Go West


elisabeth2_icon.gif laura_icon.gif

Scene Title Go West
Synopsis A chance encounter leads to discussions of present and future plans over coffee.
Date April 21, 2010

Le Rivage: Lobby

The lobby of Le Rivage is a haven of warmth compared to the ever-more-frigid temperatures outside; warm colors, comfortable furniture, and above all else heat. Even the sporadic blackouts haven't dented that yet, and if it's cooler than the traditional 70 F indoor temp, it's positively balmy compared to the atmosphere outside.

There isn't much to see through the lobby windows, in either direction; while the streets and sidewalks are still some semblance of clear, at least for a few blocks, there's still several feet of snow against the walls. Just high enough that Laura has to stand on one of the lobby chairs to actually see out — which she does without hesitation, nose plastered against the glass with blithe disregard for oil-marks her skin might leave behind. Though that doesn't last long — the glass is cold, and while the management may let smudges pass without (futile) comment, everyone will complain about the dislodged curtains and the insulation they aren't providing. Hopping down from the chair, Laura nudges the drapes back to their proper orientation, pursing her lips thoughtfully.

For all that she was contemplating the outdoor scenery, the young woman pretty clearly isn't dressed to go outside — russet pants, teal shirt, and lightweight dark brown jacket are not suited to those conditions in the slightest.

Elisabeth Harrison, on the other hand, most definitely is dressed for outside. Black-on-black work heavy winter gear, gloves, hat with only a big hole for the eyes. The latter she pulls off as she heads into the building, hoping to poke her head in on Abby while she's on this side of town. Her face is ruddy from the cold even where the hat was covering her — it's clearly arctic out there. Her heavy boots drop snow to the floor and the blond is careful to stomp it into a pile near the door and not track it across the carpet. Pausing a moment to look around the lobby, she runs a hand through her loose, staticky hair, making it stand up. People hanging out in the lobby with nothing better to do amuses her on strange levels.

As she looks around, blue eyes fall on Laura's form — she was, after all, just peeking out the window and Liz is curious about that peeking. Recognizing the woman, she offers a faint smile in greeting.

People hanging out in the lobby with nothing better to do are bored… and Liz has the misfortune of being a familiar face. If her smile is faint, Laura's is most definitely not.

"Elisabeth!" the younger woman greets effusively as she crosses the distance to the door, nose wrinkling briefly when she enters the zone of chill radiating off Liz and her cold-weather gear. "What brings you out to the middle of nowhere in this weather?" The question is asked with polite curiosity, followed by a crooked quirk of her lips as Laura considers the unruly cloud of blonde hair. "I think your hair's more lousy with static than mine gets, and that's saying something!"

"Fft," Elisabeth dismisses with a disgruntled look and then a laugh. "I swear to God, the mop stands straight up constantly nowadays." She runs a self-conscious hand through the mess, which only serves to make the baby-fine smaller strands surround her like a halo of blond, and then gives up on taming it. "Hey, Laura," she greets. "Work, mostly. I just finished a run and was in the neighborhood, so I thought I'd pop in and see a friend who lives in the building. I didn't realize you did too." Or so she assumes based on the fact that Laura's not dressed as if she just came in. "How're things going here?" Hey, at least there's power. The warmth is starting to trigger her nose to run too. Sheesh.

"Eh, we've got power for the moment," Laura replies, unconsciously echoing Liz's thoughts. "That'll probably go out — oh, sometime this afternoon." The words are cynical; her tone is not, cheerfully unconcerned about the possibility. They also implicitly confirm that the younger woman either lives here or is staying here for the duration. "'Course, I'm also going completely stir-crazy," she confides in that same chipper tone, albeit with more than a tinge of exasperation to color it now. "Vermont is looking pretty good right about now. Or maybe Virginia." Laura looks up at Liz, then shrugs. "Or somewhere. Ah, well. I guess if you're here to visit a friend already, it's not my role to play hostess and offer drinks, is it?"

"Go west," Elisabeth advises with a laugh. "Don't hang around on the Eastern seaboard. In other parts of the country, it's actually spring!" She shrugs a bit. "Hey, if you've got a pot of coffee on, I never turn down a hot cup. Anything's better than what the military calls coffee. I thought cop coffee was bad. Christ," she grouses good-naturedly. She's finally warm enough to start peeling her gloves off her fingers, rubbing them together to get the circulation going. "I take it business has been damn slow for you lately."

"'Damn slow,'" Laura echoes. "A fine description." Both businesses, although she can't exactly tell the former cop that. "Whereas you, I'd figure, have been damn busy." She crooks two fingers at Liz, then pivots around and starts for the stairwell. "Come on, then; coffee I can do. I'm only a couple floors up, so we'll skip the elevator — just in case," she remarks, grinning over her shoulder. "I've been west, actually," Laura continues, as they head upstairs. "Some of it anyway. Mostly way out west. Not a big fan of retreading old ground."

Following Laura toward the stairwell, unzipping her jacket as she moves, Elisabeth laughs. "Well…. I dunno. Go to Europe then. Anyplace is better than here right now." Well… maybe not ANYPLACE. She saw more snow in Antarctica, but hey… "Yeah, it's been really crazy," she admits as they hike up the stairwell. "People are scared and now convoys are being robbed of vaccines. So I've got guard duty on a run this afternoon along with escorting the relief trucks. People are starting to get less and less manageable at all the stops, too. The power outages aren't helping, but since a lot of the people in the city have been through this the past few years, they're kind of jaded to the power outage part — except where it concerns heat. We've had a lot of fires started by people using their barbecue grills for heating indoors." She grimaces. This reminds her of a couple winters ago, the pyro kid who set a whole tenement on fire accidently.

"Can't fly into Europe right now, otherwise I might; never been out that way… yet. Actually, I know someone in Ireland I could even go harass — but some volcano eruption in Iceland's closed most of the airports." Laura shakes her head as she ducks out onto the landing, and leads the way down the hall. "Great vaccine robberies, huh? I can't imagine being that scared — but I guess there's no comparison, really. All I've got to worry about are the usual diseases… and they never much bothered me."

Le Rivage: Laura's Apartment

The door that Laura unlocks and pushes open, gesturing Elisabeth in with a half-bow and an ostentatious flourish that can only be in jest — she's grinning too much — leads to a comfortably appointed but remarkably spare apartment. For all that this is a living space, truly personal touches seem lacking. There are several chairs and a couch in tasteful colors, framed prints hung on the walls, one real oil painting, an assortment of knicknacks on the decorative mantle, two narrow rugs arranged neatly on the floor… and one lonely flowerpot in the window, filled with the long, slender leaves of an Easter lily that's in bloom despite the wintry weather outside.

"Make yourself at home," Laura instructs her guest. "I'll get the coffee."

As she follows Laura into the apartment, Elisabeth tucks her hat and gloves into the jacket's pockets and then slips out of the heavy garment. She sets it near the front door where it won't drip on the floor or anything and walks toward the couch, which she sits down on gingerly. She's worried about getting Laura's apartment wet with her boots. "Yeah, I heard about it this morning." Elisabeth's tone is dry — it's a pretty bad situation when such a massive thing barely pings the radar. There's just too much going on in Liz's own world to take on those issues.

Laura stops at the kitchen door, eyeing the way Liz perches on the couch. "You can actually sit on it, don't worry," she informs the older woman with a grin. "Water won't hurt anything. And if it does, well, nothing that can't be replaced." And with that she ducks into the kitchen, vanishing into the noise of cupboard doors and dishes.

Liz has several minutes in which to admire the decor — or not — before Laura comes back out of the kitchen, coffee pot and mugs and various other things balanced on a large bamboo tray. "I've got sugar, milk, couple different kinds of creamer lying around," she says, setting the tray down on the table. "Didn't want to guess what you used. Take whatever." She, meanwhile, slides her own jacket off and drapes it across the back of a chair before also sitting down.

There's a tilt of her head and Elisabeth laughs. "I guess if the security business goes to hell, you can always make a living picking pockets, yeah? Probably a better skill to have than any of my own mundane ones." She pauses and asks, "What made you decide to go into security, anyway? Usually the people who do that are ex-cops." Or ex-criminals, but hey…. she popped up clean, so let's assume for the moment that something else drew her in? Bah… why bother? She works for Linderman, for God's sake.

"Nah," the woman disagrees, as she settles back in her chair, mug once more in hand. "Security business won't do that. People will always have things they want to safeguard. Picking pockets is also — well, it's quite high-risk for a generally low return." Laura takes a drink of coffee, arching her brows at Liz over the top of the cup. "That's an awful lot of whitewash to be slathering around," she observes, though her grin puts paid to any suggestion of offense taken well before it can even arise. "It's a pretty diverse field, actually, especially with as technical as security and detection systems are nowadays. I guess it goes way back to this internship I had in high school, though. Can't say I gave serious thought to much else after that, career-wise," she concludes, taking another sip of coffee. "What about you? Since I'm not an ex-cop, I can't say I have any particular insight into what takes people to that profession," Laura prompts, casting another smile at her guest.

There's a laugh, and Elisabeth shrugs. "It's a hazard of the job to be nosy about people. If I get too much so, feel free to kick me in the butt. Sorry." She sips her coffee and considers. "Both my parents were lawyers, so I grew up in a house where we always talked about the legal system and its merits and flaws. I didn't want to be a lawyer, but I did want to help people. I sucked at the whole biology thing, so doctoring and nursing were just plain out. I guess you could call it a calling…. I wanted to be a detective like you saw on television." She grins. "I actually always wanted to be a Charlie's Angel or the Bionic Woman, but if you tell anyone that, I'll totally deny it." She laughs self-consciously at herself. "Anyway, my parents were kind of horrified that I'd go be a cop, but they came around eventually."

"Oh, you can ask," Laura replies with a broad grin. "I just don't promise to answer." Setting her coffee mug back down on the table, the younger woman leans back in her chair, crossing one leg over the other's knee, and studies Liz obliquely. "Careful, lady," she advises deadpan, impish smile tugging at her lips. "Those kinds of confessions have a habit of coming back to haunt the people who make them." There's a beat of silence, and then Laura drops her foot to the floor and leans forward. She meets Liz's gaze across the table, then grins with bright cheer. "Just saying."

Elisabeth snorts with laughter, hiding most of it inside her coffee cup. If Laura only knew exactly how hard her ass has been bitten in the past year, she'd laugh herself into a stroke at how right she is. Or maybe be horrified. Hard to say. So Liz merely shrugs. "Believe me, I get it." Bringing her cup down again, she says mildly, "You don't like to talk about yourself much, do you?"

Wrapping both hands around her mug, Laura smiles serenely at Elisabeth. "I don't mind it. I just don't promise to answer anything you ask merely because you ask it." She regards the other woman quizzically. "Would you?" she counters, before taking another drink of coffee.

"No… and I wouldn't expect you to either. Which would be why I didn't ask for any kind of promise." Elisabeth's smile is faint but still present. "I have to admit that I find the idea of computer security interesting, but I never really had enough interest in the things to sit in front of a desk all day. It sounds as if your business is a bit more involved than that, though. Which is good." Reaching back to scratch the back of her neck, she admits, "Never know, I could be looking for a job one of these days in the private sector. So I admit that my interest is perhaps a little more than casual."

"My business is a lot of things," Laura replies, around another sip of coffee. "It keeps me busy — when the weather cooperates," she amends with a crooked smile. "Can't say I'm in the market for an apprentice," the younger woman continues. "Maybe in another decade. Mind you, I do know most everyone in the business, beyond a certain level, so if you're really serious…" No modesty inherent in that statement, false or otherwise. Laura considers the subject for a moment, then shrugs. "Cross that bridge if it comes up, yeah?"

"Definitely," Elisabeth says mildly. "I'm not in the market as yet — I'd like to see where this new career path takes me first. But eventually, perhaps." She sighs and then takes a long swallow of her coffee before setting the cup down. "As much as I'd rather stay here, I suppose I have to get back on the job. Thank you, Laura… the coffee and the few minutes to just sit are more than appreciated."

Rising to her feet, Laura grins. "Hey, purely selfish interest here: you walk out that door and it's back to climbing walls for me," she quips, though her manifest good cheer pokes all kinds of holes in the complaint as such. "Try not to freeze solid out there — can't possibly be good for any career path," the younger woman continues as she pads over to open the door for Liz.

"Fft," Elisabeth replies with a grin as she moves to stand, picking up her coat and the attendant winter gear as she walks toward the door. "I'm getting used to feeling like a popsicle, what're you talking about?" she quips. Pausing by the door, she says with a smile, "Thanks for the coffee, lady. Hang in there. Weather's gotta break someday, right?"

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