John Logan's Favourite Subjects


nicole2_icon.gif toru_icon.gif

Scene Title John Logan's Favourite Subjects
Synopsis Two strangers meet in a café in the Upper West Side, and discover they have someone in common.
Date February 8, 2011

Upper West Side

The Upper West Side is primarily a residential and shopping area, and not much about that has changed since the bomb. Despite bordering the region of Midtown that was torn asunder by the blast, the Upper West Side managed to survive the fires that raged out of control in the days following the destruction. It was one of the first areas hit with the massive relief effort. While the areas that did burn have yet to be recovered, that region of the upper west side has been cordoned off by large concrete barricades and Homeland Security roadblocks, preventing most through-traffic into ground zero and the affected area. Beyond that border zone, much of the charm of this upper-class neighborhood has not been lost.

The Upper West Side has the reputation of being home to New York City's liberal cultural and artistic workers, in contrast to the Upper East Side, which is perceived to be traditionally home to more affluent conservative commercial and business types. The neighborhood is decidedly upscale with the median household above the Manhattan average before the bomb, and much of that status-quo maintained by the money pumped into the neighborhood from the reconstruction effort. As one of the first neighborhoods to have electricity and water restored, this area saw a massive temporary influx of transients and refugees from the destroyed areas of the city, most of which moved on as more and more of New York was brought back to life.

Famous sites of the upper west side still remain active today, with Broadway Avenue cutting through the center of the borough. But the reminder of what happened to this city is decidedly visible on the south end of Broadway, where the high concrete barricades rise up one story from the ground, and the jagged, broken skyline of Midtown refuses to remain hidden.

On an afternoon in the middle of the Upper West Side, Toru really doesn't stand out all that much. Despite the whole 'effectively homeless' thing, he isn't burdened with having to carry around everything he owns, though lately he's been wearing a few more layers than usual. His 'house' is on the other side of the Dome; that's.. irritating.

Today, he's taken roost in a Starbucks located not terribly far from the Dorcester Towers apartments, sitting at the window, a big coffee and a frilly pastry of some sort sitting on the table in front of him. He's got his iPhone out - which he does manage to make enough to pay for every month with small jobs here and there - and while he's clearly paying attention to it, the way he keeps looking out the window while he messes with it, it seems like he's waiting for somebody. The food and drink have gone all but ignored, save for a few sips and bites taken out of each item. Black peacoat is hung over his chair, though he has an olive hoodie on as well. And what look like opera gloves. With knitted fingerless gloves on over those. He's almost got the look of an eccentric to him, really.

At this point he may very well be.

He is not playing Pocket Frogs.

At this time of day, cafés tend to be a little bit crowded. After securing herself a large caramel latte and a cranberry muffin, Nicole Nichols scans the shop for a place to sit. Her eyes land on Toru's table. He's just one person, sitting at a table for two. With a view out the window.

Which is totally what Nicole wants. "Excuse me," she murmurs to the man with a small smile. It'd look better without the medical tape and metal bracing her broken nose, but some things just can't be helped. She looks clean-cut otherwise in a black wool coat over a simple, pale dress the colour of jade. "Mind if I sit with you?"

Toru probably got here early, judging by said crowd and his own enviable piece of real estate. He keeps poking at his iPhone, possibly just hoping Nicole will go away… but then a bit of a start later, he looks up, looks around, and realizes that oh. She was talking to him. He gives a glance around the room as if looking for some other place he can shunt her to, but.. looks like the place really did get crowded when he wasn't paying attention.

He pulls his drink and food in closer to him, shrugging to show that he really just doesn't care whether she sits there or not, and grunts. "Yeah, whatever." A hand is run over his hair, which he notes is getting a little on the shaggy side, and he lets out the tiniest sigh at that. And now that he's remembered he actually has food and a drink, he takes this moment to sip off his coffee, which by now is pretty close to room temperature.

"Uh, sorry about the mess." There isn't much of one. "I ain't a hobo or nothin', I just kinda. It's cold out, aight?" He gets defensive at the end, there; and he has quite a bit of a Bronx accent now that he isn't bothering to hide it.

Nicole settles her coffee and muffin on the table and pulls out the chair across from Toru. "It's fine," she says of the supposed mess. "I'm Nicole, by the way." She doesn't offer her hand, if only because she suspects he wouldn't actually want to take it.

Her own cell phone comes out of her pocket, letting it rest flat against the table as she works over the BlackBerry's track ball with one finger, the other hand picking at her muffin. "Gotta change this wallpaper," she mutters. Zebra print.

'Zebra print. Oh how funny, I'm actually here stalking someone who dresses exclusively in it,' Toru does not reply. Instead he just grunts and mumbles, "Fucking tacky as hell," mostly under his breath. The introduction as well almost goes unnoticed before he ultimately replies, "Toru." He'd thought about lying, but really, what's the point?

He lifts his pastry, which boils down to some kind of scone or something, and takes a bite out of it, brushing crumbs off his gloves and, after masticating a bit, follows it up with some coffee. That done, he goes back to the phone, which from its moment on the table could be seen to have had some webpage up on the screen. And it's covered in a rubber case that gives the appearance of tire treads on one side. Big bites into his food suggest he isn't trying very hard to be impressive, though now that she's seated across from him Toru does notice that the lady in question is kinda, y'know. Good lookin'. Even without the nose armor. "You get into a fight, lady?" Satoru Lawrence, Ladies' Man.

"Toru," Nicole echoes with a nod. Why does that name ring a bell? The thought is dismissed as she flushes faintly when he asks her about her broken nose. "I was at a club, and my companion accidentally spilled a drink on this meathead, who just hauled off a punch. He missed, and hit me instead." Her nose wrinkles. A reflexive expression she immediately regrets if the wince is any indication. "I'd have totally laid him flat if I'd realised he was gonna throw down." Instead, she wound up on the floor wondering if she had a concussion. That wasn't fair, okay?

Why indeed!! Toru raises his eyebrows a bit at that explanation, jaw setting into a 'well, that's impressive' sort of expression. He nods a bit, accepting this story and thus Nicole's reasonable level of street cred, and takes another hit off his frilly girly drink. Thug life.

"Word. That's, uh. Somethin', anyways." Something indeed. He leans back in his chair a little, hooking his elbow on the backrest, and looking out the window for a long moment. Towards that one apartment building. But after just a few seconds, gaze snaps back over to his ladyfriend. "I think my nose is probably pretty much my only bone I ain't ever broke yet. You holdin' up aight?"

"Yeah, thanks." There's surprise at the concern from a stranger, but it brings a genuine smile to Nicole's lips. Her own gaze wanders out the window, focusing on the building her lover and her fiance both live in. Thinking.

Toru. Toru. Toru. Toru. Tor—


Blue eyes snap back on the man across from her once more. "Okay, this might sound a little crazy but, bear with me here, if you would… Do you know a man by the name of John Logan by any chance?"

This conversation could have gone so many more pleasant ways without that being brought up, and for a moment Toru is genuinely uncertain how to react.

At least consciously. Involuntarily, his entire body goes tense at the mention of the name. Fortunately he doesn't have enhanced strength, or his phone would have to be replaced right about now. After what feels to him like a very, very long moment of that, however, he forcibly sets the phone down, patting it gently with his hand, and takes in a slow breath, and replies in very terse words, "I do not believe we are acquainted, no." He isn't making eye contact anymore. And the accent's gone. "Why ever would you ask?" He really doesn't want to know, but.. he can't keep from asking either.

Nicole didn't get as far as she's gone without knowing how to read people. She nods her head slowly at Toru's reaction. Her own response comes easy, "You're lying." She tucks her phone away again, sliding her food and drink aside so she can lean one elbow on the table. "He burned you, too," she surmises with a knowing sort of look.

In all fairness, he isn't doing a very good job of hiding it. His face going a bit red, Toru turns in his seat a little, facing the street and folding his arms loosely across his chest. "So what? Like it's any of your fuggin' business." A hand goes over his hair again, and he snorts quietly to himself. "Why the hell would you even ask me that in the first place? Who are you?"

"His ex, if I have any good sense left." The answer is accompanied by a tight smile, at her own expense. Nicole tilts her head toward the window, toward Dorchester Towers. "He mentioned you to me once." It wasn't flattering, but he doesn't need to know that.

"In a way, I was kind of hoping I'd meet you. I… I don't know why I thought that'd be a good idea." This is awkward. Fuck. In her head, it went way differently than this. Like, they got together and compared notes, and decided Logan's a fuckhead together and both come out of the experience stronger people. Make friends.

What the fuck, Nicole?

Hey, the day ain't over yet. Granted, it isn't looking too good, but.

At least Toru isn't as angry as he'd be if Logan was actually there. Maybe. "So you're the new goddamn hotness and you figure let's track down the old model and see how he feels about gettin' ditched?" He does deign to look back to Nicole with that, frowns a bit. Mreh. "Logan's a piece of shit and sayin' that is kinda an insult to pieces of shit." Frowning there, though, he does finally face the table again, if only so that he can prop his arms up on it and tilt his head forward, burying fingers in his hair. Gripping a little. Nngh. Breathe. "I don't know what his fuggin' malfunction is but he ain't worth your time."

"That's… That's not what I meant." Nicole has the good sense to look sheepish and apologetic about it. "I don't think I'm what you'd call the new hotness. It isn't… me he likes." Though her opinion on that front changes about every other day. Her lip curls a little at her own ineptitude in this situation. "Jesus. I'm… I'm sorry. I'm an idiot. I just…"

She leans back, and gives the man across from her a far more assessing gaze than she gave him earlier. "What was he thinking? You're hot."

Toru looks up long enough to raise an eyebrow at that last comment, blinking a few times in surprise. It's actually enough to break him out of his momentary pit-digging, and he rubs the back of his neck with a nervous sort of laugh. "Uh, right." The Bronx is back. "Well, like. I kinda— it was sorta my fault. Family shit came up and I skipped out for a while and.." He shrugs. "Never really kept in contact and he didn't know where I was.."

Biting his lip, he looks out the window again. "Y'know, I mean, it ain't his fault, I just sorta.. got a little freaked out on accounta I'd always figured we were just sorta.. doin' a casual kinda thing, then he did somethin' that said it was more'n that and I didn't know how to take it. He was kinda the first gu.. first anybody I had anything close to serious with, y'know?"

"Yeah." There is so much sympathy and understanding in Nicole's tone, and in her wide-eyed expression. It's like he knows. "Me too. Except… I can't tell if he's serious or… or not. I didn't think he was serious about me, but then… he did something." Vague words for vague words. "And now I don't know what to think."

A pursed-lipped face is made to the apartments beyond the cafe window. "We work together, he and I. So it's not like I can just… walk away from him and cut him outta my life." And that's not even to say that Nicole wants to. "I'd miss his dog, if nothing else…"

"He never used to have a dog," Toru points out, as if this should be some source for irritation. "I used to work for him too. He use his place as some kinda dating service? Shit." Shaking his head, he goes for the coffee, takes a long drink. Confound it, Logan, you drive me to drink. "Things used to be so good, you know?" How quickly his mood slingshots from angry to wistful. "And I had to go fuck it all up and.. and now I don't even know what I'm doing anymore. I'm sitting in a Starbucks staring at some guy's apartment hoping maybe he'll walk by when I know things aren't ever gonna be better." He sort of seems to have forgotten somebody is actually listening to him.

"Oh, Jesus. I" The woman's hands come up immediately when Toru mentions Logan's other line of works. "Noooo, no no. I didn't work with him like that. I'm not" Her head shakes so swiftly. "Not there." She does not work a pole, thank you very much.

Then, her expression softens. "He's not worth it." And not just because she wants him, either. Nicole brings her latte to her lips finally, taking a long drink from it now that it's cooled enough to do so. She wants a cigarette so badly. Her brows come up and she asks so very innocently:

"Ever thought about getting back at him?"

Toru doesn't even catch that stripper implication; for once, it actually wasn't what he was going for! But instead he just settles for lowering his head further down his arms until he's got it rested in the crook of an elbow. Looking up at Nicole with some mild level of patheticness, he settles for just quietly shaking his head. "No. I guess I just sorta was hoping he'd figure out he made a mistake, by now." He bites his lip. "I mean, yeah, I did sorta leave him for a long time, but.. but I came back and.. and it shouldn't be this hard. He liked me before, I said I was sorry.. I don't wanna hurt him, I just miss— everything. Why am I even telling you all this?"

"Because we're going through the same shit," Nicole reasons with a shrug of her shoulders. "Who else understands better?" Except that now she realises Toru could be a feasible rival for the man's attentions.

She's perhaps a little less pathetic in how she's dealing with the situation in her own mind, however. Okay, not less pathetic. Just more vindictive. "What if we put you in a nice suit, and I break out a cute little dress, and we go hit up that club of his some night? See what he does?"

The thought does have some merit to it, though later on Toru will probably have a similar realization as far as potential rivalries go. As for the matter at hand, he just shakes his head. "He's not a dumbass," is noted wryly. "He'd maybe look at us funny but just ignore it, if he's even there. He ain't always even there." Shrugging, he finally finds ~the emotional strength~ to sit upright again, though he slouches just a bit. Sips sulkily from his coffee.

"I dunno if I wanna go the creepy like.. bunny boiler route, ya dig? He doesn't wanna have nothin' to do with me and if I go houndin' him all the time that ain't gonna change his mind, it's just gonna show 'im I don't know how to do what I'm told."

"You aren't a dog, Toru. You aren't supposed to do what he tells you." A flicker of a grin appears on Nicole's face. "And believe me, he'd notice." She lifts her CrackBerry again and taps something out. "Exchange numbers?"

"Wh— I know that! Don't call me that!" Toru frowns, biting back any harsher comments, especially after getting a few glances from the sidelines. Oh hi public place. Leaning in a bit for more ~intimate privacy~, he clarifies, "But he's not going to suddenly decide to forgive me on accounta me goin' and doin' shit he knows I know he doesn't want me to do, right? This ain't a movie, he isn't gonna be all 'Oh how friggin' somethin', Toru knows I don't want him around so he's hanging out anyway, how cool is that'." Classic romance movie line, there.

He does, however, dig around through his phone settings to pull up the screen showing his number; it's been so long since he's given it out that he's actually forgotten it. And he slides it on over to show off. "I just don't think you're takin' the right kinda approach. Last time I tried direct he punched me." Other factors may also have been involved.

He's probably right, considering Nicole was maybe just a little afraid that Logan was about to punch her when last they spoke. At any rate, she's typing Toru's number into her phone before she pulls up her own info screen so he can do the same for hers. "Sitting outside his building isn't going to help, either. John Logan hates when he thinks there's something he can't have. You tell him no, and he'll pursue you." A strand of blue-highlighted hair is tucked behind her ear, one brow arched upward. "You show up at the club like you don't even care about whether or not he's gonna be there? He'll notice."

Toru takes his phone back, entering Nicole into his contacts under what by now should be his 'crazy people who are going to end up trying to kill me' group — half the people he meets tend to meet that criteria — and, after checking something else, slips the phone into his pocket. "I really don't think 'hard to get' is his kink. And would you stop calling him John," he adds, a bit overly snappishly. "He doesn't like that." Protective to the very end. <3 That's kind of sad.

"Anyway," he adds, awkwardly. "Uh. I'll think about it, I guess. Just.. I really think he'd know something's up."

"That's the whole point." Nicole drags herself back up to her feet, tucking her phone away and pulling on her coat again. "Enjoy your pining and your coffee," she teases gently, gathering her own cup and food. "Call me if you want to." With a nod of her head, Nicole heads for the door.

Outside of the café, she checks traffic and crosses the street. Then, with one last look to the window Satoru Lawrence is sitting in, Nicole Nichols wiggles her fingers in a little wave, and disappears into Dorchester Towers.

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