Not Enough Garlic


delia_icon.gif nick2_icon.gif

Scene Title Not Enough Garlic
Synopsis While Nick and Delia are happy to be out in the city, the city isn't as inviting.
Date July 25, 2011

From Eltingville Blocks to Brooklyn

The grey clouds covering the sky make the early evening seem even later, and much darker, than it is. It's only 4pm and it already looks as though the sun is getting ready to set itself down for the night. The fence, that is overgrown at the bottom with weeds and scrub and coiled across the top with razor wire, makes the small community seem uninviting and inhospitable. Some of the residents on the inside might agree, others might not.

There are guards with guns milling about the maw of an entrance checking every vehicle and stopping every pedestrian to check IDs, question, and sometimes seize the personal property of their targets if the mood strikes. Those leaving are checked as well, as is the case for a young redheaded woman waiting impatiently in line.

When Delia steps up, she passes over her cell phone, purse, and ID. She doesn't relinquish the umbrella, only because she's not appropriately dressed for the rain. Already her thin skirt is clinging uncomfortably to her legs and the wet drops that are pushed under the protection of the umbrella create a dapple pattern on her silky shirt. She doesn't even look at the guard as she waits for her clearance, smiling past him and lifting her hand to wave to a truck on the other side of the gate.

The man in the truck lifts a hand in response; he's too far away for her to see the coldness in Nick's eyes as he watches the guards search and clear each person entering and exiting the "blocks."

His window is down, despite the rain, and his hand taps out a nervous tattoo on the side of the door in time to the music on the radio. When she's finally cleared, he restarts the truck, then leans over to open her door for her — a true gentleman might get out and run around the car to open it, but — well, it's Nick.

The umbrella is folded and pulled into the cab before Delia closes the door and finally turns to lean over and give Nick a peck on the cheek. She's happy to see him, evident by her breathlessness brought on by the run to the truck. If she'd walked, she might be a little dryer right now. At least her feet up to her ankles would be. As it is, they're little flecks of dirt and dried grass clippings stuck to them. Her outfit would have used some more thought.

"Hi," she greets first. The redhead might consider herself the more talkative of the duo, so she takes it upon herself to make sure the air in the truck is filled with their voices instead of just the radio. "How's your day so far?" That might be a trick question.

He arches a brow at the run to the car, lips tilting up in a crooked smile in amusement. Following her peck on the cheek with a more carefully aimed brush of lips, Nick turns back to the front to roll up his window with the touch of a button, and pull away from the curb.

"Better now," he says lightly, as he makes his way into moving traffic to head back toward the city. "What d'you want for dinner? Actual restaurant, pub grub, more heart-attack on a bun?" One might think he was a health food nut — if it weren't or the cigarettes he recently gave up and the drug-abuse in his past.

"I'll spare you the coronary," Delia quips back, thumbing the latch to her seatbelt and making sure it's properly adjusted. Then her hand crawls across the seat to rest her fingers lightly alongside his leg. She's silent for a moment, lost in thought, as she stares out the front window. Her blue eyes trail the black wipers as they swish back and forth, it's a slow progression.

It's not until they've almost hit the ferry that she finally turns to him with an answer. The filmy material of her outfit is already dry and the umbrella helped save what little she did to her hair. "Besides curry, what's your favorite? They have some nice Italian places in the city?" Because New York is loaded with Italian people… and Irish.

"Anything with flavor. Italian's good." Left to his own devices, he'd probably eat "Paki" or Chinese or pizza more days than not, more for convenience and the required "flavor" than that they're his favorites. "There's a little Italian place in Brooklyn that looks good," he adds after a moment, realizing he isn't the most forthcoming with information.

Glancing at her, he makes an apologetic face. "Favorite foods, favorite colors, stuff like that… I'm kinda boring, ya know? Favorite shirt is whichever one is clean. Favorite food is whatever's close and edible and won't require cleanup." He returns his gaze to the road. "I actually used to cook, when I was younger. Nothing posh of course. Haven't done in a long time, though, unless you count microwaving popcorn or somethin'."

At least Brooklyn is a short drive, not much drab scenery to suffer through while they fumble for things to talk about. Finding herself at a loss, Delia's lips purse into a thin line as she nods to the list of favorites. "Sooooo…" the word is drawn out while the redhead attempts to find something in there to latch onto. Lucky for her, Nick provides.

"Cook? Really? I cook sometimes, I try anyway." She scratches nervously against the seat, actually laughing a little at his attempt of a joke. "I don't do much of it anymore… the community center has meals and since Tania isn't home anymore…" Her voice drifts off and she shrugs one shoulder before looking out the window. "I just don't do much at the house anymore. There's no point, really."

Nick nods, though he glances at her through the corner of her eyes, brows dipping with some concern for her mood. "Yeah. I never cook just for me. I'd offer to cook for you but it'd be pretty bland — bangers and mash, eggs and chips, shepherd's pie is about as complicated as I ever done, but that didn't come out too well. I was 14, I think, though, so you know… some points for effort."

Eventually they make it to Brooklyn, conversation seguing into foods they don't like (fish at the top of Nick's list, along with beets and black pudding). Finally he parks on a quaint little street full of shops and restaurants that make up the bases of the apartment buildings above.

It's not a neighborhood that she's actually familiar with, considering Brooklyn is a fairly big city in its own right. It even has a beach, she went to it once. Her hand hovers over the door latch as she stares through the window to the little strip of shops and eateries. She turns bodily toward the door before tossing him a glance over her shoulder and smiling. "I've never had eggs and potato chips, I'm not sure I'd like that at all. Especially if you used salt and vinegar or barbeque," she teases and then jumps out her side, not giving him the time to scold or correct her obvious misinterpretation.

She leaves the umbrella in the truck, the rain isn't that heavy and he's already seen her as she's supposed to be. So she waits, slowly collecting the sprinkles of water in a chaotic spotty pattern on her shirt and skirt. "Thanks for this," she murmurs, taking his hand and lacing her fingers with his. "I like being out with you, or in… either way."

Nick locks the truck and slips the key chain into his leather jacket with his free hand, then glances down at their interlacing fingers. "The funny thing is, as bizarre as it is, it's the closest to something normal I've ever done," he admits quietly.

That admission has him moving his feet, jutting his chin forward. "Just a half block this way. Luigi's, I think it's called," he says for a quick change of subject.

The small restaurant is one of those that gets by on local customers rather than any sort of tourists who wouldn't know to go to this little treasure trove of a street. It's inexpensive, but authentic, and the scent of tomato, oregano and garlic makes its way out of the doors to entice foot traffic in.

"Really?" Delia's eyes widen at his revelation and she squeezes his hand a little, giving him a small smile. Just before he opens the door to the restaurant, she looks up at him and pulls her hand from his to give him a small hug. "I hope it's not disappointing."

The dim atmosphere of the restaurant gives her cause to take in a small breath and let it out in a sigh. "This place is so pretty," she whispers, grabbing his bicep with both hands and hugging close to him. Jutting her chin toward a chalkboard menu, she almost squeals out when she reads one of her own favorites. "They have gnocchi! I haven't had that in so long.." Turning to look up at him, there's a little blush across her cheeks and nose and once agian she leans up to give him a kiss on the cheek.

The clientelle, for the most part, are middle aged to elderly. People local to the blocks surrounding the little place, the types who know each other by name and reputation. In this place Delia and Nick are outsiders and one glance down at the young woman's ankle turns to two and three. The whispers begin almost immediately, along with a point of a finger here and there.

He steps in after holding the door for her, glancing down a bit shyly at her surprise at the confession. The years between his leaving the Ruskin home and coming to New York are something he hasn't discussed — for good reason.

His blue eyes skim the chalkboard, and he looks to the hostess stand before noticing the whispers of the other diners. His brows furrow and he tries to shield her view with his lean frame. "I might be underdressed, Del. There was a little cafe across the way that looked good," he begins, tugging her hand.

"Hey Tony!" The call comes form a heavy set male at a small table for two near the center of the room. His neck rolls off the back of his collared shirt, looks something like a little muffin top. It's red, much like the rest of his face. Ripping his napkin from its tuck, he wipes his mouth and tosses down on his plate of meatballs and red gravy. "Tony! Get out here!! You got one'a them freaks at the door!!"

The woman he sits with turns away from the pair at the door and begins collecting her things even though her plate doesn't look as though it's been touched except for a small bite near the edge.

Another table, this time an elderly couple, watch the display and begins to follow suit with gathering their things. A plastic rain hat, carefully folded into a purse finds its way into a shaky hand and is laid out next to its owners plate as she arranges her sweater. It's not hot enough outside for the outerwear but rituals breed in parts of the city such as this. Much like contempt for things that are a bit out of the ordinary.

Seeming somewhat surprised, Delia glances at some of the other patrons and then Nick, probably comparing their attire. "A-are you sure?" She's hesistant and furrows her eyebrows up at him in worry. While she's not oblivious to the stares or whispers, she is too proud to give them the satisfaction of a reaction. "You look just fine to me," she states primly, raising her chin in the direction of the loud man. "Much better than he does."

Nick would argue that it's his leather jacket and t-shirt that's the problem, but the word freak has his head turning to glare at the diner making the scene. "Y'wanna come over here and call her that to my face?" he growls across the room, demanding the attention of anyone who had been trying to ignore the problem surrounding them.

True, Nick isn't as formidable as he might have been before his illness; Delia knows his pallor comes from many weeks inside and anemia. But there's that dangerous flash of anger in his eyes, and the readiness to fight apparent in his fists at his side.

A shorter man with wild curly black hair, peppered with grey throughout, jogs from the back and in between the portly gentleman and Nick. One look at the anklet and he doesn't need to wait for any explanation. "Outside with your trouble! Out!!" He waves a towel, not at Nick but at Delia, attempting to shoo her from the establishment. His free hand is held up to stop the lady at the table from leaving. "Please Bartolo, Gina, you stay. The trouble will go or I call the police, eh?" His accent is from the old country, as they call it. A man no more native to New York than Nick is himself.

Delia's red head is lowered and she hunches her shoulders backing away defensively. Were it not for the old couple cowered at their own table, too frightened to move, she might have stood beside Nick and held her ground. Instead, she places a hand on his arm and tugs him back with her. "Come on Nick, we can.." Go to a drive through. Get take out. One of the many alternatives she's given him to actually eating out in the past. "Curry, you like curry.. and they know you there." They've seen her a couple of times, they might be a little more lenient.

"Go back to where you came from!" Bartolo jeers, his glare flicking between Nick and Delia, making the natural assumption that the man she's with also wears a cuff. It's probably hidden under his jeans. "We don't need your kind here!!"

While Nick's lapses in memory may make him less morose, they don't seem to make him any less tempestuous. "Did you fuckin' call my girlfriend trouble?" he growls at the manager, stepping between Delia and the rest of the restaurant, shaking her hand off. "Didn't anyone ever tell you not to judge people when you don't know shit about what they been through?"

His head swivels to Bartolo, undecided between the two, but Bartolo's jibes finally win out. Nick pushes past Tony toward the other man's table, stopping a couple feet shy. "Did you wanna say that to my face, mate?"

At first, Delia is content to just slip out quietly and let the people in the place go back to their meals and bigotry in peace but then Nick is added to the equation. When he pushes past Tony, she tries to go after him, once again placing a hand on his arm. "Nick, please, let's just go to that place you were talking about before?"

The manager, quick to recover his footing gets behind Delia. His hand curls around her wrist and he's not exactly gentle about urging her outside. A rough yank causes her to lose her footing and she stumbles backward, falling into the table with the old couple. The woman lets out a shriek of fright.

"You! Out! Or I call the police!!"

Bartolo rises to his full height, a few inches taller than Nick and he looks down his bulbous nose at the young man. "We. Don't. Need. Your. Kind." He repeats slowly, puffing his chest out and bumping the smaller Englishman backward.

Distracted by the manager tugging Delia, Nick doesn't back up in time to keep the other man from pushing him back, and when he turns back, it's with a fist to Bartolo's jaw. His other hand seeks out the man's dinner, shoving it onto the ground. If he can't eat here tonight, Bartolo's dinner is getting ruined too.

"Tosser," Nick growls, striding away to where Delia is being manhandled and pushing Tony away from her. "Get your hands off her."

Eyes hard and small, jaw tense and one hand still in a fist, ready to strike out, he reaches for Delia's hand with the other. "This place is a piece of shit. Let's go."

As if it were their idea.

Bartolo reels backward when he's actually caught surprised by the little firecracker's fist. He stumbles into the table, grappling the cloth for balance. What he finds is his wife's plate. Two meals are ruined when he reaches under the plate and brings it up, flinging it in Nick's direction. He misses but hits the wall next to Delia, sending a spray of white wine sauce into her hair and face. "Go home freak!! Go back to your island!!"

The redhead lets out a cry and covers her face with one hand. Slowly, she pushes it into her hair and pulls it through her curls. She comes up with a lemon. Delia squints up at him and her lips turn downward, her chin trembles and she glances back at Bartolo. "Thank you," her hoarse whisper barely manages to meet his ears, "but I think we'll be going somewhere else." Then she grips Nick's hand and pushes her way out the door a little ahead of him.

Nick's feet drag as if he would go once more into the fray, but Delia's insistent hand finally gets him out of the restaurant. Once back out on the street he tugs her hand, pulling her into his arms.

There is no passionate kiss this time, but simply comfort and security offered in the embrace. "I'm sorry," he whispers — whether for his own volatile actions or for what the others had said, is unclear. The door to the restaurant opens, and Nick tugs her to begin walking. "Let's get before I get arrested for assault and battery," he whispers, smirking at the thought.

Delia's not ready to walk when Nick urges her down the sidewalk, back toward the truck. She follows alongside him, her head tucked into his chest and her arms circled around his waist, still seeking the comfort and security. "Okay," she ekes out, her voice a little squeaky and cracking. She smells like the vinegar lemon scent of the wine sauce splashed on her.

Rivulets of the sticky substance trickle down on her blouse and skirt, they stick to her skik, making her uncomfortable. "I'm sorry for all this, if we go out again… I'll hide it better." She pauses to look up to him with a rather bittersweet smile on her features. "Promise."

The men stand in the doorway, Bartolo rubbing his jaw, but it seems they aren't calling the police or given chase, content to see that Delia and Nick are leaving. Nick glances back to be sure, then at Delia in disbelief.

"If you apologize for what those wankers did one more time…" he says in exasperation, before reaching for her again, pulling her in for another hug. His head bows down this time to kiss her lightly, before he pulls away with a smile and a shake of his head. "Way too much lemon, not enough garlic. We can do better," he teases.

"You think so?" Delia sniffles, wiping her eyes with the heel of her hand. Her mood somber again, she glances around them and then focuses on a little shop across the street. She unwravels her arm from around Nick's waist and points toward the yellow light poking through the windows. A small grocery. "Let's get the stuff then, let's see if we can?

"But uhm… before we start cooking," she leads in with a grin, lacing her fingers with his again. "I'm going to take a shower. Okay?"

Nick's eyes are wide at the sniffles and tears, so he aims for clownishness, reaching for a noodle that dangles off her blouse, and bringing it to his mouth. He chews thoughtfully, then smiles again.

"Maybe not better, but we can have fun trying," he says, squeezing her hand and moving to cross the street. "You can wear some shorts and a t-shirt when you're out," he agrees. "It never stopped you before."

Yes, he knows she stole his clothes when she and Toru commandeered his apartment.

"I can't believe you're eating someone else's leftovers," Delia giggles as they close in on the store. A quick glance down at her ankle and she stops short, a few feet from the door. Reaching for both Nick's wrists, she guides his hands toward her face and places his palms against her cheeks. "Can I have the keys to your truck? I'm going to wait there… Just in case."

She squints her eyes a little and gives him a close lipped smile, crooked. When she lets go of his hands, she slips hers down to his sides and holds onto his t-shirt. "You called me your girlfriend," she murmurs, the smile spreading wide. Apparently Delia can be a little bit girlish when the situation doesn't call for it.

He frowns at the request to go sit in the truck, but Nick doesn't argue; the frown slips into a smirk as she points out his diction. "Yeah, well," he says, slipping his hand into his pocket to get the keys to the truck.

"I didn't think calling you my bitch would get you the respect I was demanding for you." The keys are put in her hand, and he leans to kiss her cheek. "I'll be right out. Any requests?"

He waits a moment, then adds, "You know I'm just getting a jar of Ragu and a box of pasta, right?"

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