Lunchtime Interruptions


maria_icon.gif rami_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Lunchtime Interruptions
Synopsis Maria comes to to the park to eat lunch. This becomes a more complex endeavor than expected, with the addition of a snake, an acorn, three biscuits, and a scarf she gets to keep.
Date December 29, 2008

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

It's Monday, the last Monday of the year, and lunchtime at that, at least for some people on the island of Manhattan. It's colder than it has been the past few days, but not so frigid as during the recent snowstorm. Children play here and there, people walk, some jog, while others just sit on benches and relax. There may even be an elderly person or six playing chess.

And there are also trees dotting the landscape. One of them, an oak, is being approached in an unusual manner. By a short woman, from above.

The oak is not alone. Its bare, snow-dusted branches pose little obstacle to the lines of sight of either the approaching flier or the girl who sits at its base. Her mauve sweater looks to be the same one she was wearing two days ago, the multicolored scarf presently being wound and unwound about her hands. Tamara lifts her gaze to watch the woman's approach, appearing to not notice that this whole flying thing is unusual. "Hello, leaf."

She's moving at a leisurely pace, lowering to land in a seated position on a sturdy looking branch about ten feet up. The flier is clad for work; white blouse, dark trousers, professional shoes with flat soles. A messenger bag is carried on her back, and inside it is the bag which holds lunch. She shifts it around to open up and pull the food out, while looking down at the scarf-winder who just spoke. "You again," Maria murmurs. And a laugh follows, then words more audibly spoken. "Leaf. Interesting name you tagged me with. Hello back, acorn."

Leaning her head back against the tree trunk, Tamara wrinkles her nose at the label assigned her, but she doesn't protest it. "Well, you're not a tree!" she declares. As if there was ever any question on that score. The girl stretches out her legs and drops the scarf in her lap, fingers picking at the fringe on one end.

"I'm not," Maria agrees as she pulls out a sandwich from the bag and holds it ready to bite, her eyes focusing on the ground below. "But I do like them. Nice, convenient places to sit and eat lunch. And the view is good, too." Teeth sink into the food and she chews thoughtfully, briefly wondering at the odds of coming across this one twice, while doing the same thing, in different areas.

"I'm not," Maria agrees as she pulls out a sandwich from the bag and holds it ready to bite, her eyes focusing on the ground below. "But I do like them. Nice, convenient places to sit and eat lunch. And the view is good, too." Teeth sink into the food and she chews thoughtfully, briefly wondering at the odds of coming across this one twice, while doing the same thing, in different areas.

Tamara inclines her head at that, though the effect of the pose is lost somewhat given Maria's vertical view of her. Her expression is curious, in a faintly bemused sort of way, and the girl's hands fall still as she focuses her attention upon the perched flier. "What do you see?" she prompts.

She doesn't speak right away, taking time to finish chewing so as not to risk showering Tamara with bits of food, but soon enough Maria's mouth is empty. She looks out into the distance, and reports. "Over there," she gestures, "a woman is walking her miniature dog. She's got a sweater on it, one of those supersmall ones annoying starlets like Paris Hilton have. And…" She turns in the opposite direction, to look and gesture again, "here we have a guy handing out fliers for something or other. Restaurant or street vendor, I'd guess." She chuckles. "He's in a hot dog suit."

As Maria speaks, the girl below her lowers her gaze, looking out into the distance. She doesn't seem to be looking for whatever the flier perceives, just… looking. The slightly puzzled frown that Tamara's expression pulls into is perhaps unfortunately hidden. "You don't see the snake?" Curious, puzzled, perhaps slightly disappointed.

Her head turns again, to look in whatever direction Tamara is, and seek out something there. Maria, a five foot three inch woman with olive skin, is dressed for office work and seated on the branch of an oak tree, about ten feet above the precog. Her right hand clutches a partially eaten sandwich. Nothing is said for the moment, she's just looking for the snake. A snake. Any snake.

Rami doesn't own a dog, but a friend of his does. And since he wasn't leaving town, he's taken on the duty of dog-sitting. At the end of a leash is a rather friendly-looking, well-cared for bulldog. The dog wraggles its hips back and forth as it trots along. To his great embarrassment, the dog needs a sweater given its short coat. Fortunately, it's nothing designer, just one that's only a few shades darker than its brown mottled coat. The lean Arab man keeps trying to drink from his coffee, but every time he does, the dog chooses to lurch forward, jerking the cup away from his lips.

There is no snake in evidence — no self-respecting serpent would come out in this weather, to be sure! — and Tamara chuckles briefly when Maria tries to spot it. It's not the harsh 'got you' sound that might be expected from your average teenager, but a softer acknowledgement that Maria did try. Blue eyes flick to the approaching Rami, and the girl hops up to pad over and confiscate the dog's leash from him. "You need more hands," Tamara points out, as she crouches down to rub the dog's head and generally get her own hands slobbered on.

"Good one, Acorn." Her head shakes a bit, and she laughs quietly when Tamara's prank is revealed, then Maria resumes eating her lunch on that wooden perch in silence. She watches both girl and man with dog in mild interest, her food has the bulk of her attention.

Rami is a bit surprised when Tamara comes forward and takes the leash, but he's not going to say no. His leather gloves have coffee on them and he really wants a sip of it. "Her name is…" and he has difficulty saying this, "…Biscuit." At the sound of her name, the bulldog looks up at Rami and makes a 'marro' sound. But then Tamara's petting her, so the girl gets slobbered on. She makes sounds of happiness, especially if scratched under her collar. He hears a voice, then looks up into the tree, then down to the strange girl he keeps crossing paths with. "Now what is your friend doing way up there?"

Tamara will of course scratch under the collar. And not bother to correct Maria's incorrect assumption — it doesn't matter. She tilts her head at Rami's query, glancing briefly to Maria, then back to him, nonplussed. "What shouldn't she be doing?" the girl asks. The dog is petted almost absently, yet with more attention than usually accompanies such distraction.

The voice from above is heard again, she sounds a bit perturbed by the question asked of Tamara. "Hello," Maria calls out, "I'm sitting right here." Her sandwich is held up, before she adds "And I'm eating my lunch." There's this whole air of 'what, you've not seen something like this before? Get a life!' about her activity. Another bite is taken, while she coolly watches man and dog.

"Well, it seems a rather odd place to sit and have a snack," says Rami, his glance starting at Tamara and ending in the woman up a tree. "I mean, if you're over the age of eight." His brows arch and he smiles in a way that softens his previous statement. Biscuit for her part, is lapping up any attention Tamara gives her. Her tiny tail swishes back and forth, shaking her entire chubby body.

Tamara looks at Rami. And she looks up at Maria. Hm. "Eights go around and around forever. I don't think she's an eight," the girl informs Rami, with all the gravity of an important revelation in her tone. Her gaze drops to the dog, brows drawn together and lips pursed just slightly in a thoughtful expression. "You're only almost an eight," Tamara tells the dog.

"Is it?" Maria asks. "A person has to be eight to land in a tree and eat her lunch?" Her head shakes a few times, and she moves to stand on the branch. It could be she's about to come down, but she's still holding the sandwich and acting like she's just going to step off the support underfoot.

"Land in a tree? Madam, are you part bird?" Rami couldn't sound more British, even if he was white. He glances to Tamara. The girl's strange quips don't bring the odd curiosity they once did. "Would you like to give Biscuit a…biscuit?" The dog's tail wags again, but notably, she sticks close to Tamara. Rami's not a dog person. Or a cat person. Or a fish person.

"She's a leaf," Tamara corrects Rami. Apparently that is important. Her gaze settles upon the skeletal-limbed tree for a few moments. "The tree needs leaves. But they were back. Eventually." Rami's final question seems to pull her distracted thoughts back to the present, Tamara's head jerking slightly towards him so she can look at him again. Hm? "She liked that." As for the opinion of the girl herself… she shrugs a little bit.

"Maybe," Maria answers, as she steps off the branch and doesn't fall. She just stands there, yes, stands on air for a few seconds before slowly drifting to the ground. Her face is dispassionate as she then leans against the tree's trunk and continues eating her sandwich, watching the man, precog, and canine. On the ground, it's easy to see she's no taller than five feet, three inches tall, with olive skin that perhaps suggests Persian or Hispanic heritage. Maybe both.

"She liked it, hm?" Rami reaches into his pocket and pulls out a Milk Bone. He hands it to Tamara. "Careful she doesn't snap up your fingers with —" And then there's Maria, drifting down from the trees. He lifts up his brows. "Well. That would be why you aren't afraid of heights." His tone is wry, deadpan.

"I know," Tamara informs Rami. Not to let Biscuit eat her fingers? Or that Maria isn't afraid of heights? The statement is an ambiguous one. The hand around which the leash is wrapped pushes the dog's muzzle back so she'll stop licking the other one, and the freed hand takes the treat from Rami. She feeds it to the dog with a peculiarly casual care — what would be expected from the dog's owner, not someone who had only met Biscuit for the first time a very few minutes before. Fingers are not bitten, and the dog looks around expectantly for a second piece.

"I like heights," Maria confirms, as she lifts the sandwich again. Her back remains to the tree's trunk, leaned there while she eats and watches. "The dog's name is Biscuit?" she asks quietly. "Your dog and Acorn get along well." Tamara is watched for her reaction to being called that again; perhaps it's bait to inspire her providing a different name to be addressed by.

"She's not my dog," says Rami as he gives Maria a long look. "She belongs to a friend who is away on vacation." He glances to Tamara, then slips another treat out of his pocket to give to Tamara. "Last one," he says, before stepping towards the fly-girl. "Rami Hollingwood," he offers his hand.

If the nickname is intended as a subtle clue, it seems to fall quite short. At any rate, Tamara doesn't reply to it, or to Rami's self-introduction, with the offer of her own name. She takes the biscuit from him with a bright smile, then — of all things — releases Biscuit's leash and tosses the treat out into the grass for the dog to go get. Which she instantly barrels off to do.

Her hand settles in his and shakes once, then releases. "Maria Delgado," she offers. A glance goes to Tamara, then back to the dogsitter. "Generous of you to shelter her, Mr. Hollingwood," she comments. Her eyes look up to see his face. Way up. This, if he thinks about it, may be part of her taste for being off the ground.

"Watch her, now. She's not very fast, but she's very determined," Rami watches the loose Biscuit and Tamara chasing after her. But he doesn't seem overly concerned. She is a city dog and knows not to go barreling into traffic. "A pleasure to meet you, Miss Delgado. That's quite the talent you have there."

Traffic is a fair ways away besides, and the dog doesn't seem determined to do much but scarf down her biscuit. Just as well, because Tamara isn't watching her. She's peering at Rami instead, probably due to his statement. "More determined than you?" Biscuit then determines she's going to trot back over to the girl who gave her two biscuits and see if she has a third. Tamara scoops up the end of the leash without so much as a glance at it and goes back to scratching the dog's short fur.

"It is," she agrees with a nod. "Some may call me crazy to not hide it, but I've been a minority all my life. I've caught grief for my complexion often enough, I could never hide that, so I just deal with it. No hiding who and what I am." Maria keeps her eyes trained upward on his face, perhaps expecting him to understand as a fellow non-caucasian.

"Perhaps not, but I am quite a bit faster," Rami smiles a bit cryptically at Tamara. Two can play at this game. Even though he's fairly certain it's not a game for the girl. He looks back to Maria after the leash is grabbed. "I understand." And in more ways than she'd know. He may not be Evolved, but he has his own share of secrets. "And I suppose it helps to have an ability that allows you to escape if you face hostility, hmm?" He smiles. Faint crow's feet wrinkle at the sides of his eyes, the only sign of the Arab man's age aside from a little bit of gray in his beard.

That would be a complicated subject. Fortunately, it isn't raised. Tamara regards Rami for a moment, then shifts her gaze into the distance beyond him. Seeing… something not there. There's the quiet sound of a tongue clicking against teeth, just once. "Maybe fast enough," the girl allows. "But only in shadows."

She grins. "People don't expect a woman of my size to be able to defend herself," Maria asserts, "but if I'm really in trouble they expect me to jump and not come down even less." Her posture shifts now, she comes away from the tree trunk and stands straight, ready to react if needed. Her bearing suggests a police or military background. Perhaps the mention of facing hostility has her becoming wary.

Rami shows no change in his posture. He remains casual, open. He may be carrying a weapon, but he sees no need to even hint to the fact that he's got one, let alone prepare to draw it. He seems more like a businessman than a man of authority by his carriage at the moment. "Oh, I get the sense that you are not a woman to be underestimated." He glances sidelong to Tamara, "I'm like the wind in shadows." Cryptic.

That statement causes Tamara to scowl at Rami. She even stops petting the dog for a moment. "No, you weren't," she disagrees. Quite decisively. "Shadows don't have wind. And you're a snake." Is that good or bad? "The wind has shadows," she allows, "but that's different." Long story short: you're wrong. Stated with the certain authority of a teenager.

She doesn't comment on the question of formidability, letting Rami think what he will, and the sandwich is bitten into again. Tamara's words, though, draw her attention. A brow lifts, her head tilts, and she mulls it over. Did she see the snake? Now this man, who she calls a snake, is here. Odd, very odd, Maria considers.

Rami arches a brow at Tamara. She makes him do that a lot. "I'm a snake, am I? Is that a quip about how skinny I am?" he chuckles, but it's a bit forced. "Come on then, give me the leash. I've got to be off. Biscuit's owner says she can't be outside too long, and I'm not going to catch hell if she gets frostbite on her paws or some other nonsense."

The leash is held out almost before Rami requests it. Almost. "No, you didn't," Tamara agrees absently. She neither refutes nor confirms Rami's skinniness; rather, his quip is disregarded as the complete irrelevance it is. Blue eyes swivel to regard Maria, and the girl smiles faintly. "Finish your lunch," she instructs the flyer, in much the same tone a parent might use to redirect a child. Then, as if Rami's expressed desire to depart were some manner of coded instruction, Tamara herself begins to walk away.

The scarf remains huddled over the oak's roots, a splash of color against dirty snow.

"She's an odd one," Maria states, as the girl walks away. Her eyes fall on the scarf then, and she steps over to pick it up. One finger is held up to say 'excuse me just a moment.' With her mostly eaten sandwich still in hand, she rises into the air about ten feet and moves after Tamara at human running speed, intending to land in front of her. "You dropped this," she states, offering the scarf back.

"Very odd. I don't try to figure out the meaning in what she says. It only ends in headaches." Rami shakes his head and grins. Then Maria's up in the air. Biscuit is startled by this and starts to bark and pull on the leash. He's unprepared and gets jerked forward. "Ay ay, no!"

Tamara hadn't exactly made it more than a few steps, but it seems like Rami's stumbling does more to redirect her attention than Maria's summons. It takes little more than a hop to put Maria in front of her, at which point that isn't properly in front of the girl at all. Turning back, she holds out a hand to possibly catch Rami's shoulder should his momentary lack of balance turn into a full-fledged fall.

That was unexpected. Maria stands still to let the dog check her out if she will and avoid spooking her more so Rami can get control back, with the scarf still in her hands. An apologetic expression forms, she winces visibly. "Damn. That wasn't supposed to happen."

It comes close, close enough that Tamara will likely touch Rami to stop him from careening into her at the very least. But he manages to get his feet back under him and looks rather sheepish in the process. Biscuit is sniffing frantically around Maria's feet. A-hem. "Well, that was eventful. Come on, Biscuit. Clearly you are getting far too worked up." And with a shake of his head, he rocks back and tugs on the dog's leash.

Disaster (mostly) averted, Tamara lets her hand fall back to her side, giving the dog a mildly curious study. It's more attention than she gives the scarf still resting in Maria's hands. Or Rami, for that matter, but he's supposedly leaving.

She doesn't move except to bend down and let Biscuit sniff at her, hands placed so she can do so with them also, and gives the dog what's left of her sandwich. Tamara's scarf is still held, Maria just watches all involved.

"Oh, no don't…" too late. Biscuit scarfs down the sandwich. "I hope Michael was exaggerating about bread giving her the runs." Rami wrinkles his nose. Drool slops out of the bulldog's mouth and on to the ground. Ugh. "Good day, ladies. Come on now Biscuit." Another tug and the tall man is off, walking briskly down the path.

Tamara giggles as Rami departs, watching him walk away for a moment. Then she, too moves as if to leave — only to look back over her shoulder before Maria can say it again. "You can keep it," she informs the woman, head bobbing once.

"Ooookay," Maria answers, watching Tamara depart. She eyes the scarf, then the girl moving away, and her head shakes. "She was at the tree I picked, said she saw a snake, and called that man a snake. He knew her already, somehow. Probably just said that to mess with me, and him." Her shoulders lift and fall as she dismisses it from mind and lifts into the air. Lunch is over, she flies at a leisurely pace back to Biomere.

December 29th: London Town
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