Hold Out Hope


colette_icon.gif sean_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Holding Out Hope
Synopsis Colette, Sean and Zachery meet through the means of spilled coffee, flying wraps and idle chit chat.
Date September 15, 2008

Piccoli's Delicatessen

Everything about Piccoli's is welcoming. There's a large, cheerful neon sign mounted on the roof, the interior is brightly lit and spotlessly clean, and the old-fashioned decor is more reminiscent of mother's kitchen than a successful business. Since the doors opened in 1946, Piccoli's has been best known for pastrami, hot dogs, corned beef, and salami. The wait can sometimes be a little long, but the prices are reasonable and the food is always worth it.

The lunch-rush at Piccoli's is always large, espescially with so many alternative eateries having gone out of business in the last two years — either as a direct result of the blast, or from the financial fallout that has crippled large portions of the city. Within the eatery, construction workers, civil engineers, and dozens of professionals on their lunch-breaks crowd the popular eatery.

The proliferation of orange-vested workers lined up to get their meals is in no small part thans to the exhaustive construction work going on outside. Repairs to the streets and buildings of Little Italy going on as a part of the Big Push to get the main thouroughways that inter-connect the vast majority of the northern and southern portions of the city back to pre-bomb conditions, while at the same time moving forward towards the blast zone one day at a time. Two years in, and there's still no sign of an end to the recovery.

In the diner this warm and sunny day, conversation falls in a droning murmur of topics ranging from the financial crisis that is crippling the New York economy, to the myriad of "graffiti attacks" done on the urban centers of this portion of the city several days ago. A black-and-white photograph of one of the images, displaying a surrealist depiction of a plant growing up out of the ruins of Midtown with several grubby street workers looking up at it is prominantly displayed on the wall near the entrance, taken by a local photographer.

"Scuse me," Then there's those without much to converse about, "Ah, oh, um — Oh sorry!" Trying to manage a backpack that seems stuffed to capacity, a messenger bag slung over her shoulders, and a tray with her lunch on it, a young girl works her way between several people in the ordering line, trying to make a path towards one of the unoccupied booths by the front window. "Sorry!" She sqeaks out an apology after pummeling someone with her backpack. Her clumsyness could possibly be attributed both to her burden she carries, and her one of her eyes being quite obviously blinded.

"Nyaaah!" She trips over someone's briefcase by their chair, the tray with her wrap and coffee sailing through the air, and her arms flailing. It's possible she's merely a klutz.

The very genuine aura of a newcomer or tourist surrounds the baldish man who approaches the eatery due to the presence of a map that is clung within his hands. Beads of sweat from exertion due to walking have formed on his brow and the crowds of individuals certainly do nothing to dissuade them. Having weaseled his way amongst and through the lines with soft words, gentler smiles and in reality mostly just waiting his turn, the man is making his way towards the same booth that was previously stated as being unoccupied, making it a prime target in the climate.

"Pardon me," Sean's barritone voice speaks towards the nearest suit who seems to be pushing his way past him. Slung also over his shoulders is a backpack which is the cause for the apology as it clips a nearby patron in the back of the head as they sit. "Sorry, excuse me, pardon me, sorry." The words come as a chant repeated over and over again as the floor falls away and he finally reaches the unoccupied oasis. Destination in sight, footfalls come a little bit more quickly until an abrupt movement to the side of vision cause him to turn in time to catch a rather blatant 'Nyaaah' sound.

"Is a pterodactyl attacking?" The words spill out of his mouth as he turns, tray in hand which recieves upon it a rather tasty looking wrap that lands squarely upon it as if placed there by purpose. The smile that appears on Sean's lips however fades as his brow furrows and an abrupt, "YEOOOWCH!" expels from his lips as the container holding the coffee spins at his feet, the front of his pants coated in the rather warm liquid.

First a 'nyaaah', now a 'YEOOOWCH'. Obviously Zachery has chosen a rather poor place to sit and try to eat his lunch. The coroner is currently off-duty and is sitting at an otherwise empty booth near the one neither Sean nor Colette never reached. He's opted for the pastrami, and was having a fairly good time looking around and observing random people until he was distracted from all of that by the nearby yelling.

"That… has got to hurt" He can't help but crack a grin, though, seeing the look on both Sean and Colette's faces. Flailing arms and people in distress are always good for a bit of entertainment. But never fear! Zachery will come to your very ineffective rescue. With every sign of trying hold back a chuckle on his face, he grabs a couple of paper napkins next to his lunch and offers them in the direction of the spilling. "You might want to dry yourself off a bit." Then, glancing to Colette, he mumbles, "And you might want to sit down before you hurt yourself as well."

Landing on her hands and knees, her messenger bag having dragged her to the ground, Colette fumbles for her upturned tray with shaky hands, "O-oh God, I'm so sorry!" Her words spill out of her mouth at a rambling rate, "I-I'm such a — Oh I'm so sorry! I'm sorry!" There's a momentarially fearful look in her eyes as she peers up at the man she spilled coffee on, an expectant look of fright in her eyes, like a dog that knows when it's about to be physically reprimanded. It lessens, but doesn't fade entirely as another stranger comes walking over, helping to sop up the caffenated mess on the floor. A few other customers quietly laugh, trying to 'politely' keep their amusement to themselves.

"I — I'm so sorry." She whimpers out, crawling up to her knees as she tries to realign her messenger-bag to the proper place on her shoulders. She turns to regard the man wiping up the mess, teeth pressing down on her lower lip as she does, her mis-matched eyes peering thorugh her bangs at him. "I… I'm really sorry." She ducks her head, swallowing awkwardly as she rises up with the tray in hand.

The grimace still is present on the man's face for several moments before he takes a deep breath and adjusts his standing posture so that the soaked area of the pants hang a little more loosely and doesn't press against his skin. After those moments he manages to take another breath, open his eyes and smile. With a rather kindly look, he shakes his head towards the young woman who is apologizing so fretfully. "It's alright, it was an accident." He smiles again reassuringly before nodding gratitude towards the gentleman who brought him the napkins. "Thank you… I appreciate it."

Turning, the bald man casts rather stern looks now, instead of at the girl who tripped those who are laughing and snickering before attention reverts back to the two. "At least I caught your lunch, do you need something else to drink? I can get it for you?" The words are spoken even as he balances his tray in one hand and attempts to subtlely dry off his pants… which is far more difficult than one might think to subtlely pat yourself.

"Ah — N-no no…" The girl dismisses the offer with a haphazard wave of one hand, "It's fine, I'm fine," She spots her wrap on his tray, furrowing her brow as if considering whether or not she'll even make the attempt to claim it. Her eyes dart over to the other man, giving him an awkward smile as she starts to edge away from the two, seemingly willing to forsake her entire lunch instead of simply asking for the precariously placed wrap back.

As she backs up, the girl looks through the front windows of the deli to the street where a pair of patrol officers walk, having a conversation with one another. She falters, making a distasteful expression before turning her focus back to the gentleman she nearly scalded with her coffee, "U-um, you…" She motions with one finger in a circle at his tray, "My ah…" Her eyes wander, not making direct eye-contact.

Sean's blue eyes seem attentive as he watches the girl and her mannerisms before smiling softly and reaching down to his tray after having set the wet napkins on it. Picking up the girl's wrap, he holds it out to her before pausing, "What's your name?" He asks before handing it to her with a slight mischevious look in his expression. Before waiting too much for a response, he looks over towards the other man. "Again, thank you Mister…?" He asks, fishing for a name.

"Miller." There's a slight twitch of his eye as the man fights the urge to correct Sean. Doctor Miller! But no, let's not be all high and mighty for once. Let's be normal! Ish. "Or, uh. Zachery. You're welcome. Hope it didn't burn too much." He frowns, then, thinking. "Though to be honest I haven't actually ever seen a coffee-related death, so I'm sure—" He stops himself there, mid-breath. Yeah, so much for that whole 'normal' thing.

Colette looks up as the wrap is brandishes in her direction, though at the request for her name she falters, looking nervous for a moment. "Ah," Her brow tenses, "C-Colette." She reaches out for the wrap hesitantly, then glances over to Mister Miller as he makes his introduction. The girl seems to retreat a bit into herself, looking anxiously between the two older men, the fingers on her outstretched hand curling back towards her palm like the petals on a wilting flower.

The wrap is handed over to Colette as the man smiles towards her then towards Miller. "Coffee burn related deaths in short coming these days? Hmm, that must be a good thing for Starbucks then." Smiling at the little joke, he looks back towards Colette. "How old are you Colette? As in, why aren't you in school."

"Oh yes, it's all in the soda business now. Carbon dioxide's a killer. Coca Cola's going down." The coroner smirks, then looks to Colette— finally noticing her discoloured eye. How very interesting. He continues to stare for a moment, as though she wasn't feeling uncomfortable enough already. Huh.

Colette takes the wrap, withdrawing with it like a timid animal would at an offering. She settles it down on her plate, halfway ready to backpedal towards an unoccupied table as the question is asked of her. There's a look on her face, something clearly laden with distrust, but there's also a worrisome sense of compliance — worrisome in the fact that she seems mildly afraid of the man she had spilt her coffee on. "Sixteen." She doesn't answer any further, teeth pressing down on her lower lip, eyes diverting to the floor as she stands still, as if waiting for a verbal rebuking.

"Sixteen hmm? Well then at Sixteen you should be in school." Sean informs her quietly, "And I expect to see you there tomorrow. Even if you dont' know where to go, you come to Washington. Eight AM sharp, you understand?" The bald man asks tilting his head with a gentle tone. His attention then shifts towards Miller and he grins a bit towards him, "Pepsi is evil, at least Coke is tasty."

Zachery continues to frown, but now at both Sean and Colette instead of just at the poor girl. "Tasty with teethrotting death." He mutters under his breath, barely loud enough for either of them to hear. Sean's command of sorts keeps his attention where it is, though, and he quirks a brow, glancing to the girl to see her response.

Colette's brow furrows at the request, and she takes on an indignant expression, "Or you can go f — " She winces, just barely censoring herself as she realizes that may not be the best time to mouth-off to someone, right after nearly giving them third degree burns with coffee. "No, thanks." She says with a distasteful tone of voice, "Thanks for the concern, but, yeah… No." She withdraws further, edging over towards that unoccupied table, but this time she just sets down her tray and lifts up the flap of her messenger bag, ensuring that the white paper on her wrap is still taped closed, and then pockets that into the bag. "Sorry about the coffee," She adds hastily, beginning to edge towards the door.

The bald man looks towards the door as the young woman makes her escape. He simply smiles towards her though and nods his head, "We'll see. Washington High, 8 AM." He then turns back towards the other adult and sighs softly, "So many young people today are so lost."

Zachery smirks, looking contemplatively down at his lunch as he ponders whether he should give up on trying to finish it. Maybe if he didn't forget to eat half of the time, his stomach would be used to having little more content. "Lost is one way of putting it. But she's a flighty one, for sure." Then, looking back up with half lidded eyes and an entirely unconvinced look on his face, he asks, "Do you really think she'll show up?"

Colette makes her way around the edge of the deli, finally finding her way to the door. She presses up against it, peering down both sides of the street from inside, as if looking for someone. Then, hastily, she pushes the door open — nearly colliding with a couple walking down the sidewalk. Even as the door closes Zachery and Sean can hear her squeaking out apologies as she backpedals from them, hurrying out of sight and across the street, soon disappearing into urban sprawl.

Glancing over at the retreating figure, the man shakes his head, "No. I don't think so. Not this time yet." He pauses then and smiles. "But eventually. It is human nature I think to want to strive to be better than what you are… and only knowledge brings that." Coughing, the man actually blushes a bit, "Sorry. Sean Reagan. I'm a teacher at the school."

"Something tells me that knowledge isn't what she's looking for." Zachery replies, finally pushing his hands onto his table in preparation to get up. "Then again- I'm not exactly an expert on teenagers. I work at the morgue in Harlem. Not quite so much social interaction with the youngsters that I come across." If he realized exactly how creepy this might sound, he'd flinch. No such luck, though.

That gives Sean a moment to pause and blink before nodding, "Not my preferred line of work… never been good around corpses when I've been about them, always made me throw up." Clearing his throat a bit the man then shrugs, "And I dont know everything about teenagers either, I just hold out hope in humanity, that there's something still left to us despite.. everything."

Zachery grins, giving a shrug of his own as he stands. "Hope can keep a man going. And… who knows. You might see, uh," He motions loosely in the direction of the door before remembering, "Colette. She might come showing tomorrow. Demanding a new cup of coffee."

"As long as it doesn't end up on my pants." Sean responds quietly then sighs softly, "Well, I was going to sit and eat but unfortunately the diversion ate up most of my time… if you'll excuse me?" After a moment, he adds, "And when I remember, I'll bring some napkins by the morgue, for repayment."

Zachery smiles somewhat unpleasantly - maybe due to the fact that he is very rarely actually nice to someone without cause, and he's not very practiced in the arts - and nods. "Excellent. They'll be put to good use." With that, he turns to head toward the door as well.

So I was down at Piccoli's getting lunch...

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