Fifteen Minutes


ignacio_icon.gif reena_icon.gif

Scene Title Fifteen Minutes
Synopsis Exes for a reason.
Date March 22, 2019

A coffeeshop in the Safe Zone.

Usually, Reena sends some farmhands to handle the markets in the Safe Zone. It isn't that she's avoiding New York, except in the sense that she doesn't generally enjoying going there and so goes out of her way to not… go there. But today, she decided to join the group heading to the city to sell the farm's eggs and milk for the week. She had to get out of the office or go crazy, basically. Right now, she isn't manning the stall in Red Hook Market. Instead, she's sitting outside a small coffee shop with a large mug and a biscuit. She looks overly serious, really, but maybe that's because she's only just started drinking her coffee. Or maybe that's just her face these days.

Nacho is, well…here more often than not, right? After all, he lives here. He goes places. Sometimes he goes to get coffee. It seems like today is one of those days, because he’s walking along with a bag in his hand that looks like it’s full of groceries, and he’s moving in the direction of the very place she’s sitting.

He doesn’t see her until it’s pretty much impossible to turn away and pretend he hasn’t, because there’s no way that at this point she wouldn’t see him, unless she’s staring at something and totally unaware of her surroundings. Reena is never that. He sighs inwardly, and maybe a little outwardly, but not enough to notice. Probably. “Mira quien vino,” he remarks with a little wry smile. “Out of all the coffee shops in all the world.”

Reena does see him, as evidenced by a shift in her seat and a suddenly annoyed expression on her face. She is in the middle of deciding if she's going to say anything or not when he makes the decision for her. She sets down her mug and looks over at him. "To think, that accent used to seem so sexy," she says, dryly. She glances to the bag, then to his face again before she uses a foot to push a chair out for him. "Sit down, Rodriguez. Wouldn't want your arms to get tired." There's a smile with her words, just a hint at the corner of her lips, but it's there.

The hint of annoyance actually makes Nacho’s smile widen a little bit. Probably one of the many reasons they broke up. “Mamita, it is sexy,” he retorts. “Just ‘cause I piss you off doesn’t mean you don’t like listening to me while I do it.” He looks at the chair she pushes out for him as though it’s a snake that might suddenly bite him, but eventually he does sit down, setting the bag down beside him. “Why you gotta be like that when I’m just trying to say hi? Damn.” However, he doesn’t actually sound that annoyed, more like he’s needling her — mostly good-naturedly, even. Not totally, but mostly.

His response makes Reena shake her head, like maybe she doesn't agree that he's nice to listen to. Imagine. Her eyes lift upward, imploring a deity she doesn't even believe in before she looks at him again. "I offered you a seat, didn't I?" she points out, because this was her great kindness. "Hi," she says, once he's settled, and she picks up her coffee again to sip at it. "How've you been?" She even sounds sincere when she asks. Her hands wrap around the cup, stealing some of its warmth for her fingers. "It's been a while."

“Oh, sure. Yeah. That made me feel really welcome.” Nacho stretches his legs out and crosses them at the ankles, stretching his arms out and lacing his fingers behind his head. He looks over at her at her last question, and the sincerity seems to surprise him somewhat. He masks it well pretty quickly, but not completely. “I’m good,” he says. “Living life. You know. How ‘bout you?” He can be nice, too. Sort of. At least he does seem interested. “Farm life getting you down?” Okay, so maybe not perfectly nice.

"The farm is good. Quiet. Calm," Reena says, that last word especially pointed. "Which is what I like about it." Which he already knows, of course, but she feels the need to explain it all the same. "Providence has been growing lately. I have some extra help. Extra help, extra profit. This year has been good for the farm." Partly due to extra need here in the Safe Zone, but still. Life, for Reena, appears to be work at the moment. Maybe for a while. "Things seem to be getting… better up here. I hope that's not just on the surface." The walls and authority of New York isn't her jam, but she doesn't necessarily want it to fail, either. People depend on it. And her livelihood depends on them being nearby.

Nacho just shakes his head at the word ‘calm.’ “Jesus. Shoot me now.” It’s mostly a joke — but at little too pointed to be completely one. He never was one for calm. Of course, she knows that. “Good for you guys, I guess. Good for us, too. You do bring good food.” It’s a compliment, though still with the slight edge that he’s had since he’s seen her. The one he’d had most of the time by the end, too. As for whether it’s better or not, well, he shrugs. “Seems to be,” he agrees. “Looks like things are looking up for all of us. Pretty great, right?” It’s only said a little bit dryly. “Guess it’s a good thing you left.” Is he a little bit bitter? Surely not.

Reena sets her mug down with more force than is really called for. Her chin lifts and she takes in a sharp, and irritated, breath. It's just like old times. "Guess it was," she says, making that bitterness more text than subtext, "no one was begging me to stay, either." She starts to get up to her feet, only lingering a moment to grab her biscuit. And to debate what to do about the coffee she's about to abandon. What she does not do is look at him, because she can feel the urge to argue with him pressing at her. And she's not supposed to have to do that anymore. "It was nice seeing you," she says, "I guess."

Nacho’s eyes widen with some indignance, and he opens his mouth to retort — it would probably be a mistake. But when she starts to get up, he shuts it again, and a little laugh escapes him. Slightly bitter, yes, but not as much anymore. More sad, really. “Can’t even last five minutes anymore, huh?” he remarks, and he reaches up to rub a hand over his face. “That’s depressing.” There’s a little pause, before he continues, “Yeah. Sure. You, too.” He doesn’t quite get up yet, though. Maybe he’s worried that they’d potentially be walking the same way.

A sigh answers him, at first. A tired sort of sound. And then Reena lowers herself back into her seat. "Was it only five minutes? It felt longer," she says with a wry tone. It's a joke. Mostly. She looks over at him with a shake of her head and a crooked smile. "You really do piss me off," she notes, even if he sounds nice doing it. "But I think I could last at least fifteen. For old times' sake." Teasing is easier, it would seem, as the tension in her shoulders eases off. "Tell me about work. How's la botanica," she asks, her accent much less practiced than his. Of course.

Nacho looks a little bit surprised when she sits down again, but he seems to let down a tiny bit of the guard he’d had ever since he saw her. It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly what it is, but she knew him pretty well, once upon a time. “Yeah, I know,” he says, a little bit less like he’s proud of it this time. He leans back again, settling in more. “It’s all right. You know. Not exactly a moneymaker but I’m doing okay.” He looks over at her again then with a little bit less of a hard smile this time. “Your accent still sucks, Reena.”

"It wasn't about the money, if I remember right," Reena says and she drinks from her coffee, because she might really need it now. In lieu of alcohol. His critique of her accent, though, that gets a quiet laugh. "Yeah well, I haven't spoken any Spanish in a while. And let's hear you try Mandarin, then we'll hear a bad accent." It's defensive, but only as a joke. She never was terribly sensitive about how badly she spoke what Spanish she tried. That was his specialty, after all. "I would ask you to come by the market," she says, but waves a hand toward his bag, "but I guess you're already covered. Still, if you needed something, we're there for a few days."

“Yeah, it wasn’t.” Nacho glances away again, but this time it isn’t because he seems annoyed at her. Maybe he just doesn’t quite want to look at her at that particular observation. “Ni hao,” he offers, before looking back at her again with a little smile at that, more the sort that they used to share and less like he’s trying to needle her to the point of escape. “Maybe I’ll swing by,” he says after studying her for a moment. “If you can stand the sight of me more than once a trip.” There’s another little pause, before he adds, “You look good.” Almost despite himself.

"Oh," Reena says on a groan, "see? Painful." She mirrors his smile, her hand reaching over to lay over his out of old habit rather than thought. When she realizes, she slides her hand back to her coffee. Her gaze falls there, too, as if it were suddenly the most interesting thing to look at. "It might not be me there," she says, tone still trying for more lighthearted, "but I think I could stomach it. If you're spending money, I might even endure it three times in one trip." She looks over at him, her smile softer, even though she's teasing.

The compliment takes her by surprise, it shows in a slow blink and her expression turning more subdued. "Thank you," she says, her voice quieter, "so do you."

Nacho looks down at her hand on his, and his smile pulls a little tighter, as do the corners of his eyes. He doesn’t pull it away, though — she does it soon enough herself, and he pulls his back then, but not quick enough that it makes it even more awkward, luckily. “Oh, well, if it’s not gonna be you there I see why you invited me.” But it’s a joke, falling back into his old pattern with her.

“Thanks.” He reaches up to run a hand back through his hair, scratching the side of his head for a second as he glances toward the door of the coffee shop, but just incidentally. “It’s amazing what being bitter as fuck does for your workout routine.” A little huff escapes him, mostly self-deprecating.

"I just didn't want you to think I invited you and stood you up," Reena says, flipping her hair back over a shoulder before she takes a moment to finish off her coffee. Which ends up being a mistake, because now she has nothing to busy herself with. Except spinning the cup in a slow circle against the table.

She looks away, as well, his words striking home. Maybe more than he meant them to. "I thought you might understand by now," she says, glancing back his way as she leans back in her chair, "why I had to go." Her tone is careful, like she's trying not to sound accusatory. That bitterness might be a group endeavor, but she's trying to keep hers level, at least.

“Don’t worry, I’ll assume you did anyway.” Again, it’s a joke, but the joking fades at her last words. He crosses his arms over his chest, leaning back a little bit more, which consequently puts him a little farther from her. Not that much, but a little.

“I understand,” he finally says, looking down and tapping his foot against the table leg. “Doesn’t mean it didn’t make me sad. Guess I need to work on shutting off my emotions a little more.”

"That's not what I meant," Reena says giving him a sidelong look. "You're always so difficult." She sighs, running a hand through her hair before she looks over at him. "I know it made you sad because it made me sad, too." It's clear that she has more to say, but she cuts herself off— probably before she says something she can't take back— and looks into her empty cup. The silence lingers while she sorts through her thoughts for something acceptable. What becomes clear by the way she looks anywhere but at him is that it isn't that is made her sad, but that it makes her sad.

"It isn't like I wanted to leave," she ends up saying, a sigh escaping as she leans against the table.

Nacho snorts, and replies, “So I’ve heard.” His arms uncross and he starts to drum his fingers on the table. He looks out, but it doesn’t seem as though he’s actually seeing anything — his eyes are unfocused, as though he’s lost in his own thoughts. Not enough to not hear what she’s saying, though, of course. No, unfortunately for him. “Yeah, sure. You didn’t want to.”

He looks over at her again then, just for a moment. “You know I didn’t mean you.” Not you, Reena. Just everyone else.

"How could you not mean me?" Reena asks, turning to meet his look. "And how is it supposed to make it better, even if I was an exception?" Her head tilts, as if she really wants an answer to all that. But, it's really not an answer she's looking for, it's change. But she doesn't wait for that, not more than a beat. "We fought a war over that kind of opinion. I'm too tired to fight another. I lost my brother to that opinion." She looks away then, her fingers tapping against the table. It's a soothing gesture, he knows her well enough to know that. She's much better at hiding from people who don't know her. Here, it's impossible.

Nacho sits up a little straighter then, turning toward her to face her properly. “Exactly,” he says, and in contrast to her calm, his voice is rising a little bit now. “How can you not want them to suffer for that? They deserve what they get for what they did to him.” He says him, and he does mean him, but she knows that’s not the only person he means. “The world is changing. For the better. Even if I get left behind, too.” Considering he may have the gene, but he doesn’t have anything else.

"I do," Reena says and she reaches over for him again, her hand taking his in a comforting gesture. Because she knows who else he means, his own piece of loss. "You know I do. But I can't hold an accident of birth against whole groups of people. Or agree that it makes one person better than another." She doesn't let go of his hand this time, maybe because she wants his attention. "But I do think the world is changing. Hopefully for the better. I just don't want to go through all that again. We won, qīn ài. You don't have to stay so angry." It comes out almost like a plea, please don't stay so angry.

On the one hand, Nacho doesn’t want her to let go, but on the other…well. He doesn’t jerk his hand away, though yeah, he’s angry. Of course, that’s not unusual, even if most people don’t see it. “We didn’t win,” he says, shaking his head. “We lost. We lost too much.” He stands up then, and consequently his hand slides out from under hers. “Good to see you,” he says, though he’s already looking away. “Glad you’re doing good.”

Reena brings her hand back to her empty mug when he stands up, her eyes squeezing shut for a few moments. "Yeah," she says to his last words, glancing up but not quite at him. "Good to see you, too." She leans back in her chair, finding something else to look at and finding herself wishing there had been something stronger than coffee in her cup this morning.

She glances to her watch. Not quite fifteen minutes.

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