Dine And Dash


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Scene Title Dine and Dash
Synopsis An attempt at lunch turns into Days of our Lives
Date October 3, 2018

10/2/18 8:43 pm

10/2/18 8:44 pm
training exercise

10/2/18 8:47 pm
really sorry

10/2/18 8:54 pm
still in town for a couple days, lunch tomorrow 1:30 at Nite Owl?

The Nite Owl

1:19 pm

October 3, 2018

While it’s just a shadow of its former glory, the diner still holds a reputation for food and drink. Even in times of a food shortage, so long as you’re okay with a more bland fare of pancakes made with flour and water or day-old muffins making up the majority of the menu. Today it appears there are eggs available, and some kind of apple salad is listed as a special as well as a vegetable soup.

The diner is just starting to come down from its lunch rush, and the packed to breaking feel of the small establishment is easing. There are still barely a handful of open seats available, most at the counter, however Devon was lucky enough to snag a booth when it came open. Since he’s been seated, the remnants of the last party have been cleared away, the table is wiped down, and two waters placed as a starter.

There’s no telling how long he’s actually been waiting, but he has added a mug of coffee to the table. Dev absently rubs a finger over the red lines encircling one of his wrists while he stares at his coffee. It isn’t as good as the stuff at the Bunker, but it’s better than that instant crap. Every now and then he flicks a glance toward the door, watching.

A bell hanging over the door rings as it swings in, nudged open with a non-violent kick of a foot. The door's almost shut again when Emily nudges it back open with her elbow, pushing her way in and standing behind a woman waiting by the hostess stand. She takes the time to look around the inside of retro-decor diner, lips pulled back into a small smirk. Quaint. But comfortable. The strip of neon ringing the wall near the ceiling is an annoying glow, even through the lenses of her aviators. With a shake of her head, she looks over her shoulder in the waiting area to check for someone, the smile fading when she doesn't find what or who she's looking for. Probably lamenting how long a wait it might be to get seated.

She scans the sea of already-seated heads hopefully, looking for someone seated by themselves. It doesn't take long to come across Devon in the booth, far from the door. Emily takes in a long, slow breath before she carefully navigates her way across the restaurant, mindful to not stamp anyone's feet with her crutches. She pauses at the tableside, noting the melting ice in the water.

"I had plans already, you know." is how she greets him before sidling into the booth, adjusting her crutches beside her before finally looking across the table at him. There's a thoughtful frown displayed at him before she slowly raises a hand to push the aviators up her face and rest them on the top of her head. A hesitant look flickers in her eyes before she looks away, across the restaurant but at nothing in particular, nodding toward it all. She pretends to look at the featured menu items posted above the bar.

"Busy here." she observes distantly, brushing a stray strand of hair behind her ear. "Were we actually eating, or just—" Emily looks back at him finally, cold blue eyes critical of his appearance. "talking?"

Having returned to looking at the dark coffee in front of him, he doesn’t notice Emily’s entrance. His fingers give the mug a slight turn of the mug, watching the liquid inside lap up the walls of the mug and settle again. When she slides into the booth, Dev looks up like he might calmly explain he’s waiting for someone, but the expression shifts into that slightly crooked grin of his.

“Hey,” he starts to say, but her own greeting causes that to fail and his grin to fall a little. “I’m Sorry. I… You didn’t need to change your plans.” He sits back slightly, studying her for a quick minute. “If you’re hungry,” he offers. He had invited her for lunch after all, and had waited on ordering more than a coffee himself.

That coffee mug gets another small turn. “I just figured, since I was in town and I wasn’t able to reply to your texts until yesterday…”

His immediately crestfallen expression is a thump on Emily's soul, and she doesn't know why. Her shoulders shift in discomfort, and she pinches the front of her teal half-sleeve blouse to adjust it, making sure it hasn't stuck to her in the warm walk to the diner. She shakes her head at his explanation, not immediately having a reply for him.

As he turns the mug about, she notes the red marks on his skin. She tries to not let her gaze linger there long enough for it to be considered staring— or ideally, not even noted at all. "You said it was a training exercise?" She halfheartedly reaches for the menu on the table, shooting a glance at him before skimming the unlaminated paper. She could eat.

“Yeah.” Devon lifts a shoulder to supplement his answer. It isn’t really an answer, a single word doesn’t explain for going off the grid for a couple of days. He takes a swallow of the passable coffee, then explains a little further. “It’s no big deal, just normal… We need to be prepared for anything.”

Setting the mug down, he sits back, arms folding over his chest. His head tilts a little, so his eyes can watch the world outside, and he seems fine with just sitting while Emily decides on what she’s having for lunch.

The answer isn't helpful. And something about the way it's said makes her feel like her concern, her overreaction, might have been well-placed after all. Maybe it's just her, but is Devon avoiding looking at her? It takes her much longer than it should to scan the limited menu, torn for how much to press, how much to say. She bites on the inside of her lip to keep herself from saying anything too… forward.

"I got worried. For some reason." she does confess, thumbnail flicking the corner of the paper. Now it's her turn to look to the side, her voice carefully measured. "To the point I went to see your uncle."

Better to let him know now, in case he didn't already. She knew what she knew, but definitely didn't want him to get blindsided about it one day.

Her shoulders cave as she says it, eyes narrowing at the world outside. "… It's been a long week already."

It's about to get longer.

There's a jingle as the door to the diner opens, and in walks a tall man in a dark brown leather jacket with black sunglasses on. He's a little thick in the middle, walks with a pronounced limp, and is accompanied by a square-jawed young man half his age. Emily’s back is to the arrivals, but Devon immediately recognizes Commander Epstein and Wolfhound’s mechanic Francis Harkness.

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“…so he turns and he looks at me like a fucking crazy person and he says,” Avi’s mid-story on the way in, animatedly gesturing as he talks, “it's twelve dollars!” He and Francis both burst out laughing on their way over to the diner’s bar, each taking up a stool as a server comes over.

“So what'd you do next?” Francis asks, a dark brow raised as he bunches forward against the bar.

“Well, I mean I shot him square in the head.” Avi admits with a grumble. “The joke was hilarious but I mean he was Humanis First, so…” He turns his attention to the server, who is staring in wide-eyed nervousness having overheard the tail-end of that.

“Coffee, black.” Avi looks up at the menu and all of the food items crossed off. “Fuck, uh, just a coffee I guess.”

“Same,” Francis replies.

“Yeah?” Devon returns his attention back to the table and focuses on Emily when she mentions concern. It was a training exercise — and payback for a prank — but nothing too serious. But superficial injuries and facing a deep, dark fear isn’t really good conversation for lunch. While he does start to grin again, it’s a little unsure. She’d worried about him? “Sorry. It was kind of last minute.”

The bell rings and, out of habit, Dev’s eyes flick to the door as he speaks. His grin doesn’t fall when he sees who’s entering, but there is a faint sobering to his expression when he looks at Emily again. “You went to see Richard,” he continues. Either he hasn’t heard yet, or he hasn’t checked his phone. Not that the Safe Zone is known for its stellar cellular service. “How’d that go?”

"… Weird." Emily admits. She's not exactly keen on discussing the details of the visit. She's distracted besides. She could have sworn she heard…

"I've never really been out that way." She was hearing things. That's all it was. Emily looks back to Devon with a short sigh from her nose. Admitting all of this out loud just had her nerves running, that was all. "I don't know what got into me. Guess I'm just not used to talking with someone who can drop off the map at a moment's notice."

The flow of words abruptly ends. No, she hadn't meant for it to come out like that at all. Underneath the table, the heel of her hand slides in a grind down the denim on her thigh in lieu of stammering something out to that effect. No, she hadn't meant to imply that they were talking with any kind of regularity or that that was an expectation.

Her hand above the table lets the menu slip from her fingers back to the table's surface. "I'll have the brunch." She resumes speaking just as abruptly, turning slightly in her seat to scan for a waiter.

“So anyway,” the conversation at the bar continues as Avi watches the waitress slip over to the coffee pot. “What I'm saying is sometimes this shit happens. I don't like it when it happens, but it does. So,” his brows furrow, “who's been talking about it?”

“I don't know, it was Wendigo’s assignment. I guess them?” Francis says as the waitress comes back, setting down mugs and filling them with coffee. “I heard about it second-hand from dad.”

Avi waves a hand dismissively, as if the answer isn't important. It is. “I'm sure it's nothing,” he starts to say, but he notices Francis is looking past him, and when he looks back nods past Avi. Slowly, Avi follows Francis’ sight line and looks past the bar, spotting Devon and the back of someone head.

“Well fuck me,” Avi says with a lopsided smile, sliding off of his stool, “if it isn't the Little Engine That Could.” Coffee in one hand, Avi starts to limp over with a shit-eating grin on his face. He comes right up beside where they're sitting. “Who’s your playdat— ”

Avi stares down at Emily.


“Missions usually give us notice,” Devon starts to explain. So casual, he shrugs as he says it. It looks like he has every intention of not bringing up Avi and Francis’ decision to patron the diner also. It’s a public place, anyone can go where they want, right? “Exercises not so much?” He isn’t sure, it’s hit or miss as far as training notices go.

“As for Richard… It’s always weird?” He considers his past conversations with the man he calls uncle, but any further response is thwarted when suddenly there’s Commander Epstein making himself known.

Dev looks at Avi. He’s grinning, but there’s something about his posture that gives away a sudden nervousness. Like he’s very much aware that he’s now the fox in the dog yard. “Afternoon, Avi.” Francis gets a wave.

Emily's only able to give a slight shake of her head in response to the comment about Richard, a flash of amusement in her eyes at the brevity of it. She's still looking at him to see his attention slip past her, aware of the footsteps on tile. She begins to arch an eyebrow just before hearing the voice resonate just beside her, head turning to look up.

For just enough time, the stare at the stranger by her side is blank, not filled with recognition. The brief hitch in familiarity ends just after she's stared at in return, her eyes brightening as it dawns on her. It's him.

He's wider than she remembers. More grit to his face. More pepper grey in his hair. That's to be expected. Somehow just as tall, at least from here. He doesn't…

That's as far as she gets before surprise overtakes her. Then horror at herself, the situation, him being there unexpectedly. Anger momentarily at Devon, because it'd be easy to blame him. It's all bowled over by a cacophonous mixture of more pressing emotions. Her ability or willingness to process is cut short by them. Her head starts swimming and her chest is tight, both feelings that intensify quickly, preventing her from getting any words out. Positive or negative.

She can't do this. Not now.

Emily begins to push herself to her feet with one hand, a single crutch held in the other. She can't bring herself to look at anything in particular. Fuck. It takes time to situate herself, time enough she could spend saying something —anything. She seems aware of that, but can't center herself enough to speak, either.

“I didn't—” Avi starts to say, but he never finishes the sentence. It's impossible to tell the full measure of his expression with those dark sunglasses on, but his mouth hangs agape long enough to visibly indicate he is rendered speechless. Behind him at the bar, Francis has turned to watch what's happening, but the gravity of the situation is lost on him.

Avi looks back at Devon, brows scrunching up, then back to his daughter trying to get up. He exhales a half-swallowed breath, tries to talk again but nothing comes out. Then, he lunges across the table like a wild old dog who never was housebroken. He grabs Devon by the collar with both hands, lifting him from his seat with surprising strength for a man his age and slams him up against the wall beside the booth.

What the fuck do you fucking think you're doing!?” Avi screams, eliciting a startle from everyone in the diner. Francis even looks stunned, staring in wide-eyed confusion at Avi’s reaction, frozen in his seat.

“My daughter!?” Avi shouts indignantly. “You want to fuck with me? Get me back?” Avi’s jaw is clenched shut, face reddened. “Go ahead and fuck with me but this crosses the fucking line!” Visibly shaken, Francis starts to get out of his seat, one hand gingerly motioning toward Avi.

“Hey— Hey Epstein, what's going on man?” Francis flicks a look at Emily, clearly not understanding who she is even with all of Avi’s screaming.

As Avi comes at him, Devon’s hands raise to meet him and only succeed in grabbing hold of his wrists. That’s probably all that keeps him from getting tangled in the booth when he’s physically dragged out of his seat and slammed into the wall. It rattles him, and bright specks flash along the edges of his vision for a second.

What!?” Dev’s voice is strained and cracks with shock and trying to keep those hands off his throat. “This has nothing to do with you! I didn’t… I wouldn’t… We’re just…” His eyes roll trying to find help explaining. Emily is preparing to leave, and right now he can’t really blame her, and Francis is… maybe helpful?

But he doesn’t ask there either. Devon’s gaze returns to Avi and he stares at his commander. If the wall weren’t keeping him from backing up, he’d be doing that, too. “We’re just talking… There’s no prank. I wouldn’t… It’s nothing like that!”

Emily's fully prepared to bolt without her second crutch, but then Avi loses his shit worse than she currently is, and she has a front row seat to it. There's no gasp, no 'no's, just another echo of "What the fuck do you think you're doing?!" shouted as he drags Devon from the booth. Her right hand curls around his jacket's bicep, trying to pull him back. Her grip slips.

The longer he screams, the more angry she gets. He's going to just carry on about her like she's not even there? No. No, fuck that.

"HEY!" She snares Avi by the collar and yanks him back and down, all of her weight behind the pull.

"The fuck business of yours is it, anyway?" she demands of him. "You fucking self-fucking-centered… You turn around and face me if you've got something to say! Do you hear me?"

At first Avi struggles against Emily’s weight and Francis all but recoils from her presence like she was a hot stovetop, wide-eyed and uncertain of how to de-escalate the situation or if he even should. He briefly meets Devon’s state and mouths a wordless what the fuck?.

Releasing Devon’s collar with a shove Avi wheels around to face Emily. “Don't you fucking start with me!” He immediately regrets shouting down at her, but the self-directed resentment only makes him more angry. “You don't get what's happening here!” Avi says with a brandished motion at Devon. “He's just using you to— fuck if I know— get a jab back at me!” He flicks a look to Devon and then back to Emily. “For fuck’s sake I thought you were smarter than this shit and,” Avi wheels around to point at Devon, “how the fuck did you find her!?

“Avi,” Francis whispers, gingerly trying to interject, “woah man, come on. Let's just go, ok?”

“This has nothing to do with you!” Devon rubs at his collar, but he doesn’t dare move any further. Those waving hands could very easily turn into swinging fists and he’d rather not experience those. Francis’ question only gets a look of help please. The idea of explaining what’s what seems like a very terrible idea.

“Will you shut up and listen to yourself?” That much Dev will say. To start with. He stares between Emily and Avi, but it’s the older man he’s directing his argument with. “There’s no using of anyone. Why would …On which world does that even make any sense?! If I wanted to get back at you for anything, I’d relocate the Tlanuwa to your dorm. What’s it any of your business anyway what I do or she does?”

Emily flinches visibly as he turns back, having no idea what to expect from him. It's a split second reaction followed by a hardening of her expression, and a rapidly-developing scowl at his insistence she just didn't get it. She'd hit him if she thought it would make her feel any better, or help the situation at all.

In dreams, especially since the fallout with her mother, he would occasionally appear to fill the role of the rational, understanding, supportive parent. It was stupid. But it also made this feel like an additional blow of betrayal. It hurt, hearing what sounded like disappointment … and it made her angrier. How dare he talk like he knew the first thing about her?

"No, you're the one who's not fucking getting it! This isn't about you, you idiot!" In the back of her mind, though, she knows the unspoken thing — that Devon knew who she was before she explained it. And Avi's reaction to all of this indicated he shouldn't. Devon would get his share of accusations later. For now, she's busy, her voice raising higher than before. "That dumb fucking idiot wouldn't be that malicious. And anyway, poor fucking you, right? Your daughter — you might have to see her when it's not convenient for you. Poor fucking Dad."

"I am smarter than this. But how would you know anyway? I've seen him more times in the last six months than I've seen you in the last ten years!"

She wasn't sure when she'd started shouting with every bit of energy in her body, but as soon as the words are out, her ears are ringing with the silence left after them. An exhilarating, terrifying silence. She stumbles a step back, hand on the booth's back to steady herself. The older couple seated in the booth behind theirs are both openly staring as the confrontation escalates, the woman turned around in her seat with rapt attention like she's watching a riveting soap opera. In some ways, after all, she is.

"Thanks for the call back to let me know you're still fucking alive, by the way."

Emily would keep going, but the words are caught in her throat before they can escape. No, Em, come on, don't do this. she thinks to herself, gritting her teeth to try and keep her composure, keep her eyes from watering.

Her hand balls into a fist by herself to help with that. "I …" she says softly, her shoulders are already caving with guilt and regret. She has to force herself to not apologize on the spot. He was the one with the overreaction here, after all. Even if she was terrified the canyon between them had only grown wider because of this, she would not apologize. Her shoulders tense again.

"Shut up, Devon." Emily advises, an edge to her voice. She can't get out anything else, apparently, so she'll opt for that.

Avi Epstein is rendered speechless.

There's a stillness in him that registers with the same touch of shock that comes from someone whose been shot. Devon’s seen the look before; not on Avi’s face, though. The color drains from Avi’s cheeks, his hands fall slack at his side and the fire of argument has all but left him. Even Francis has slinked out of arm’s reach, moving to the bar and laying down a wadded up handful of bills for the waitress. He doesn't foresee them finishing breakfast.

All Avi does after a moment of awkward silence is nod a couple of times and swallow loudly. “Yeah…” He breathlessly exhales, as if Emily had knocked the wind out of him. “Yeah that makes— Yeah.” There's a look back at Devon, mouth still partly agape and hidden stare inscrutable. Wetting his lips, Avi makes a croak of a noise as though he'd speak, then swallows loudly again and just shakes his head.

“Yeah.” Avi reiterates and backs up toward the door, then turns and makes a long-strifes limping escape toward the front of the diner. Francis briefly meets Emily and Devon’s eyes and mouths a wordless I'm sorry with a horrified look on his face as he starts to follow after Avi.

Even if he hadn’t been told to shut up, Emily’s rebuttal of the entire argument in one breath is enough to leave Devon lacking for words. He angles a deeply wary look to Avi, fully expecting some form of retaliation. He isn’t expecting the reaction he sees, and his brows draw down as caution shifts to uncertain concern.

His eyes follow as Avi leaves, and Dev nods at Francis’ unspoken word. He’ll figure out a way to thank the man later. As those two reach the door, he takes in a breath and looks at Emily, schooling his face to neutrality.

Just how good telling him off to his face felt is tempered by that nugget of remorse that grows as she sees his reaction. No, that was definitely not what she'd expected.

That's it? That's all he had? And now he was…

Emily starts to reach out for Avi's arm as he rushes past, drawing her hand back and across her stomach as he gets closer, like opposite poles repelling. She stares at nothing as he walks that close to her on his escape route.

No touch. No apology. No formal 'You're right.'

If she couldn't sympathize — because she had wanted to flee first, after all— she'd be screaming after him about how much of a coward he was being. She almost does anyway.

Emily lifts her head slightly to make eye contact with Devon. The outside of her hand brushes the corner of her eye like she might try to put herself back together and finish the lunch and the conversation, maybe even finally confiding in someone who wasn't Julie, but she stops on remembering the other horrible thing she'd just shouted.

The hair on the back of her neck raises as she suddenly becomes aware of all the eyes still on them. She looks over her shoulder and barks, "Mind your own fucking business!" across the restaurant, with a particular glare down at the couple seated behind them. She wasn't interested in hearing whatever Eugenia or whatever the fuck her name probably was trying to console her or otherwise offer her two cents.

She wordlessly leans over the booth to grab her other crutch from out under the table. Even if Devon tried to get her to stay despite everything that had just happened, she had a feeling she was going to be asked to leave.

Bells above the diner door chime again, this time as two people make their exit. There's a short screech of tires and an angry honk as Avi storms out across the street into the middle of traffic. Through the diner windows the entire patronage of the restaurant can see Francis following after him, making apologetic motions to the incensed drivers who almost plowed into him.

Eventually they disappear down the street.

The shrieking tires and blaring horn are enough to turn all eyes toward the window, including Devon’s. For the length of a heartbeat, shifts his weight like he might run out there, expecting to see someone run over. But when Avi and Francis both appear, still walking and on the far side of the offended vehicle, he relaxes just a little. Until he looks at Emily.

“C’mon.” His voice his quiet, and he’s very pointedly not looking at the other patrons who witnessed the… whatever just happened. He pulls out his wallet and leaves more than enough cash to cover his coffee on the table, probably enough to cover a couple of tables. Maybe he’ll be allowed back into the diner one day.

Stepping away from the wall, Dev motions Emily toward the door. “Let’s take a walk.”

Still leaning over the table, it's all too easy to see the crash as it almost happens. Emily shrinks back from the sight, eyes widened. Any composure or determination to do anything in particular is shattered by close call outside, her shoulders starting to shake. That would just be her luck — scream at him like that, and then he gets hit by a car.

She must be standing there with a blank expression for a while, as the next thing she registers is the gesture for them to make their exit as well. "No— Dev—" she starts, shaking her head hesitantly. "I should… I should just go."

"I'm…" she starts to say, then falters again. Saying glad to have seen you after what she'd said just now would be unforgivably callous. She closes her eyes, sucking in a breath. "I should go." she repeats.

She turns to make her way to the door at any rate, letting him open it so she can bolt as quickly as she can down the short stairway, then away from the building, crossing the parking lot …

Emily pauses once she hits the sidewalk, and turns back to wait for him to join her.

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