Invasion of Space


peyton2_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Invasion of Space
Synopsis Curiosity leads to the discovery of new anatomical trivia for Peyton, but awkwardness for Zachery.
Date August 8, 2010

A Bar in Manhattan

The music is loud, the people are busy and the beer is cold - this particular bar seems perfect for someone who doesn't care for talking nor listening, yet has run out of alcoholic drinks at home and doesn't terribly feel like shopping at this hour. This person being Zachery. He's been sitting at one end of the bar for nearly two hours now, looming over a half-finished pint of Guinness, some lonely coasters, and a book that he only occasionally glances at. The environment proves too distracting to read, it seems, and he's glad the music drowns out any annoyed groans that escape him.

If nothing else, this will help him appreciate the quiet and predictability of home all the better, right? And hey, at least the booze is fresh from the tap. Or so they claim, anyway.

This particular bar is one that Peyton Whitney would have turned her nose up at just a year ago, but now it's perfect for her purposes. No one in this kind of place generally cares about her page-6-celebrity status, nor do most of the people here follow the actual news, to know she had been kidnapped by Humanis First because she was Evolved. Here, most people only care about drinking and pool and darts and maybe the occasional hook-up.

She's dressed for summer in a pale-gray tank dress that shows off long legs that end in black strappy heels, perhaps more expensive than the kinds that most of the girls here would wear, but then most people here wouldn't be know that at a glance. Her long dark hair is up in a ponytail to show off the peacock feather tattoo on the nape of her neck. She moves to a barstool a couple of empty seats down from Zachery, leaning forward to wait for the waiter's attention. Once received, she smiles. "Cosmopolitan, please," she asks before reaching for some of the peanuts in a bowl closer to Zachery, giving his book a glance.

Whether Zachery can or cannot make the distinction between ten dollar and thousand dollar shoes is anyone's guess (unlikely as it is), but it seems fairly clear that either he does not recognise the woman attached to the arm that just extended in his general direction, or he simply does not care. She gets the same, short-lived look as anyone else, brow furrowing ever so slightly in thought. No one he knows. Not important. Probably. A sigh escapes him as he turns his gaze to his book once more, and flips the page. Black and white photographs of diseased-looking people are surrounded by a mess of explanatory paragraphs. Bits of which have been underlined, carefully crossed out or highlighted. And even now Zachery looks sorry not to have a pen with him, casting a glare downward before reaching for a swig of his drink. But not before muttering, "Unbelievable."

The former socialite is self-conscious (no longer self-important) enough to think he's talking about her. Not because she wants the limelight these days; whenever cell phones are pointed in her direction, she cringes now, wondering if the pictures or video will show up, where once she coveted and even sought such attention. Her brows knit together, and she peeks at him out of the corner of her dark eyes as her cheeks color slightly.

"I can move," she offers, pulling out a bill to pay for the drink, waving off the change.

Hold on, what? Zachery freezes first, as if unsure to look up to see what's going on, before no one answers and he looks up to belatedly realise that oh— someone's talking to him now. His eyes wander uncertainly between the book and the stranger before he idly slides a finger to the middle of his page, mouth opening before his brain manages to catch up. Er.

"I meant the, ah—" The slightly drunken slur makes his English accent slightly more obvious, as usual. He swallows, decidedly lacking the nervous smile he may have forced onto his face once upon a time, then nods downward. "The book. They're talking about finger muscles." And, if his voice is anything to go by, this is a terrible thing indeed.

"Finger… muscles," repeats Peyton, though she relaxes back on her barstool, her posture having been one about to vacate. She brings her drink to her lips, eyes dropping so her thick lashes hide her eyes. It's not flirting — it's so that she can less obviously shift her perspective to his. Downcast as they are, her eyes' pupils widen until they take up all but the slimmest margin of her irises, and she can see what it is he sees — in this case, the book, to see what he's referring to. "You studying to be a doctor?" she says, blinking, her eyes shifting back to normal as she looks over at him.

There is another pause. The answer to that question does not come easily for Zachery, even if a smirk is already and unwittingly forming on his face. Studying to be a doctor. That's rich.

"No, I've…" He starts slowly, awkwardly, "I've been on that boat already. This quack, however," He turns the book over with the slight clumsiness that the inebriated state grants him, and squints at the author's name, "Doctor Grunenberg over here— HE should have studied to become a doctor." He frowns, then adds in a mumble of an afterthought, "… Muscles in the fingers."

And to think this drunkard was in the business of saving lives, once. The rest of his Guinness disappears down his throat with a displeased look.

Peyton frowns, looking down at her own fingers, slim and well-manicured as they are, where they curl around her drink. It's only her third of the evening, the first two being at the bar next door before she decided to hop over to this one. "I… I mean, I only went to high school, I confess, I'm certainly no expert but…"

Her dark eyes study him. "I might be wrong, but I think there are muscles in the fingers," she whispers, as if it's a crazy theory that he's going to argue with.

"No." Zachery immediately answers, for as far as he's concerned it is a crazy theory! The craziest of crazy. "No muscles." The book is promptly shoved aside and hits the bowl of nuts with an clank that goes ignored by the drunkard, and he promptly reaches halfway toward Peyton with both hands, palms upward and relaxed. He's not looking to grab her, despite the sudden movement. His left palm shows a sliver of a scar running across it, something which would probably have kept him from reaching in the first place, if he were sober. Something forgotten about for now.

"Your hand. I'll show you." At least he looks slightly less annoyed now, but impatient nonetheless.

"Really?" she says, brows knitting at this strange mystery as she peers down at her fingers, wiggling them against her glass. "I thought you needed… you know, muscles to move bones." She shifts the Cosmopolitan to the left hand, taking another courage-inspiring gulp of the vibrantly-hued drink before giving Zachery her right hand, setting it onto the one with the scar, palm to palm.

"I'm Peyton, by the way," she offers as well, seeing how now she's touching the man. They may as well be on a first-name basis, right?

First names are deemed overrated. "The man formerly known as Dr. Miller." Zachery mumbles unceremoniously, his arms twitching ever so slightly when her palm hits his. His other hand lifts to touch the top of her hand, tracing lines from her knuckles to her wrist— with a strange amount of care, considering the rest of his movements have been far less controlled. "Tendons." He states, then quickly pulls both of his hands back to grab his own right forearm, fingers wiggling while he looks expectantly her way to see if she'll do the same. "You can feel it in there. Like puppets on a string." There's an unexpected and almost tragic sort of twinge to his voice on that last line, but it's disappeared by the time he continues by saying, "It's really quite clever." Though perhaps not as interesting to everyone has he might think.

"Well, I know there are tendons…" she begins. She's not book smart, mostly because she chose not to be, not because she doesn't have the intelligence. Peyton looks at his hand on his own arm and does the same, wiggling her fingers and nods. "Okay. I mean, I knew that the tendons up here affect the fingers. I had tennis elbow once — tendinitis, right? And it hurt all the way down to my fingertips on the worst days, somedays," she says.

"I guess that makes sense." Her thumb makes a slow circle and she shakes her head. "Thumb's different, right? Is that why it's not technically a finger? What about toes?" For someone who didn't go to college, she has a curious nature. "The former Doctor Miller is a little big of a mouthful, but I suppose I don't have to call you anything, Doc," Peyton adds teasingly, though dubs him with a nickname all at once.

Suddenly and without clear cause, the man freezes. His arm slips out of his grip and his eyes flit away again as Peyton talks, searching. They ultimately come to rest on the book that he so abruptly decided to abandon. A bit of familiarity, inaccurate though it may be. It's pulled closer once more.

Questions. The first gets a "Yes," the second gets a slightly nervous but affirmative nod, and the third is simply ignored. Her last sentence only seems to make Zachery even more uncomfortable, and he shifts to slide off of his seat. "T-true." He finally manages, without eye contact. He picks his book up off the bar, then gets to his feet properly. Well, as properly as he can in his slightly wobbly state, anyway. "On that note, I should probably… find a cab."

There is a flicker of something like hurt. Peyton shakes her head, reaching for her drink to throw back the rest of the rose-colored martini. "You were here first. And I'm obviously in your personal bubble," she says, perhaps a touch more coolly than her prior teasing tone, but not unkindly. Her dark eyes search his face for a moment before she puts the empty glass back on the bartop and slips off her barstool.

"You stay," the young clairvoyant tells him before moving past him — another man passing by making her have to brush past Zachary as she hurries for the exit before he can protest.

And he is too surprised to protest, anyway. He's used to people walking away from him, but not usually out of sympathy. Um. He flinches as she walks by, but stays frozen in place without watching her walk off. Within less than a minute he's got his hand up to order yet another pint. The last one for the night, at least. One for the road.

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