Big Softy


brian_icon.gif hadley_icon.gif isis_icon.gif

Scene Title Big Softy
Synopsis Brian takes Isis out for cookies and milk, and to meet Mrs. Hadley. Isis revises her 'evaluation' of Brian after chatting with the baker for a short while.
Date August 2, 2009

Piece of Cake Bakery

The front room of the bakery is a long and narrow one. A great glass window covers the wall facing the street, so that anyone outside can see in. The door is glass as well; on bright days the shop is filled to the brim with sunshine. Drop lamps abovehead help at night, casting a warmer and softer light. Classic black and white tiling collects smudges more often than not on the floor and walls. In the back is a hallway which leads further to the kitchen, a small bathroom for customers to use, and a set of creaky stairs that go up to the second floor. The entire building is warm, and the air is redolent with the scents of pastry both savory and sweet, cookies, muffins, chocolate and fruit, bread and more.

A long, waist-high counter is on the left after stepping inside. The top is flat so purchases can be set down, and baked goods of all sorts are on display inside. Down at the far end is the cash register: leaving means walking past all the tempting wares all over again. Though it isn't particularly fancy, a coffee machine next to the register has a sign that reads "Donations": the cups and plain coffee are free, but change dropped inside goes to local charities. Three small bistro tables sit along the right wall; it's a tight fit, but three (or four if they're close friends) people can sit at each to enjoy a bite before going

And lo, it is a beautiful day in August in New York City. It's after lunch, but before dinner, so the bakery is in a bit of a quiet lull. The door is propped open just a tad with a bit of cement block to let a breeze in, and let the scent of pastries and sweets out for temptation's sake. Inside, visible through the great glass window that makes up the front, is Mrs. Hadley. The old woman is bustling around behind the long counter, arranging the evening's offerings so they'll be displayed juuuust so.

"Cookies and milk."

It was the purpose of their 'meeting'. Brian had wrangled up Isis and picked her up his purpose being, 'cookies and milk'. Looking to get her relaxed, get the stress out, be laid back about everything. Take a bit of the pressure of the job she will soon do, off. So Brian has committed to talk nothing about registration, powers, FRONTLINE, or Tracy Strauss. They are purely just friends going out to relax and talk with a certain lovely old lady.

The door is opened with a jingle, Brian staying back and opening the door for Isis. Motioning her to go in first he enters smoothly after her, pulling the door closed. Offering Hadley a broad smile he motions at Isis. "Mrs. Hadley, this is my friend Isis. Isis, this is Mrs. Hadley. My boss." He says brightly.

Stress relief. Friends. She could use 'em both. Isis lofts a brow at the chivalrous gesture of the open door, giving a bow-like little nod before slipping into the warm, sweetly aromatic establishment of the bakery. She stops short, spotting the elderly lady behind the counter, and pauses to look back upon Brian. "Your boss. You work here?" She redoubles a quick glance over Brian, revaluating the gentleman before stepping forward and offering out her hand - the left, seeing as her dominant right hand is notably bandaged around the knuckles at the moment.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Hadley." She flashes a warm smile, giving a little nudge of her chin to banish her shortly chopped, crimson hair from before her chocolate-hued eyes.

The old woman in question peeks up over the edge of the counter at the jangle of the bell above the door: "Welcome to the Piece of Cake." Automatic call done, she breaks out into a wide smile. "There you are, Brian! And hello there, Isis!" She brushes her hands a little as she straightens, so she can offer one out across to accept what's offered. If the wrong-hand-shaking is a bother, there's no sign of it. The shake is a brief thing before she pulls away and motions at the desserts laid out. "You've come to take a look at what we've got today, or is this a social call, dear?"

"A little bit of both and—" Brian goes to gently grasp Isis' right wrist. Bringing it forward he goes to offer it toward Hadley. "Would you mind, Mrs.Hadley? Should we go to the back?" He asks with an arching of his brow. Though he sends a glance at Isis as if to confirm that he knows what he's doing and everything's going to be alright! Or something like it. Glancing back at Hadley he gives a small nod, answering the unasked question.

"Just wanted to relax a little bit, too. Figured there was no one to do that better with but the great Mrs.Hadley." A little grin is given to the elderly woman.

Isis begins to step back a bit, notably keeping a fair distance from all parties, only to halt abruptly and look up to the taller man as he takes her wrist to make a show of her gauze-wound knuckles. Her nose gives a single, sharp little twitch from one side to the other as she looks between Mrs. Hadley and her friend. "Hm?" She doesn't protest, though, recognizing Brian's expression as something similar to that given upon their first meeting.

A startled moment, then Mrs. Hadley is registering what Brian's asking. "Oh! Well, only if you'd like some privacy, dear?" The old woman informs Brian, "You'll have to watch the front," just so he knows, then bustles on out from behind the counter. "Come on then, we'll go find a bit of quiet in the kitchen and see about what's bothering you, sweetheart. We can take care of it in a jiffy!" Her smile for Isis is an easy thing, pleased as can be.

Releasing Isis' wrist he gives a confident nod. "Go ahead." He murmurs with a smile, pressing his fingers against Isis' shoulder as if to give her a gentle nudge in the right direction. The right direction being Hadley, of course.
Turning around, Brian places his hands on the counter and quickly vaults himself up to a seated position. Placing his hands on his lap, he lets his legs dangle back and forth as he watches the front. Should a customer come a callin' he will quickly jump behind the counter, but for now this post is just fine.

Dark lashes reveal a bit more of Isis's dark eyes. "Oh?" She clears her throat awkwardly, fumbling forward the first pace insisted by Brian's touch. Despite her best attempts to hide it, older individuals always unnerved her at first. They are a recognition of time - that not all things where within a being's control.
"Oh. Thank you," she manages finally, comforted slightly by the woman's pleasant smile. With a last glance to Brian she falls into line and slips towards the back with Mrs. Hadley.

Back they go! Mrs. Hadley helps Isis into the kitchen — it's full of bins of flour, sugar, cinnamon, with dough in various stages of work and various pots abubble on back burners. "Now then, has anyone explained to you what will happen after you're feeling better, dear?" She tugs a stool out from under a counter and sets it down for Isis, gesturing for the younger woman to have a seat. "And is it just your hand bothering you, or is there something more?"

Isis tips her chin up at Hadley's words - as she expected. "No. I really did think we were just coming for milk and cookies." She chuckles softly and pinches the knot on her bandage. "Just the hand. Just me being foolish." She looks up with a goofy little smile and awkwardly unravels the gauze to reveal the array of slices set helter-skelter over the backs of her tiny knuckles and little hand. She begins to fold the bandage uselessly in her lap, giving her something to do as she looks up with a shine of curiosity. "What happens?"

"The milk and cookies will be waiting, if I know Brian and his grabby hands," Mrs. Hadley informs with a huff that carries more than a little fond amusement. "This shouldn't be difficult at all then." She reaches out to take the hurt hand, fingers curling carefully. "Well, for about an hour after we're finished," the old woman explains, "You won't be able to use your gift, dear. It'll still be there! It'll just feel like you used it in a great push and it'll need some time to recover. But you'll be healed up, and everything will go back the way it ought to. Do you still want me to fix it for you?"

Isis gives a quick, sharp chortle. "Have at it!" Apparently this would be more than a break than she had initially assumed. Her shoulders sink a bit, no longer held stiff and high by the tension of anxiety and worry. The slight shift makes her seem even smaller. Her smile is a bit more sincere now, easing over her doll-like features as she watches the ladies wrinkled fingers take up her small hand.
"How did you know I was evolved?" she asks curiously, filling the silence and her own need to inquire.

The touch on Isis' hand becomes a simple pressure, hardly there at all. "Oh, Brian knows I can only help someone with a gift, sweetheart. He wouldn't have brought someone to me otherwise," Mrs. Hadley explains easily. "It'll just be a few minutes, and you'll be right as rain, and you can have milk and cookies until they pour out your ears, hm?" A grin accompanies that suggestion. "Put some meat on your bones at least!" The sensation grows slowly, the longer the old biddy keeps hold. What's it like for Isis to feel herself sinking /deeper/ into her own body than she ever has before? To fill it up so much that all those slashes and scrapes have to be shoved out, out and away, because they don't belong? Slow and steady, they start to heal up, pushed in an odd way with her own power to make it happen.

Cookies and Milk. Milk and cookies. However you sort it, it's great. And Brian has finally gotten them out. By the time Hadley and Isis finally get done with the healing, Winters has the treats set out. Three glasses of milk and a plate of cookies that he's nabbed from several different places. He's decided it best to start without the ladies. They would tell him to go on without them anyway, right?

Leaning against the counter and nibbling on a chocolate chip cookie, he watches the door idly. His gaze is there though he's pretty much zoned out. Focusing on other events in the city that he is watching with other pairs of eyes. It's the best kind of day dreaming.

"I see. Well, that's…" Isis's pale lips catch a sharp gasp behind them. Anchored into her own body. Secure. Nothing in her life was ever secure. She shudders at the odd, heavy sensation that dances the line between being trapped and being at peace in one's self. Even her mind grows peaceful - no longer is it a constant effort to keep herself from stealing poor Mrs. Hadley's older body.
She watches with an awed attention as the slices deep and shallow alike begin to knit themselves closed. She waits for the last sanguine line to seal upon itself before giving a soft tug, a tad overeager to free herself and give the newly smoothed surface a few testing prods. "Thank you."

"Like I said, you'll have about an hour before you can use your gift again, dear." Mrs. Hadley gives that now-healed hand a light patpatpat, then eases aside to let the younger woman hop off the stool. "Off you go! Milk and cookies await." With that, she's heading for the front again herself.

Another cookie is put down before Brian goes to take a sip of his milk. With great sadness he finds that he has already downed his entire glass. And so with a quick glance over his shoulder he picks up the glass next to it and takes a quick sip. Placing it back down, he shifts over on the counter putting distance between him and the glass.

Isis chuckles and hops up, watching Mrs. Hadley a moment longer than is necessary - There was something motherly about her. She grins at the thought and slips back out to the main area of the store, wiggling her finger at Brian in a way of showing off the healer's handiwork. "Enjoying yourself over there?" she inquires with a teasing tone as she notes the setup of sweet and milk. She is in a notably friendlier mood as she slides on over and snags a cookie.

"Brian, if you eat all the stock, what will I sell to the customers?" Mrs. Hadley asks, but she doesn't sound surprised at all. Maybe she's been selling quite a few less cookies these days for some reason. "And where are the oatmeal raisin?" She eases past him with a patpatpat to his shoulder to go find the treats she wants. If her own figure is any clue, 'meat on the bones' is not a problem she has at all.

"I'll make more." Brian offers in his own defense, waving a dismissive hand as if it wasn't a problem at all. Straightening up so she can get by easier, he gives a light hum. "They weren't back there?" A jerk of his thumb to the kitchen before he shrugs. "You must have done something with them. This morning I left them in the kitchen." Nom nom nom.

Grinning over at Isis, he admires her hand for a moment before giving her shoulder a soft squeeze. "Good." He says brightly, nudging the plate of cookies closer to her, even though she has one already. "Feel better?"

"Very much so," she says, even as she goes nearly cross eyed trying to over examine the half-eaten cookie wedged between her fingers. She leans around Brian to reveal a smile in Mrs. Hadley's directions. "These are delicious." She snags off another nibble before leaning back to refocus her attentions on the gentleman among them. "I hadn't really pegged you as the bakery-cooking sort," she finally notes with a mischievously tilted grin, finishing off her cookie quickly enough and moving forward to grab another from the plate encouraged in her direction.

A low mutter under her breath is Mrs. Hadley's answer: "I could have /sworn/ I put the oatmeal raisin out earlier this afternoon." She eyes the empty spot with a great deal of suspicious dubiousness, glances over at Brian as if to see right on through him, then huffs out a breath. Instead she drags out the lemon bars and straightens again, carrying them over. "I don't let him bake anything yet, dear," she reassures Isis. "At least not anything we'd sell, not yet. But we'll get him up to speed in no time at all, I'm sure."

Brian grins around a mouthful of cookie. "Not my only job." He points out softly. "You can have a lot of jobs. When you're like me." He assures her, glancing over at Hadley he gives a grin. "But Hadley took me in when I didn't have anyone else. So I'm forever grateful." He says sweetly before turning to Isis. "Even though I could bake things just fine." He says in a lower voice. As far as the dubious suspicious look, Brian smirks. "You really think I ate a whole batch of cookies? I don't even like oatmeal. Or raisins."

Isis chuckles, dark gaze sweeping back and forth to watch the volleying of the friendly conversation. She lofts a brow at Brian as he make a point of noting various jobs, and rolls her eyes in a playful fashion. She swivels around, leaning against the counter at the man's side as she watches the pair. "I'm sure he's a better cook than I," she comments before turning her attention back to Brian. "You're just full of surprises, hm?" she inquires in response to the man's obvious soft spot. "Then again. Should've known, what with you and your lady friend." She finishes another cookie and suckles a dot of chocolate from her thumb.

"Oh, I'm not his lady friend. Brian keeps trying to get with me," Mrs. Hadley informs in this terribly dry, terribly amused voice. "But I won't have any of that hanky-panky here in my shop." A nod agrees with this total and complete lie before she bursts out into giggles and plucks up a lemon bar to take a quick bite.

At Hadley's denial of her being a lady friend Brian actually blushes. A laugh is let out and his lips seem like they're cemented in a broad smile. He shakes his head rapidly, but can't seem to do anything but laugh for a long moment. "God." He finally breathes out, reaching up to cover his face for a moment. "Veronica." Brian notes, to Hadley a grin still playing on his lips. "She's talking about Veronica."

Though after sombering up a bit, Brian glances at Isis. "I don't bring many people I conduct business with here. Consider yourself lucky."

Isis looks much like a deer caught in the headlights with her big doe-brown eyes plainly gawking at Mrs. Hadley. Her lips purse a few times against her finger before she can contain it no longer and drops her hand, laughing along. "Oh, Jesum Crow." Did she really just say Jesum Crow? A testament to her Catholic upbringing and her conscientious behavior around the older woman. "No hanky-panky in the shope. Got it."
Her laughter wanes and then stops entirely as Brian turns his comment to her. She watches him for a while longer before cocking her head to the side like a perplexed puppy, looking up from beneath the fanned bangs of her garnet locks. "Why'd you decide to bring me, then?"

Since all the laughter was rather obviously Mrs. Hadley's goal, the fact that she wins it only makes her look like a thoroughly self-satisfied little old lady. She eats her lemon bar with no small gusto, quite pleased with the world in general. Other than a glance, she doesn't comment on Brian's lack of friends coming over to play, only moves to pluck up some milk for herself and let him field that one.

"Figured you could use it." And that apparently is all Brian is going to say on the matter. Shoving himself off the counter, he goes into the back for a moment. After just a minute he reappears. With a tray. A tray full of oatmeal raisin. "Hm" He murmurs with narrowed brows. "Someone must have hidden these. That's really inappropriate."

Isis glances over towards Mrs. Hadley, as if hoping the woman would supply a better answer than the one Brian had given the young lady. "Well, I'm sure some of your other 'business associates' could use some delicious cookies, too…" She probes a bit as he slips away. Her nose twitches wildly in his momentary absence, gaze wandering between the kitchen door and the friendly Mrs. Hadley, only to halt under the overpowering expression of a smile when Brian returns with the tray. "Rut-roh," she teases and snags a final cookie from the plate beside her.

A bit of shrug is all the answer Mrs. Hadley gives; obviously, she thinks she's great company and doesn't understand why Brian is so ashamed of her. Or she just doesn't know, either way. "The nerve!" Lemon bars are abandoned at the arrival of the cookies instead: she bustles over to take up a couple right off the tray. "Really, I ought to be on the lookout for sneak-thieves wandering around the shop at night while I'm sleeping safe in my bed, I swear."

Setting the try on the counter, Brian gives a little laugh. "Sorry. I would have eaten them, but I really don't like oatmeal." Ew. Hopping up into a seated position on the counter once again he lets his legs dangle back and forth once again. He lets out a little yawn before leaning back, spreading his hands out on the counter. A satisfied grin is pasted on his face.

Isis fiddles with the cookie between her fingers a moment more, watching the duo. They were so casual with one another. Comfortable. The little redhead found herself focusing the heavy, anchored state of her consciousness once more. She steals a little nibble, her expression contemplative, before her attention snaps up and on fixes on Mrs. Hadley. "How did you meet Brian?" she asks too sweetly, almost like a friend digging for those funny baby-bath pictures from someone's mother. She glances to the man from the corner of her eye as she steps away from the counter and pulls up a seat, twisting it around so that she can fold her arms over the back and gobble up her cookie as she watches the shop's proprietress.

The answer comes easily enough, as if the baby-bath'ness of the story is all part and parcel. "Oh, he wandered right in and started making little baby-bird sounds," Mrs. Hadley explains. "I can tell them from a mild off, hmmm? So I fed him a little, and now he won't ever leave me be." To make sure there's no sting in that, she leans over to give Brian's forearm a light pat. "I even let him stay on my sofa for a little while, but that's not right for a young man, so I shoved him out of the nest!" Her fingers flick, as if to explain just how it was done. "And he /still/ wouldn't go away. So now I've given him a job, so at least I get some work out of him for all the cookies he eats all day."

"You really appreciate me and you know it." Brian offers almost pathetically. Shooting a look over at Hadley, wishing she would use a better analogy then baby bird. Baby bird. Hmph. "I get a lot of work done." He offers quickly as if to justify his cookie consumption.

Isis lofts a thin brow and again looks to Brian as Mrs. Hadley's story flitters pleasantly between the small crowd. She noms the last of her cookie and dusts her hands off on the knees of her jeans, perking up in her seat a bit. "You're a big softy," she suddenly chirrups with a victorious grin. Apparently this is her complete evaluation of the man and it amuses her to the point of a short, quick chuckle. Still glowing with a smile and a glimmer of surprise, she rises from her seat and pushes the chair back into its rightful place.

"I should get back ho- to my friend's house. It was a pleasure meeting you, Mrs. H. If it helps any, he seems to have learned to fly fairly well." She a chortle and a wink she makes for the door.
"You come back and visit sometime, dear! Don't be a stranger!" Mrs. Hadley's voice follows after Isis' departing back, cheerful as can be. "And tell everyone to come buy cookies here, while you're at it! I have to keep this place running with mice nibbling at my stock!" In a lower volume for Brian she adds, "Strong and hardworking mice, of course."

Letting out a laugh at the strong hardworking mice, Brian vaults himself back over the counter. Landing softly he flicks a grin over his shoulder. "I'll take her home Hadley. But I'm on my way here, I'll be here in about ten minutes I would guess." A very confusing statement that would not make sense a all coming from anyone else. Glancing at Isis he just smirks at the softie comment. Sure. The guns tucked into his pants would disagree, but for now, being the softie is just fine with him. The door is opened for Isis once again and a final little wave is given to Hadley. "I'll clean up the plate and glasses when I get here." He lets out.

Perhaps she'd pegged him wrong. Just as too many did much the same for the 'cute' little redhead. She turns and strolls backward through the politely opened door, offering Mrs. Hadley a wave. "Will do." With that she flashes Brian a devilishly sweet little grin.
"And, chivalrous," she adds to her evaluation. "Usually I'm not a fan, but I'll let it slide this time." She pulls up to her tiptoes with a little smirk and turns the pair towards Dio's place. She wouldn't lead him to Diogenes's exact building, mind you. She'd pick one a street over to maintain her friend's privacy.

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