Chance Meeting


joanna_icon.gif ziadie_icon.gif

Scene Title Chance Meeting
Synopsis Concern for a stranger turns into a chance meeting over coffee and tea.
Date January 16, 2011

Chelsea and The Nite Owl

The air is cold, hovering right at freezing prompting pigeons to not scurry for their roosts yet, a few pecking at dark spots on the ground here and there in the hopes that it's food. With martial law an ever constant weight on the shoulders of many, people who are out and about tend to keep to themselves, huddle their shoulders inwards and keep heads down so as not to garner attention. In Chelsea, outside the Nite Owl which has long since been an icon and ever present presence in this part of New York City, the windows are fogged up with the heat of people inside who are partaking of their lunch vittles. The owl sign lights up in it's neon brilliance that won't really be seen till light falls, but with the sun at its apex, that's still at least five hours away.

Joanna was out, her daying been spent with working on cases at home, having what was starting as a relatively good day. Energy and desire to get out of the condo, she'd gone out shopping. But now, she was leaning against a parking meter, forehead on the cool metal and her palm pressing to her middle, attempting to breathe and murmuring to herself about stupidity.

A few people, though, walk down the sidewalk with less of a sense of purpose, many of them older. Amongst those is Nocturne Ziadie. The older man walks slowly towards the Nite Owl, leaning on the cane that he now walks with, his other hand tucked into the pocket of a wool overcoat, scarf around his neck and hat pulled down over his head, bundled against the cold weather such that he's hardly recognisable. But instead of turning to go in the door, he notices the woman leaning on the parking meter, and crosses over so that he's visible, not surprising her or anything.

"Ya' alright?" he asks, reaching to steady the woman, carefully.

"I'm rethinking the whole choice to go outside today, thank you for your concern though, just a little bit of pain is all." Lie. Last part at least. Joanna straightens up, an effort to do so, let her hand drop and put on a brave face. A face that maybe, once upon a time, he saw in a court room when called to testify or the occasion in which she was called down to the NYPD. "I'm fine, nothing that a cup of coffee and some rest won't fix." More lies. She feels like someone is taking his cane to her middle and she knows there's so very little she can do about it till she gets back across town. "Please, don't let me hold you up. Thank you for stopping."

The older man fixes Joanna with what seems to be the best stern look he can manage, and he gently continues to support her as she stands up. Affixed to the leather jacket underneath the wool coat are several medals, NYPD in origin. Ziadie's likely to be stubborn about this. "Let's get you some tea, then," he says. His voice is weary with age, but underneath that, he's a strong speaker, and the phrasing is the same as he would have used when persuading anyone who's reticent to something.

Pride is a terrible thing and Joanna's weakness is such. Not wanting to lean on Ziadie but needing to. The younger woman, leaning on the older man. Joanna looks like she let her pride get the better of herself, tear away from him, but she nods instead, leaning just a little on the other man. "Thank you. At least let me pay for the tea. Salvage my pride in some small way."

Ziadie nods. "Up t' you on that one, ma'am," he says, walking at Joanna's pace towards the Nite Owl, with a brief nod. "Let's get inside, then. The cold can't help wi' whate'r is both'ring you."

"Cold does not help in the least. I was having such a good day." She was. There's bag in her car a few blocks away to prove it. "Thank you, you're a good samaritan mister…?" She's fishing for a name. "Joanna Renard. I figure if you're going to rescue me from a parking meter, you should at least know my name yes?"

It's slow going, she shuffles possibly slower than Ziadie but not much. "I apologize for having derailed your plans you might have had for the day."

"Nocturne Ziadie," the older man responds, holding the door open for her as they step inside the Nite Owl. There's a quirk of his eyebrow right as she starts fishing for his name. He recognises the tactic. Inside is significantly warmer, if nothing else; Ziadie nods to one of the people working behind the counter, and guides Joanna to an empty booth. Apparently, he comes here often enough that he's a known face. If he recognises the name, though, he's not going to bring it up. At least, not until his companion has warmed up some.

The red head staple that is the Nite owl, a little too middle aged to have that shade of orange au naturale and eyebrows that have long since ceased to grow in and are penciled in, gives a nod to Ziadie and starts to gather the things for his regular drink. A request of Joanna with regards to what she wants to drink yields the request for a coffee, not tea, peeling off gloves and unwrapping her scarf to let it hang open along with her jacket.

"I knew of a Sergeant Ziadie, in the NYPD. Testified in a few cases that cross my desk" She murmurs, and hand pressing to her middle, making her pause now and then.

Concern crosses Ziadie's face again as he sheds the wool jacket, scarf, and hat, folding them carefully and setting them next to him before he sits down. Not that he's necessarily doing too well these days himself, but other people come first. "One 'n th' same, ma'am," he says, pausing to watch her. "You're a DA, aren't ya'?"

"I think I spilled coffee all over one of your reports. A long time ago" There's a nod to the question of her occupation. "These days. How much longer I'll be one, I don't know. I might be better off since November in opening my own practice" The red haired waitress comes around, dropping off cups, hot water in pots, creamers and sugar, turning over Joanna's cup so she can pour some coffee and depart with only two menu's in her wake.

"Sometimes I'd a' sworn some of the younger folks dared others a' spill coffee on my paperwork," Ziadie says. Apparently, she wasn't the only one who did so. But he smiles as he picks up one of the containers of hot water, pouring some over the teabag in the cup in front of him and then squeezing lemon into it, and he nods.

"There was. I think. It was a long time ago. See who could get your ire first" Joanna lifts a hand in defense though. "I never did it on purpose. I think was more afraid of you. you are an imposing man" She looks to the medals as she's fixing her coffee, putting in some sugar, a little bit of cream. "Quite a collection. Do you wear them all the time Mister Ziadie? Not that you shouldn't, you've earned them. It's just unusual."

Ziadie chuckles. "So there was a dare," he muses, sipping his tea. "That explains everything." He cracks a bit of a smile. "I tried to be less imposing than some of the other sergeants." At the mention of the medals, he reaches to touch them. Two purple hearts, a commendation for integrity, and assorted other bars. "Habit," he says. "Wore them all t' make sure I ne'r lost them."

"We had to find our joys somewhere in the long hours that we worked and all those briefs," Joanna points out. A tentative sip of her coffee reveals it's piping hot, not ready to quite consume yet and with that knowledge, she fishes around in her purse for medication. "Retired now I guess. I hope the pension was nice at least? Where's your family?"

"Not that I begrudge anyone their fun." The old man nods, and chuckles once again. "Retired, yes," he says. He says nothing about how far an NYPD pension does or does not stretch, one way or the other, and sips his tea, slowly. "I was married," he muses, partially talking to himself in the manner of older people recounting stories, "back when I joined the force." He pauses again. "Never remarried, though."

"Divorced?" Joanna offers up, throwing back two pills with a mouthful of coffee despite it's near scalding temperature. "May I inquire as to where Mrs. Ziadie is?" Joanna never met the woman but a great many cops were married. "For that matter, do you miss the force?"

Ziadie shakes his head. "No. Makena died my second year on the force," Ziadie says. There is veiled grief in his voice, but it is old grief, in the background, and he pauses to sip his tea. "Miscarriage. We would have had a son," he continues, but he doesn't seem to take any offense at the assumption from Joanna. After that, he shrugs. "Retirement is less than I'd hoped, certainly." He doesn't mention losing his apartment, his car, or anything. There's no need, in any case.

"I'm sorry, about the loss of your wife, and your son." Joanna reaches over, not touching his hand, unsure of whether he's one that might balk at touch or not. "One should never outlive their spouse and I can't begin to imagine loosing a child." She was panicked enough at the thought of loosing Tasha in November. "You were known a force to be reckoned with on the NYPD. If that strokes any ego." She doesn't inquire as to where he's working now, the comment regarding the medals and his dress, it's not uncommon. "You still have the officer in you, if you stop to help a woman leaning against a parking meter."

"Thank you." Ziadie sits in silence, but doesn't balk, and manages a bit of a smile. "Thirty years in one general position does that, I'd say." He picks up his tea, the smile on his face genuine and not forced. "Are you feeling any better for having sat down and had some coffee?"

"Not very. But once the painkillers kick in, I should be feeling better. I'll have to get someone to drive me home. I had an unfortunate run in with a riot and some bullets on November 8th. Methods used to keep me from dying left… me in constant pain. Some days it's okay. other days I find myself taking pain killers and loosing myself in sleep. But I'm alive, and I still have my daughter. That's reason enough to celebrate for a few bad days here and there." And she means it.

"I should call my housekeeper, ask her to come pick me up. Is there anything I can do for you? In thanks? Please, my pride demands it."

Ziadie nods, wincing a little in sympathy. "I heard about the riots," he said. "I was out of town, then." He'd made sure of it. He pauses. His own pride is a force to be reckoned with, after all, and letting people help him, or do things for him, comes dangerously close to touching on that pride. While he considers, he sips his tea. "You buying me tea is enough."

Compromise, appease both prides and yet not injure them. Small talk to happen after a phone call made to someone with a Latino name. How's the weather, any pets, predictions for a wet or a dry spring, who's going to win what baseball game or hockey. A chance meeting between two individuals from different worlds and yet a connection through old and present jobs. At least until her ride comes.

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