing to get in and find that piano.

It's a decent one, with all eighty-eight keys in perfect condition and well-tuned. They respond to her fingers as they're touched.

A few moments is all it really takes, no more than that. It's funny, the things you remember. A couple of bars of a classical piece, a couple of bars of something amusing…. but Elisabeth's fingers begin to pick out a far more recent tune. Why it stuck in her head — why her fingers even know it — might be a question someone listening would ask. Peter Gabriel is not even one of the classics. But the tune coming from the piano's chords is recognizable to anyone who knows what they're hearing as "In Your Eyes". A slow version, to be sure… and Liz starts to hum along with it as she plays.

There's no Cat to be seen yet, she's one floor up in the penthouse, waiting for Elisabeth to show up. Coffee is ready, and food for breakfast also. Her mind is on a number of things, most prominent of them Moab and the upcoming raid. Green level, yellow, orange, red. The building comes into her mind's eye, features being reviewed again. Four guard towers over the yard, two more over the airstrip, the helicopter capable roof. Anti-aircraft guns, and the building itself seeming to be two stories. That means at least two are below ground.

But after a short time she wonders what happened, why the officer hasn't made it up yet, and goes to check the cameras. A short rewind on one of them shows her entering the elevator after speaking with someone who came out of it. Okay… But where did she go?

While Cat looks around, Elisabeth's hands pass across the black and white keys with the ease of familiarity. She has played this instrument most of her life by now, though it's been months since she touched one. Not since the high school. As her fingers limber, the song changes to one that she was working on with the kids at Washington Irving. Sarah McLachlan is a favorite of hers and this one ….. just seems to suit. The tune plays out of the instrument softly, and she begins to sing,

"It's not that unusual,
When everything is beautiful
It's just another ordinary miracle today…
The sky knows when it's time to snow,
Don't need to teach a seed to grow.
It's just another ordinary miracle today."

It doesn't take long to switch from that feed to the others floors, going up one at a time and rewinding. There's no Elisabeth on the safehouse floor. She taps one finger on the desk, watching the fifth floor footage. Ah. There she is. Coming out of the elevator, stepping into the studio… "Maybe I should start to lock that." Back to her feet she rises, striding across the penthouse toward the exit and the elevator down.

And the music continues, still soft but Elisabeth gives full range to her voice — not the power she has, just not holding back. The piece was specifically written for piano, and although her voice is perhaps not the caliber of the original artist, she could most assuredly hold her own.

"Life is like a gift they say, wrapped up for you every day
Open up and find a way to give some of your own….

"Isn't is remarkable? Like every time a raindrop falls
It's just another ordinary miracle today.
Birds and winter have their fling but always make it home by spring,
It's just another ordinary miracle today…."

Liz closes her eyes, putting her attention solely on what she's doing, not hearing sound from behind her. Her kids at the school hated the whole idea of a new-age crunchy granola song, she remembers with a faint smile.

"When you wake every day, please don't throw your dreams away,
Hold them close to your heart cause we are all a part of the ordinary miracle…"

Her playing is undisturbed still. It takes time to cross the floor and reach the elevator; still more to descend by it and reach the studio entrance. The elevator doors are just opening now, she's putting one foot on the fifth floor and reaching for the doors ahead of her, but Cat intends to be silent as possible as her way in is made, to discover what the situation is before calling attention to herself.

The last stanza of the piece is quieter once more, and the melding of voice and music seems so easy. Elisbeth's fingers continue across the keys, picking the tune out of her memory as if she last played it yesterday instead of four months ago. Her voice and the music it is melded with is audible as the door to the studio opens — soundproofing only works when it's shut, after all.

"It seems so exceptional that things just work out after all
It's just another ordinary miracle today
The sun comes up and shines so bright and disappears again at night
It's just another ordinary miracle today…"

She continues to play through, her eyes on the back wall of the studio.

"It's just another ordinary miracle today."

Her head tilts as she enters, and feet quietly move across the floor. Cat moves toward the source of the sounds her ears pick up, there is more than one studio space here, after all. Along the way a guitar is picked up and a lead to plug into an amp. But she pauses. Which is better, guitar or bass guitar, to complement the tune she hears. Decision is made, and she moves closer.

If she can, she will slip in without being heard or seen and listen first.

With the piece she was playing completed, Elisabeth's fingers seem restless on the keys of the instrument, still picking out music. Shifting to … the Eagles. The woman apparently spent a decent amount of time on contemporary music, perhaps not for her students. As she picks out the tune, once more she finds the words.

"Harry got up, Dressed all in black
Went down to the station, And he never came back
They found his clothing/Scattered somewhere down the track
And he won't be down on Wall Street any more."

That settles it. Don Henley's solo work calls for guitar. If it were an Eagles tune she could easily enough provide a semblance of Joe Walsh's mastery. Cat's voice, softly, joins in as fingers plug the instrument into an amplifier then commence to manipulate strings and frets.

"He had a home
The love of a girl
But men get lost sometimes
As years unfurl
One day he crossed some line
And he was too much in this world
But I guess it doesn't matter anymore."

The discordant jangle of the piano accompanies Cat's voice and strings picking up the tune as Elisabeth yanks her hands from the keys and turns to face the other woman. A flush colors up her face, turning that bruise a cute shade of darker. "Oh!" She listens to Cat play, and grins a bit sheepishly.

"That's not how the next line goes, Elisabeth," Cat chides after wincing from the discordant jangle. "But if you were aiming for the finish to Day In The Life, you're on the right track," she deadpans. "So… one more time, the right way, shall we?" Damn. Hadn't intended to startle the officer and bring things to a crashing cease.

There's a softly laugh, and Elisabeth turns back around to the piano. Though her fingers are sure on the keys, however, she seems a little more uncertain of herself. She's kind of avoided this with Cat, but she did sort of invade without permission. She picks up with a brief intro, and then slides into the refrain with Cat, automatically melding her voice into the other woman's and complementing it.

"In a New York Minute, Everything can change
In a New York Minute, Things can get pretty strange
In a New York Minute, Everything can change
In a New York Minute…. "

The vocals for that segment are left to the blonde, Cat's fingers keep busy working the instrument in contact with them. It's only when the next section comes up that her voice resumes. Elisabeth's bruise, if noticed, is left to speak of later.

"Lying here in the darkness
I hear the sirens wail
Somebody going to emergency
Somebody's going to jail
If you find somebody to love in this world
You better hang on tooth and nail
The wolf is always at the door."

The lyrics resonate with Cat for her own reasons, it adds an edge to her play. The image of Dani is in her mind now.

The refrain once more picks up in Elisabeth's tones,

"In a New York Minute, Everything can change
In a New York Minute, Things can get a little strange
In a New York Minute, Everything can change
In a New York Minute…"

And this time when the stanza begin, she melds her voice into Cat's.

"And in these days
When darkness falls early
And people rush home
To the ones they love
You better take a fool's advice
And take care of your own
One day they're here;
Next day they're gone…"

Her playing trails off here, though, and she turns to look toward Cat as she takes her hands off the keys. Those words, for whatever reason, bring a sense of foreboding, and she doesn't want to complete the thought.

But Cat continues on, perhaps finding foreboding of a different sort in the upcoming words and not shying away from it.

"I pulled my coat around my shoulders
And took a walk down through the park
The leaves were falling around me
The groaning city in the gathering dark
On some solitary rock
A desperate lover left his mark,
"Baby, I've changed. Please come back."

By this, Cat hopes to inspire and encourage Elisabeth to resume her own play at the piano keyboard.

Though she doesn't resume playing, Elisabeth does resume the song.

"What the head makes cloudy
The heart makes very clear
The days were so much brighter
In the time when she was here
But I know there's somebody somewhere
Make these dark clouds disappear
Until that day, I have to believe
I believe, I believe…"

A ghost of a smile forms as Cat, still on guitar, enters the next section.

"In a New York Minute
Everything can change
In a New York Minute."

Here, her voice becomes louder, more assertive.

"You can get out of the rain
In a New York Minute
Everything can change
In a New York Minute."

Then there is silence as Cat's voice and guitar both go still, her eyes resting on the pianist.

There's a gentle half-smile on her bruised face when Elisabeth says sheepishly, "Sorry… I've been wanting to test out the piano for ages." She averts her eyes a bit, not embarrassed by the singing, just by the 'getting caught' part of the occasion.

"What's there to be sorry about?" The words come with a spreading grin. "You're good, Elisabeth." Consideration follows on Cat's part for a short time before she offers "Would you like the tools for getting above the third floor on your own?"

There's a shrug. "I'm … " Elisabeth doesn't do false modesty. "I could make a living doing it," she admits mildly. "Took piano all the way through college. Three credits shy of a minor in music back then. Kept taking voice lessons all the way up until Irving. Sort of fell by the wayside after that." She tilts her head. "Sure, if you don't mind sharing them. I don't have a piano at my place, I'd love to play sometimes."

From a pocket comes a keycard and a key. "These will open the elevator control panel," Cat states. "And you could." The grin spreads a bit more. "You're too talented to waste it walking a beat." Her guitar is placed on a nearby stand, and she moves to take a seat at the piano bench, playfully shoving to make room if need be. "My life's been a musical paradox. Father and Mother started me off learning piano at around age nine. I enjoyed it, but the passion wasn't there. I might've stopped if they didn't insist." Her eyes focus on a wall while she continues to speak.

"But when I got into my teens and discovered rock, took up guitar, that they didn't want to encourage."

Elisabeth shrugs easily. "I don't walk a beat anymore. I'm up for detective. Take the exam in a couple of weeks." She smiles, though, taking the keycard and key. "Thank you. I always figured if I ever needed a fallback, I could do the club circuit."

"Someday you'll be the keyboardist in the Cat Band." Is she joking? Maybe, maybe not. "Is this exam something you'll need to study for, or do you have confidence in already knowing the material?"

"I have to study some… but I'm on desk duty for a couple of days anyway. Gotta see the cop shrink. Been kind of a busy week and all. The food riot, ambushed in Chinatown, IA investigation." Elisabeth toys with the key and shoves both it and the card into her pocket. "How're things going?" She means the plans.

"They're coming along," Cat replies. "We'll have to send people inside for some of the captives, but I think we can get most of them without entering if we make our move during yard time. Most should be outside then. What we won't be able to predict is how many will be on yellow, orange, and red levels then. The building is two stories above ground. Green level, the least secure, is either on the first or second floor, maybe both, though it seems more logical to have admin functions on the top floor and prisoners all on ground level."

"That leaves three levels underground, potentially." She eyes Elisabeth's bruise for a moment. "That's from the ambush," she muses.

"Actually, I'd expect prisoners to be on the second floor — so on the off chance they have a breakout event, they have to go through the entire maze of the first floor to get out." Liz shrugs. "But that's just me." She hesitates and says, "No. It's not. Couple of cops got grabby."

A nod follows that reply, as Cat ponders it. She's seemingly framing a response, but the words fail to emerge. That last detail has thrown her off that track altogether. Her jaw sets, hands curl closed. "Have they been fired?"

"IA's investigating," Elisabeth tells her friend. "They're keeping it as quiet as they can due to the fact that it happened with no witnesses and out of camera range. It's a pretty solid case, I think, but …. they're being careful with it. Don't worry, Cat, I'm fine."

"You need a buddy system in there when there aren't cameras around," she opines. "Not being alone in vulnerable spots. What was it all about, the grabbiness?" Cat's become stern. It's not so much on her facial features, those have relaxed from the set jaw, as in the eyes which show how dangerous can be when the situation calls for it.

Elisabeth shrugs and says, "Lots of things. Me personally, Evolved, promotion. Any or all of the above?"

"You're double-dipping, being Evolved and female," Cat opines. "It's your thing to handle… But my instinct is to be proactive. We've been in battle together, had each other's backs."

She smiles at that. "Well, my instinct at this moment is to let IA handle it. Cops are already in the shit right now… I don't want to make more waves, but… yeah, they need to be made examples of." Liz grimaces. "Problem is, *I* could wind up the one being made an example of. And I don't want that." She shrugs. "We'll see what plays out." She moves to stand up. "Tell you what… I have a couple of other things to do this morning. Can I catch up with you for dinner tonight?"

"This is true," she admits. "How you handle it could put a bigger target on your back, and then some." Cat remains seated at the eighty-eight keys, replying "Certainly. See you upstairs then."

Elisabeth nods and admits, "I don't want to get shot in the back by some other anti-Evo cops on a run. I'll see you tonight, though. Want me to bring anything. Bottle of wine?"

"That would be exceedingly good, Elisabeth," the seated one rejoins.

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