Not Always Easy


graeme_icon.gif koshka_icon.gif

Scene Title Not Always Easy
Synopsis It might not be easy, but they'll figure a way through, somehow.
Date March 3, 2011

A Coffeehouse

A phone call had been made earlier in the morning, the caller both unashamed of the hour and that the number had been unsolicited, stolen like the wallet. For any number of reasons, Koshka could have called Graeme, to again apologize or offer recompense, or to just harass the man out of spite. But no, she'd called to meet with him. Vague on the details, though the tone of her voice held a tone of distracted concern and worry. The teenager had no idea if the man would even meet with her let alone trust her, but there's some small hope that a former teacher would still answer a call.

The meeting place chosen was public, a coffee house in Brooklyn, cheap enough to be frequented often but expensive enough to actually taste good. Koshka had arrived early, purchased a cocoa for herself, and picked out a table for two that afforded a better view of the little shop. Discretion is necessary at times, and the teenager has always prided herself on being discrete when it's needed.

Feet hooking around the legs of her chair, Koshka watches the patrons come and go. Occasionally she sips at her cocoa, careful of the scalding hot liquid. She'd already burned her tongue once being too hasty. Her eyes flick up to the clock behind the counter, checking the time, then return to people watching. She's early, but nervousness makes her unable to sit and wait.

After watching the taxi drive off down the street, Graeme pauses at the entrance of the coffee house, brows furrowed, shedding the black peacoat to reveal a grey button down shirt, which makes the black jeans that he's wearing more formal. A black with red decal messenger bag is slung over his shoulder, and the skateboard that he tends to use for transportation isn't with him. He'd already been up, at work when Koshka called him despite the early hour, but he'd agreed to meet with surprisingly little hesitation. He couldn't exactly say no, not with a clear conscience.

Once inside, he spies Koshka immediately, and there's a duck of his head in greeting. He places an order for a latte, slides a bill across the counter, and without waiting for change, walks over to join the girl at the table she's chosen. He's not quite sure what to think of this. "Koshka?" The query is concerned. "What's going on?"

Graeme's entrance isn't missed, though Koshka's attention is definitely elsewhere, studying a pair two tables over from the one she'd selected. Her eyes tick up to him when he makes his way to her table, then drop to the cup of cocoa. "Yeah… um… Thanks for agreeing to meet me. Didn't expect to be making calls like this for a while."

"I need some help." Koshka lays it plain upon the table, head lifting to look at Graeme. "But there's certain things…" She pauses, trying to decide how best to phrase it without giving too much away. She can't put people at risk again, they're already at risk without her messing it up. "Since you called my guardians instead of other… people?"

Slowly, he nods, pulling his chair around the table so that it's not directly across from her, but to where he can have a view of everything. Call him paranoid, he probably is. The messenger bag gets rested on the table, jacket draped over the chair, and he sits down, with a nod to Koshka, and reaches to place a hand on her shoulder. "You're welcome," he says.

The admission that she needs help … earns a raised brow. "Help with what?" he asks. "I can't promise anything, but … your guardians seemed like good people, and if there's anything I can do." There's a pause, and Graeme's hands fold on the table.

The feeling runs in circles, such is why Koshka chose the table she did. The view allows nearly all of the shop to be seen without it being too obvious. She watches in silence, however, as Graeme settles himself, waiting until he's sitting before speaking again. "I…" Where to begin and what is safest to begin with? "I'm not …completely sure. And there's things… I have to have Sam with to explain."

Returning to her cocoa, Koshka taps the side of her cup with her fingers. "I think… I think I need to get a job. I just… I don't know where. It… would be complicated."

Once more, he nods. "Alright, so," he says, voice gentle, prompting, "let's start with why it's complicated, and I'll see what we can do from there." He holds up a hand, to have her pause, and gets up. Less than a minute later, he returns with the coffee he'd ordered. "Take your time, yeah?"

Koshka nods, her attention floating toward the pair of coffee drinkers two tables over. They seem to be the closest, in relation to where the table is. Close enough to make her cautious, far enough that speaking could be safe. When Graeme returns, her focus moves back to him, brows drawing together. If she's wrong in this, it would cause a lot of trouble.

"I'm not carrying proper ID," the teenager explains, letting out a slow breath. It's vague enough, it could be passed off as a kid who doesn't have a social security card. Those are often required for work as well. Brows raise slightly, though still knitted with some tension, but she lifts her cup of cocoa as though things were absolutely normal.

Graeme's brows furrow in concern. From his one talk with Brian, he's pretty sure what this means, and it's a conundrum, the same conundrum he's faced before, though.

"Koshka," he starts, softly. "You know I'm a teacher. I've worked with kids who lack documentation," of all sorts, left unsaid, "a fair amount. My first responsibility here is that you're safe, not forcing you into something you don't want to do, but if you want, I can look into what can be done."

And he's pretty sure that for her, it's not going to be as simple as it was for him to update his own registration.

"I'm safe." It's an assurance that Koshka can offer with some certainty. Steps are being taken to make sure all the kids are safe. "It's…" She pauses, unaware of any talks the former teacher has had with Brian, besides the very first meeting. "I need to help out more, and… I don't have the resources that my guardians had. It's not like before." She's not in search of spending money, this is bigger or she wouldn't be jumping around the subject.

Giving her cup a little twirl, Koshka glances toward the clock on the wall then to the couple. They seem to be getting set to leave. "No one's forcing me to do anything. I'm just… I need to… to contribute, to do more."

Graeme sips from his coffee, nodding, considering. His eyes flick across the room as he's thinking, and then he nods for Koshka to continue. "I have some friends," he says, "and one of them is someone I happen to trust. A great deal. Would it be alright with you if I talked to her about this?" It's clear from the tone of voice that Graeme will not betray the teenager's confidence. At least, not without damn good reason, and she hasn't given him that yet. "She may know some opportunities I don't."

"Maybe," Koshka answers, uncertain. She's taking a chance even coming to Graeme, but Sam has enough to worry about and someone has to step up. She was asked to help out more, finding means for survivability is definitely one way to help. "I just… I need this to not… get loud. I can't really explain why, but…" She looks up at Graeme, hoping he understands.

Once again, Graeme nods. He's quiet for a moment, but he does nod. "Alright." Bringing it up to Liz is easy enough, and Graeme's sorting through all sorts of questions in his head. Most of them can wait for later. The one he's about to ask isn't, but he's cautious, pitching his voice for the teenager, and the teenager alone. "You're evolved, yes?" He pauses. "I talked to Brian, a few days after …"

Graeme sets his palms on the table, pretty much braced for Koshka to react badly to the question. But it's a question that he needs to know the answer of, nonetheless.

The nod Koshka offers is quick in coming. For all her tentative nature regarding documentation and identification, she's not ashamed of her evolved status. "I control dust and… that sort of thing." Her answer is quiet, enough to encompass the table but no further. "I'm way better at control than I was before." Unrequested information, but something she feels might be important.

He nods, a frown pursing on his lips. An ability that could easily be classified as dangerous, from what he does know. But instead of saying anything about that, he just offers, "I am too." The frown is directed to his coffee cup, which is now nearly empty. "I can keep going at stuff for a lot longer than anyone should be able to. Which can have its downsides." Obviously, he nods. "You probably figured this out by now," he says, "but I do need to talk to Sam. The more I know about what changed, the … more I can possibly help." There's an apologetic smile.

Koshka's thoughts echo that frown. She's well aware of the dangers her own power possesses. More than just manipulating and controlling dust, it has an element to be harmful as well, beyond just irritating the senses. She's seen the damage it can do, the damage she can do with it. But rather than speak on that, she follows the conversational change, nodding to Graeme's revelation of being evolved as well. "I bet, seems like they're all good and bad, whatever other people think. —And I'll let Sam know or… find out what I can tell."

Once more, Graeme nods. "You know, the biggest obstacle to you getting papers so you can work and such is going to be the issue of your guardianship." He pauses. "But I'll look into it, and I'll see what I can do, what can be done." He moves to get up, placing a hand on the girl's shoulder. "And getting you enrolled in school, possibly simultaneously …" That's not so much directed at her, though. It's thinking aloud, the thought left to hang in the air.

The last thing he really needs, with the issues he's having at the moment, is someone dependent on him, but there's the part of him, the part of him that is at his very core a teacher, that can't say no, can't turn her away. "You have my phone number. If there's anything you need, call me." Graeme offers Koshka a bit of a smile.

"Guardianship," Koshka very nearly whines. She hadn't even considered that. Her father, her actual adoptive father and not the pair that had taken her in, is somewhere. Through a series if miscommunication and inability to take on faith, he'd abandoned her during the holidays. The whole prospect of getting the kids, Lighthouse, and Sami through this whole mess seems even more daunting. "Man… why can things never be easy?"

With a sigh, Koshka nods. She hadn't wanted to be a further burden to anyone, but she lacks the resources to find answers herself. Sometimes you really do have to ask for help. "Thanks, Graeme. For… everything. Really. And I'm sorry." For stealing, for bringing the problems of absolute strangers to him.

"You're welcome, Koshka," comes the response, and he pats her shoulder, gently, then begins to put on his jacket, taking out his phone. "The phone number you called me from, does that reach you?" There's another pause. "It might not be easy, no," he continues, "but we'll deal with that when we come to it."

"Yeah," Koshka says with a nod, "that's my cell number. That's the best way to find me." Letting out a long sigh, she musters up a grin, a brave front for difficult times. "It'll be alright. We'll figure a way through." Same hope she'd had just the other day, but it's all she's got. She picks up her cocoa and slides off from her chair. "I should probably check in back home. And.. there's still work to be done."

Graeme nods. "Take care of yourself," he says, in parting, then walking out to the street to hail a taxi, with a glance at his cell phone as he both uses it for a watch, and saves Koshka's number. Once he's outside, the lines of worry write themselves more heavily on his face, and he nods to himself as he closes the door of the taxi.

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