Icy Patches


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Scene Title Icy Patches
Synopsis Jaiden's negotiating the tricky waters of the past and trying to meet his quarry.
Date January 3, 1999

Streets of Brooklyn

It's a rare Sunday that Elisabeth Harrison has off duty, especially just after the holidays. As low man on the totem pole she often puts in overtime to cover for others or works the weekends. She doesn't have kids or such things and her parents are pretty understanding about building a career. Today, though, she slept late in deference to the horrid weather outside and indulged in a late-morning brunch with her parents after they went to church. Bundled up against the frigid cold, she walked for a long distance apparently thinking about something rather intently, and finally took the subway back to Brooklyn. As she mounts the slippery steps to road level carefully, her direction is taking her away from her apartment and toward a coffeeshop and bookstore down the block.

The sidewalk's been mostly cleared, but her boots hit a small patch of ice that resides in the shade of an awning and her feet go out from under her.

1999. Wow. It took a little getting used to, but after the first evening getting a hotel room and a decent cup of coffee, setting up a 'base of operations' so to speak since he'll be here for a week. The next order of business for Jaiden (once seeing the World Trade Center and 'Ground Zero' before it was such, was to find Elisabeth and make nice so he could prevent her from getting erased from the timeline he was originally from. His research indicated that the woman was living in a microscopic 1 bedroom house a couple of blocks from the Narrows Bridge.

That's where Jaiden finds himself this morning, the crisp, cool air causing steam to rise with each exhaled breath, his hands stuffed deep in a woolen coat that looks quite comfortable and warm. He's been passing by at intermittent hours, trying to figure the best time to approach - when she was off duty, on duty, or whatever - like any good investigator should.

Sunday Morning is normally church-time for folk, but the weather was keeping them in this morning - save for a few die-hards that really wanted to go to church instead of curling tighter in their beds. It seems that Lizzie was one of those.

When she appears, there's no doubt that it's her. Blonde hair, same smile, same walk. A lot happier looking and several years younger. The man finds himself smiling a little before approaching - just as the woman hits the patch of ice.

"Woah there, miss!" Jaiden says as she tumbles to the ground very near him, the man offering her a hand up. "You okay?"

Ow! Oh, that's gonna leave a mark. Elisabeth has the wind knocked out of her as she hits the ground and it takes her several seconds to look up, blushing, to see the hand offered. "Oh God," she groans in humiliation. Reaching out to take that helping hand, she murmurs, "Thanks." There's a surreptitious look around and a moment where she looks beyond chagrined. Her free hand reaches around absently to rub the spot she hit. "Well, now, that's embarrassing," she says as she looks up at him with a bit of a shy grin.

Don't call her Elisabeth, don't call her Elisabeth, don't call her Elisabeth.

"It's all right, miss. Happens to the best of us and usually happens at the most embarrassing time." His grip is light, the man's gloved hand soft as he helps the ice-ambushed woman to her feet. "Took me a while to figure out to stay out of the shadows in cold climates. Five falls in as many feet learned me that lesson right quick." Jaiden chuckles, looking out over the neighborhood. He returns that shy grin with one of his own - not shy, just a grin. "Don't think anyone saw you but me, and I only saw b'cause I was passing by."

The accent piques her interest and bright blue eyes skim over his face thoughtfully as she chuckles at herself. "You'd think I'd know better," Elisabeth replies. "Can I…. buy you a cup of coffee to say thanks for helping me up?" Apparently some things are still the same — she's as forward as ever. With his gloves she can't spot a ring — coffee'll take care of that. He'll have to take 'em off! "You can tell me how a guy who talks like you came to be hanging out in New York." Cue the flirtatious look. "And you can talk about any damn thing else you wanna talk about too, if you'll keep talking so I can listen," she invites with a cheeky grin. "I'm Liz, by the way." She hasn't released his hand yet.

The hand that helped her up turns slightly, giving her hand a light shake before turning it up and doing the classic 'half bow to kiss back of hand maneuver.' Maneuver over, Jaiden straightens, smiles, and spreads his arms. "Your wish is my command, miss. I was thinking the same thing - and coffee with company is often a bit more pleasant than coffee by yourself. Lead the way and I shall follow. I could read a phone book or just pepper my vernacular with Aussie slang. That'd work too wouldn't it, Shiela?"

Elisabeth laughs easily, taking her hand back. "I suppose that you could do that too," she acknowledges, "but the phone book would be easier." She gestures just down the road. "There's a good place over there. Bookstore, even! So I'm sure we can find you a travelogue to read." She turns — carefully!! — and starts to walk that way with him. "You didn't tell me your name," she observes. "And I'd really like to not call you 'Aussie' or something stupid."

Charisma does wonders for opening doors. A friendly smile, a few kind words, and more often than not, you'll have people eating out of your hands. Good thing Jaiden only uses his powers for good, rather than evil.

He hoists his backpack and follows along, side-stepping ice-glazed sidewalk sections or surreptitiously using his powers to 'move' the water from beneath his feet as he goes.

"Well, you only now just asked it, after all." He jogs a bit ahead of her to open the door politely, ushering her into the bookstore/coffeeshop she indicated from the road. "M'names Maximillian Mortlock, but most just call me Max I'm a freelance reporter."

You know, he probably should have come up with a better name than that, but…there you go."

"Maximillian? Wow… your parents wanted you to be remembered, didn't they?" Elisabeth teases lightly. "Nice to meet you, Max." She walks with him into the warmth of the bookstore, pauses just inside to glance around and peel off her gloves. There are several tables scattered in the coffee area and she looks up at him, amused. "Reporter, huh? That's a job I wouldn't want for all the money in the world, honestly," she admits, moving toward the counter to order coffee. She offers a smile to the kid behind the counter who can't be more than 16 and says, "The usual, Gina. And whatever my friend would like. We're gonna take over the corner table, okay?"

She waits long enough for Jaiden to tell Gina what he wants then heads for the aforementioned table as she unbuttons her coat and slides out of it. Her movements are economical though not hurried. She just doesn't seem to waste any time dawdling about.

He rolls his eyes as she mentions that, as if to say 'yes, my parents saddled me with this name.' He'd better play it up. "Yeah, well, it was a family name and apparently Grandmother called in some favors since she pulled the pursestrings of the family so…Maximilian is me." He closes the door behind and sets about unbuttoning jacket and removing gloves - no ring on either finger and no tan to show that there was ever one - tucking them into his pockets before following behind.

"Depends on where you go, really. Money's not very good, but you get to see the world, tell stories that need to be told, and experience things that not too many people in the world have experienced."

Jaiden quickly scans the menu and finds a nice dark-roasted Kona coffee on special. "One of those, please." he orders before following to the corner table that's been claimed by Elisabeth. "And how about you then, miss? You know my name and a little of my history. What should I call you? You're certainly not the average New Yorker - I've run into a few that would'nt give me the time of day, much less take me for a cup of coffee."

"I can call you Liz, or Lizzie, like I would back home."

"I'll answer to either," Elisabeth grins. "And I guess they're all blind and stupid to boot if at least the female population isn't giving you the time of day, Max Mortlock," she says frankly. "What do you want to know? I was born and raised here. Just got back from brunch with my folks cuz we still do the Sunday morning brunch thing even though I skip the church part. It's my only day off this week, which kinda sucks but at least the overtime pay's good. And I … work for the city." She hesitates over telling him exactly what she does, eyeing him cautiously now. It tends to bring out a lot of creepy types — the ones into kink and stuff. "I'm a cop." May as well get it out of the way.

Gina brings the cups of coffee over while they talk and sets them down, disappearing just as quickly and quietly.

"Lizzie it is, then." Jaiden smiles and lifts his cup of coffee, removing the lid and blowing on it before taking a sip, then adding a little bit of sugar and one of those half and half containers to cut the bitterness just slightly. "That shows you've not got a stick up your backside like a good portion of people do."

He wasn't expecting to get a dissertation of what she did on Sunday, but it's nice to know what was going on. He nods and sips his coffee as she tells him about her day, not flinching or anything when she mentions being a Police Officer.

"So you're a cop?" Jaiden blinks, sitting back in his chair comfortably, one leg crossed over the other. "Good job, but a hard one too. Able to see the best and the worst of a city in a single shift." *siiiip* Apparently her being a cop doesn't bother him in the least and doesn't punch any perv buttons (handcuff me! Ride me while you're in your bulletproof vest!). Jaiden's a good boy.

Sorry, MAX is a good boy.

The fact that he's apparently not a complete perv is a check in the 'win' column in her book. "That's a bit of an understatement," Elisabeth admits on the best and worst. Her coffee tastes have apparently not changed in ten years either, because the cup in front of her has a mountain of whipped cream and chocolate shavings on it, indicating that it is probably a mocha latte or something. Might as well be dessert. "It's a good job, though," she says with a smile. "So what're you doing in New York, Max?"

"Now, the question here is whether or not I need to be alluring or honest. I could tell you that I'm a traveller from a distant land, sent back in time to put right a potential wrong." The man pauses, giving her a playful grin. "But that'd just be silly. The honest answer is that I am a traveller - a Journalist from Australia, actually. I write for the papers down there on a freelance basis and decided to head up here to New York to see if there was anything interesting afoot to write about or to take pictures of. It is just a year before 2000, so I'd guess that there are a lot of preparatons to be done for the 2000 new year, even though the 99 one just got finished."

Seriptitiously, Jaiden reaches over and pokes a clean coffee stirrer in the top of her whipped cream monstrosity, taking a small dollop of the sweet and chocolate for himself.

Elisabeth grins, ignoring the fact that he just helping himself to the cream atop her coffee. "You could try to be alluring," she agrees, "but I tend to like guys who tell the truth better." There's a flash of something that crosses her face so briefly that it's gone before it can really register. "All the maniacs will come out this year," she predicts. "Preaching about the end of the world and whatever else. It's gonna be nuts. I know the PD's already going ape over the computer shit, worrying all the damn things will crash at the same time."

Well, he's not helping himself to all of it….just a little taste. The man chuckles and leans back, popping his morsel into his mouth and sucking it off, setting the straw aside on a napkin after claiming his prize. "Well, then you and I will get along splendidly, because I find lying to be something that one should not do. Honesty is in short supply these days, and if you lie, you have to keep your stories straight. It's easier on the memory to just tell the truth - it's easier to get your narrative to print that way."

If she only knew….he did just tell her the truth, more or less, sprinkling truths about his life now and his life then into one tapestry that will hold up to basic scrutiny. Thank goodness Google isn't as established as it is presently, otherwise a few searches would tell her that his last port of call was in a small part of central Africa.

Sounds too good to be true — a guy who tells the truth. Heh. Elisabeth sips from her coffee and nods. Her blue eyes on him are thoughtful. "So how long have you been in town?" she asks. Hazard of the job — she's a nosy bugger.

When you're a reporter, telling the truth is kind of important. The first time you 'massage' a fact to make it fit the narrative, you're done in real reporting - at least the kind Jaiden does. He reaches down for his pocketwatch, clicks it open to read the time, and then closes it with a snap before tucking it away. "Only just got in last night. Surprised the heck out of me that I was able to get in, what with the rain and the snow."

"Traveling on the holidays is a bitch, especially into JFK," Elisabeth agrees mildly. "I used to head back to school from there and it was always delayed." She grins. "Of course, made for a great excuse for being late to first class on the first day of school."

"You should try flying out of somewhere that's having 'internal strife.' There's nothing like hearing shrapnel ping off the fuselage as you're jetting out of the Congo." Again, true. There was a civil war in Congo in 1998 and he had been there. It's taking a little editing to get the right dates down, but other than that, no lies yet!

"Was this for the Police Academy, or were you going for something else entirely?"

"Nah, I went to college in Illinois," Elisabeth imparts with a grin around her coffee cup. "You'll never believe me, but I actually did a bit of the club circuit with a band there. It was a lot of fun. Don't really have time for that kind of stuff here, though. The first couple of years on the force are the hardest." Performing! She was performing! And from the wistful tone, she misses it quite a bit.

"I never could play an instrument. Mother thought it best for the boys to learn some kind of instrument, since she was from the old country in a way, so when I was six she put a violin in my hand and made me practice. That, in case you're curious, is _not_ the way to instill a love of music in a child." Jaiden chuckles, taking another drink of his coffee, setting the mostly empty cup and it's lukewarm contents aside before continuing. "It lasted a grand total of three weeks before the violin was accidentally put into a threshing machine and I rode out the fallout by hiding for another two weeks in the Outback. When I did finally come home, Mother was furious but never tried that again."

There is a visible wince at that! "Oh Lord…. what a waste of a lovely instrument," Elisabeth replies. "I can see why she'd be furious. But yeah… forcing someone to learn isn't the way to go. Like most things, if you want to be good or even great at it, you have to love it." She glances thoughtfully around the cafe and seems to simply be enjoying the simple company. At ease with her surroundings, not seeming to — as she does in the future — map every exit and entrance or be worried when someone comes in the door behind her. She doesn't even look up when the bell rings. She sips from her cup, enjoying the rich confection within it, and looks back at him. "You going to be in town long?" she asks finally.

"I was six." Jaiden offers as a defence. "I didn't know any better, really, other than it made my fingers hurt and she made me stand inside and practice after listening to a record a couple of times. Looking back it was an extreme reaction, but at the time seemed to be appropriate." Jaiden's eyes follow her looks around, noting that she's not looking for exits or places that could be defensable in an attack. It's odd, seeing her like this, before the world broke her, made her into the woman she was. Elisabeth, now, is soft. Feminine. A good girl.

"About a week or so, by my best guess. Thought I'd try to catch a broadway show or a sporting event while I'm in town. I've heard good things about hockey."

Elisabeth chuckles. "It's fun to watch hockey," she acknowledges. "Though admittedly I'm a baseball girl. There are some good shows out at the theaters this month. I bet you could get a ticket if you picked a matinee time or something. Usually you can even get those the day of the performance if you don't mind sitting further back or in the nosebleed seats."

"I've never been to a baseball game, admittedly. I know it was started here as kind of an offshoot of Cricket and has spread to south america and Japan, particularly asia. And there's a bat involved. And bases." Jaiden nods sagely, his baseball knowledge encyclopaedic, as in, this is what you get if you read an encyclopedia from australia on the subject once. "Any shows you'd suggest? I've heard interesting things about the Blue Man Group's 'Tubes/Rewired' show." Oh god, he's flirting.

Is he now? Elisabeth eyes him and grins slightly. "Never seen them," she admits. And that characteristic forthrightness reappears. "But if you're asking, I'd love to go. Assuming it's at a time I'm off work this week." If the frank way she meets his eyes is any indicator, he wouldn't be the only one interested in spending a little time. So far, she seems to like him.

"Admittedly, they're a little odd sounding. Three guys dressed up in blue face paint doing pantomime and playing music, but from what I've heard, they're really popular around here and are getting quite a following." Dammit. Might as well go all out. "I can try and find out when a show's available, and if you'd like, you can accompany me to the show."

Elisabeth sets her coffee down and pulls a pen out of the pocket of her coat. She leans forward to write something on the napkin and slides it over to him. "Call me," she invites softly with a smile. "If I'm off, I'll join you. If you're lucky, I might even buy dinner," she says on a wink as she moves to stand up. "I'll be seeing you, Max."

"I'll do that, Lizzie. It was nice to meet you, even though the circumstances were a little slippery at best." The napkin is taken, the number glanced at before it's tucked into the inside pocket of his coat. If Elisabeth is observant, she may notice a small black object (NOT a gun) with a shiny apple logo on it. Just a glimpse, though. "Be seeing you."

Jaiden stands when she stands, polite as ever, looking her over again with a smile. "If you'd like to buy dinner, I'm not one to stop you. Take care, Lizzie. Watch out for icy patches."

Throwing her coat around her shoulders, Elisabeth grins at him. "Why? They seem to bring me good luck in meeting people," she retorts cheekily. And then she's heading for the front door, buttoning her coat as she goes. She does send him a cute little grin just as she steps out. Hey, he's a cute man. And only in town for a week, too. Just her type.

And Jaiden? Or Max, as he's now called? He watches her as she goes outside. She's still got a nice backside….

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