Hot In Here Indeed


elisabeth_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Hot In Here Indeed
Synopsis The Nite Owl sees some patrons.
Date Aug 2, 2010

The Nite Owl

When you live out of a suitcase for several years traveling the globe, the one thing that you seek out, above all else, is a good place to fill your belly and enjoy a quiet time watching folk. Starbucks rarely fits that bill, but the Nite Owl in Chelsea fits that mould nicely. The smell of deep-fried goodness can be detected from almost a block away, and heart-healthy meals like 4 egg bacon omelets covered with three kinds of cheese or the grilled-cheese hamburger are the order of the day.

Jaiden sits quietly in the back booth, facing the door, his back to the wall as his custom, with a Macbook Pro open on the worn table in front of him. He's typing something out with his left hand, a coffee cup held in his right, sipping occasionally as he checks his e-mail and works on, what he hopes, is a story that may get some people's attention. A scrap of paper at the end of the table indicates that his order has been placed but hasn't been delivered, and the pot of coffee at the table is about half-full, but still steaming.

As she slips in the door, making the bell above it tinkle merrily, the shorts and tank-clad blonde is treated to a bit of a scolding from behind the counter. The older woman who seems to at least run the place, perhaps even owns it, doesn't pull punches. "Thought you fell off the face of the world again," she snorts.

Elisabeth simply greets her with an affectionate grin and a roll of her blue eyes. "You tell him I want my bacon crispy this time," she retorts. "No punishing me with floppy stuff in my BLT, Natasha." She winks at the older lady, taking the seat in the booth next to counter, her back to the kitchen where she can watch the door. It coincidentally enough puts her right next to Jaiden, at whom she nods companionably. "Hey."

Coffee makes a rapid appearance at the table, and then it seems to be business as usual.

The bell does a wonderful job of heralding a person's arrival and would have been appropriate enough if it weren't for the boisterous explosion of scolding from the lady who just came in from the woman stationed behind the counter. Jaiden's eyes rise slightly from the screen to regard the nicely-shaped woman as she saunters along the counter to take a seat very near to where he is, giving him quite a lovely view of her backside as she takes a seat. When she turns and speaks to him, though, he gives a bright smile and closes his laptop with a easy motion, turning to regard her more fully.

"G'day, miss. Should I worry about the bacon I ordered with my omelette being as limp as a politician's backbone, or will your orders to the back take care of that problem for me?" He takes a sip of his coffee from the chipped porcelain cup, setting it back down on the table after a moment or two.

A soft snicker is accompanied by a twinkle in those bright blue eyes. "Aw, he only makes it limp if he's personally annoyed that you haven't shown up in a couple of weeks," Liz replies easily. "I make it a point to try to get in here once a week or so. They're … " She shrugs. "They work damn hard to make sure people have a place to go even in the worst conditions."

Taking a sip of her coffee, Elisabeth studies the man over the rim. As she sets it down again, she holds out her hand. "Liz. Cute accent, by the way," she offers.

"Good people." Jaiden nods a couple of times. "Not many of them around these parts nowadays. They look out for their own, or anyone who needs it? That's what separates the real samaritans from the ones that do it just to look good for other folk. You talkin' like you are makes me think they don't hold any prejudice against anyone." He pauses for a moment. "I like that."

His coffee cup is set aside, the guy reaching out with his right hand to take hers, giving it a light, yet firm shake. "Pleasure to meet you Miss. I'm Jaiden, and yes, I'm Australian."

His cheeks do colour a little at the compliment, though. "Cute everything on your end, lass."

Elisabeth doesn't blush, she simply grins a twinkling smile. "Well, thank you very much." She settles back into her seat when he releases her hand and says, "They look after pretty much anyone who needs it," she adds by way of reply to his request. "They've taken in any number of kids who need a job. They stayed open in the middle of the storm of the millenium so that the cops and emergency workers had fresh coffee and food. They're the very definition of good people," she says, her affection for the lady at the counter and presumably the man at the grill evident.

Jaiden turns slightly, reclining in the bench seat of the booth, one leg up on the seat with his foot hanging off, the other on the floor, one elbow resting on the table, the other on the back of the booth. It's a very comfortable-looking seating position, to be perfectly honest. "I heard about a few places like that during the storm, but didn't have a chance to really get out and look. I was busy keeping my garage running to keep people from freezing to death. Once it started getting cold I blocked up the windows with hay bales, fired up the generator and heater, and took all comers. Thank god it broke before things started getting worse." He sits up slightly at the sight of a plate piled high coming into view in the window. "Please don't think I'm rude, but breakfast is about to arrive and I am famished. I would like to continue our conversation, though. It's rare that I have such a lovely companion near my table."

"By all means, eat it while it's hot," Elisabeth replies on a laugh. "You can't offend me… well, you could but only if your table manners are questionable," she adds. She props both her feet on the seat of the bench on the other side of her own table and crosses them at the ankle. They're in close enough proximity to chat easily enough, so she doesnt' seem to feel the need to invite herself into his space.

Once his plate's been set down and her coffee's topped off — she gets a wink from Natasha as the woman heads back around to the counter, too! Cute man! — Elisabeth comments, "Must have been pretty tough going, shoring up a basement shelter like that." Something in the way she studies him is sharper now, though not hostile or overtly suspicious. "Probably good you weren't out on the streets much. It was so goddamn cold, we had engines in some of the vehicles freezing up. Saw several pile-ups on the bridges. It was pretty insane out there. I can't seem to get enough of the warm weather now, myself."

"Don't tempt me, Liz. I'm sure I could come up with something offensive, but let's be perfectly honest, civilization demands that I do not do such a thing. Polite company demands no less, after all." The plate set down in front of Jaiden is piled high with scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and a pair of biscuits that could pass for pillows on a small bed, his eyes getting a little wider at the sight of it. "Blimey….that'll teach me to order the large breakfast, won't it?" He blinks after a moment, looking over to Liz before snagging a bit of bacon and chewing.

"Aye, it was pretty bad. Pipes burst, a few engine blocks did too that I was working on." he shifts slightly in his seat. "I had one kid actually sit and keep heat on the pipes to keep them from shattering from the cold. He had to trade out with the others every once in a while because it was the warmest place in the garage. Now, it wasn't freezing, but it wasn't too comfortable either." His fork stabs down, getting some fluffy egg, Jaiden eating and swallowing before he speaks again. "Mind if I ask how you knew I had a basement shelter? Didn't mention it when I told you about my garage earlier."

She laughs at the look on his face when the food lands in front of him. The Nite Owl does not joke about food. "I think they've forgotten we don't all need the extra calories to combat the cold anymore," Liz giggles softly.

"And actually it was a misspeak on my part," Elisabeth acknowledges mildly. "Garages tend not to be insulated, so even with hay bales and a generator, I'm surprised you were able to keep it warm enough. Most people who managed were using basements." She shrugs a bit, looking up as her own plate with its triple-decker BLT, fresh french fries, and pickle gets set down. "Thanks, Natasha," she says with another smile at the woman. Then she looks back at Jaiden and adds mildly, "I was out on the streets enough to know what works and what doesn't, so if it was a mistaken assumption, I'm sorry."

Jaiden nods and goes about devouring his breakfast, pausing now and again to take a breath or a swallow of coffee. Once the plate is down to about 3/4ths full, he pauses and speaks. "The storm was horrible. I had to stay indoors to keep the people who were with me from going stir crazy or trying to go out and help. I was equipped well enough to keep a pretty sizable group warm, but if they left, there went heat and blankets. I did make the trip out every day or so to check on a few people I knew who were holed up in small houses, trying to keep warm, bringing them canned goods and bottles of propane. Thank god I had cold weather gear stashed. Benefits of having a plan for most any situation."

"It wasn't a mistaken assumption. Just a good one. I didn't really broadcast, and I'm sure you understand why."

Liz nods slightly. "Yeah, I know why." She picks up her sandwich and starts to eat, talking around the bite politely. "You'd have been mugged for what you had stocked," she states with the air of someone who's absolutely dead certain of that outcome. "Sounds like you're good people too," she comments with a smile after she swallows. "Do you like rebuilding engines?"

"Mugged or worse. Best thing I could have done was keep quiet because…" Jaiden shakes his head. "Seein' people killing over the smallest comforts is something I really don't want to have to experience again. Anyway…." He waves away the bad memories with a flick of his wrist, diving back into the breakfast plate. "Thankee very much, Liz, and aye, I do enjoy rebuilding engines. My pension takes care of a lot, but working on cars is something I do for enjoyment. Keeps my fingers nimble and brings in a few extra dollars every month that goes to good use."

"Everyone should do something they enjoy as a passtime. If it makes a bit of money, so much the better, yeah?" Elisabeth asks around a french fry. "I figure I'll maybe someday use my hobby and go back to teaching." She gestures toward the door. "I used to be a music teacher down at Washington Irving — the high school just down the block." The one in ruins, blown to smithereens by the Vanguard nearly two years ago. "It's a good fallback. Everyone needs teachers."

Jaiden nods, pointing with his fork to punctuate his words. "You've got to have something to keep you sharp, otherwise you get dull. Finding time to keep in shape is tough, finding time to do everything that I need to do in a day is tougher, but it's really fufilling, looking back once everything is done." He takes a bite or two. "What do you do now, Liz, aside from chatting up random Australians in cafes?"

Elisabeth laughs at that. "Uhm….. well, now I'm leery of telling you," she admits with a bit of a smile. "I'm a FRONTLINE officer. They recruited me off the NYPD. Teaching was sort of … a hiatus for me. I took a couple years off the PD after the Midtown Bomb." Her tone is calm, but there's a flash of deeper emotion that she can't quite hide across her face. She explains it succinctly. "I lost my mother and I didn't want to Register at the time. When the fuckers blew up my school and killed my kids, I went back on the job."

Jaiden goes quiet as he speaks, lowering his head and closing his eyes at the mention of fallen children and friends. "I heard about that and I can understand wanting to get back to it and forget what happened. I wasn't sure of what was going on…No-one was. I think I just put my head down and hoped it would go away, but both you and I know that isn't nearly that easy. And when people do get a glimpse of what's coming in the future, it makes things even crazier…more chaotic. Will what I'm doing now play into what I saw in the future? If I try to avoid it, will it make a difference?" He chuckles. "It's enough to drive a person mad." He pauses, taking another bite or three of his food, the pile of protein dwindling. "FRONTLINE, eh? I've only heard bits and pieces about that group. Something about a group of Evolved working for the government as a kind of swat team for the real troublemakers, if I recall properly." He doesn't lower his voice when he says this but doesn't go out of his way to broadcast it either.

There's a wrinkle of her nose, and Elisabeth admits around a french fry, "I hate the vaguaries of time travel. It is beyond complicated, and it makes you run around in circles second-guessing everything." And she shrugs a little to his description. "Sounds basically right — right now, the highest priorities are people like Humanis First cells, who target Evos just for existing, and Evos with destructive abilities that the regular law enforcement routes can't really handle. Similar to the SCOUT squad that NYPD tried out." She pauses and comments quietly, "It's…. a fine tightrope to walk, if you want the truth. I still don't think Registration is the right thing to do. It just paints a huge target on everyone. Not just for the Humanis First types either." She shrugs a little. "But there's a bigger picture, too, I guess. And I keep hoping I'm doing more good than harm."

There's a grumble at the mention of Humanis First, Jaiden shaking his head sadly. "People like that, I don't know if there's any hope for them. They just need to hate and find a reason to do it. Doesn't matter if they're Jewish, black, mexican…whatever. If they have a target they hate it and think the world'll be a better place once the source of that hatred is missing. I just hope something happens before the registration really hits full force. I don't agree with it. At all. It's like the internment camps here during World War II, or the lost generation of the Aboriginies. It's wrong. It's making life harder. It's hell." Jaden pushes his plate away, cleared save for a few strips of bacon, his appetite well and truly lost. "You have to do the right thing, no matter what happens. As long as you can look yourself in the mirror at night,you're doing okay. That's more than I can say for a lot of people."

For a long moment, Elisabeth looks at him and then laughs softly. "It seems a lot of us are drawing that comparison. You think if we shout loud enough and stand up and wave our arms or …. I don't know, get a TV reporter to actually report on it, someone might listen?" She smirks faintly, her tone sarcastic as she asked about it. "I used to know some people…. underground, as it were. They sort of tried to go the reporting route. It didn't seem to do them much good." She glances at him. "Used to go by the name Phoenix," she admits mildly. He may or may not know of it. "Nowadays…. " She purses her lips and gets a wicked little twinkle back. "Let's just say nowadays I've definitely found more than one way to do an end run around the quarterback so that the 'right thing' happens even if it's not the 'right thing', if you know what I mean."

The Australian chuckles, that mischievous twinkle reflecting back, that impish smile appearing for a moment, then vanishing as quick as it came, leaving a playful smirk. "Liz, if there were more folk like that, this world would be a much better place. Me, I've done freelancing and a few folk here and there have asked me to start writing again - about what's going on here, in the land of the free…or what passes for it. It's not much but at least it's getting some stories out there about what's going on." He shakes his head lightly. "I'm not familiar with that group, I'm afraid. I've only heard of the major ones…I've kind of tried to keep my nose out of it and off the registration rolls, but it looks like I may have to speak up, since so few people are for the right side."

There's a tilt of her head. "You're a reporter?" Liz asks, apparently now the one a little ill at ease. "Well… I do hope I don't see my name in an expose. Christ…. I think my boss might burn me in effigy if I wind up in any more escapades. Public ones, that is." She grins, picking up her coffee and sipping from it. Her blue eyes narrow slightly and she glances around the diner. They're sitting closely enough that she can make this work easily enough — she might have done it without his notice earlier, still allowing outside sounds in while keeping their conversation private to only them. But now she dampens all the noise around them so that he can no longer hear the clinks and swishes of movement outside the boundaries of the tables. Her feet remain on the bench across from her, crossed at the ankles as they've been since the two started chatting — an indicator that she's making no moves to become a threat.

"The way you just said that is something of a red flag that perhaps you are also one of the people specifically targeted in this kind of Registration round-up," Elisabeth says quietly. "Personally? I don't think you should and presuming you're not technically a citizen at the moment, they can't actually force you to take the test. Be very sure before you put your names on their rosters, Jaiden."

"Reporter, yes. Retired, but asked to get back in by a gentleman named Richard that I met in a bar the other evening. It's something I'm considering doing, and if a story comes up with you being involved, your name, description, and anything that could link Frontline to you or vice versa…off the books entirely. Keeping one's sources close to the vest is an important thing whenever you have people who might kill your sources for sharing information." As the sounds fade away to nothingness, Jaiden does not panic, make any sudden movements, or do anything that could be considered threatening, finding the silent ringing of the bell at the door to be quite fascinating for a moment or two before he turns his attention back to Liz.

"My status as one of the aformentioned targets for registration notwithstanding, assuming I were one of the evolved, I would do the same thing I advise anyone who I meet in the same situation; do not register and if it looks like you'll be forced, find somewhere to hide. Immediately." Jaden's voice is soft and calm, a grin appearing to diffuse the situation. "I take it that you're doing this with sound? It's a neat trick."

"It is a neat trick," Elisabeth acknowledges with a faint grin around her coffee cup. "It lets me have absolutely private conversations in public. And since I wouldn't want to let you confirm or deny or otherwise give hints that you might be one of the aforementioned Evolved types in a diner that is frequented by cops and feds alike, I figured I'd do you the favor of keeping our words to ourselves." She shrugs easily. "If such a time comes that you might need that place to hide for yourself…. " There's a pause. "Call me. I know some people who do what you do … only they also smuggle people the hell out of Dodge." She sets her cup down and then grins.

"Here," Elisabeth says as she pulls out a pen and scrawls her cell number on a napkin. "Though if you call me or text me and it's not rescue related, that wouldn't hurt my feelings either."

"I could see you being popular with people who want to keep their secrets from prying ears. Your shape helps a lot too." Jaiden gives a playful wink, reaching down into his hip pocket for one of his business cards - a folded, self-printed one with the name of his garage, a phone number, and an e-mail address that he slides across the table, taking the one she gives him.

"I think I'm doing okay, as far as having a way out of the country to somewhere safe, but that said, I'll keep you in mind just in case the balloon goes up and I need to leave something fierce. And who knows?" That dimpled smile appears, the guy reaching over to pat Liz's foot lightly, right on the tip of her toes. "Running for my life isn't the only reason I'd give you a call. Perhaps we could confirm, at some point, whether or not I'm a member of the aforementioned persecuted group. Not that I'm admitting to anything, of course."

Elisabeth grins cheerfully, tucking the card safely in her pocket. "See, now that's what I'm talking about," she tells him as he teases. "Everyone's all so serious all the time. Nobody takes the time to admire a cute behind anymore." She waggles her brows at him in exaggerated flirtation. "And just because you actually said so, I'll even offer to leave before you, just so you can admire it! I mean, I do work pretty hard to keep it in shape — it deserves to be admired," she comments outrageously.

"Oh, I could tell your behind was cute just from the way you hopped up on that stool, but I will take advantage of the view as you walk out. I might even take a picture for further study and documentation….for personal use, of course." Jaiden offers a hand to the woman to shake, palm up, a few callouses and scrapes showing he does work with his hands but, other than that, they appear quite soft. "Or I could leave before you and accidentally drop my wallet or, heaven forbid, have to wipe my forehead with the hem of my shirt, giving you a view of my stomach." He winks. "If you'd like."

The laughter that bubbles forth from her is genuinely amused and actually happy as Elisabeth slips her hand into his. "Now that view would definitely be worth the price of admission," she murmurs. "It's been very nice to meet you, Jaiden."

"It's very nice to have met you as well, Liz. Don't hesitate to give me a call. I might have something interesting to show you, or I might just cook you dinner and see how that goes over." He shrugs and tucks his laptop into it's sleeve in his backpack with his free hand, zipping it closed and setting it on the floor between her legs deftly, never letting go of her hand until it's absolutely necessary. "Don't be a stranger now. FRONTLINE needs a little rest and relaxation now and again."

"Well, now… a man who can talk a good game and cook. Be still my heart," Elisabeth taunts good naturedly. "I'd have to say I'll look forward to my phone ringing with you on the other end then. Next time, you'll have to regale me with stories of the places you've seen. See you around, Jaiden…" she trails off with a smile that conveys genuine interest in the man as her hand slips from his.

"What can I say? It took many moons to learn the right thing to say." He leans forward. "Here's the secret…" He lowers his voice a few octaves. "Treat women nicely and they'll treat you nice in return. Shhhh." He winks and covers his lips with a finger in the classic *shhh* pose, holding it for a bit before sliding out of the booth and standing, hefting his backpack with one hand and slipping it over his shoulder. "I'll be sure to tell you the good stories. Racetracks in Japan, Castles in Europe, the Galapagos Islands, Uluru, and the Aboriginies. Things to take your mind off of what's happening here." He is standing, mind you, right in front of her and takes a slight step to the side to start toward the door. "Oh dear…" he murmurs. "It's so hot in here…." And as promised, he tugs the hem of his shirt free and wipes his forehead, giving Liz a perfect view of a chiseled stomach with a slight 'outie' bellybutton.

It makes Elisabeth's laughter ring out through the diner, and Natasha even whistles from behind counter. "Hot in here indeed," Liz murmurs with a thoroughly appreciative expression and a wave in his direction. "Silly man." She seems to appreciate the silliness, though.

Jaiden lets his shirt drop and tucks it back in grinning from ear to ear. "'ooroo, Liz." With a playful wave and a pat on his pocket to make sure her card is still with him, he steps out of the diner into the bustling city streets.

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