Not the Same Person She Used to Be


eileen_icon.gif kurt_icon.gif

Scene Title Not the Same Person She Used to Be
Synopsis This is what Kurt says of Brooke Lynwood, once Odessa Knutson, now Joy. Eileen disagrees, and not just because the painkillers have left her a little unhinged.
Date November 1, 2009

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

It's not quite busy yet in the old diner. Just before the normal supper hours and most people in the neighborhood have gone home after work. Kurt however is starving and the young man heads straight from the bike couriers across the street to the restaurant in hopes of the special already being up. Taking a look at the board as he walks in the regular waves to Natasha before taking a seat and settling himself down, "Evening." He chimes in his overly friendly voice and she doesn't hand him a menu but instead goes to grab coffee right away.

As Natasha is fetching Kurt's coffee, the bell above the front door jangles a second time, filling the diner with the tinny sound of clattering brass. There's a young woman in the doorway, dressed in dark colours and a thick woolen pea coat made from charcoal fibers that match the shade of the cashmere head scarf she wears knotted under her chin to cover her hair. Her skin is too pale, too insipidly pastel for her to claim Middle Eastern descent, but there's also something about the shape of her cat green eyes and the curve of her painted mouth that suggests a strange lineage of some esoteric variety.

"Do you mind if I sit down?" she asks, sliding into the seat opposite Kurt before he has the opportunity to refuse consent. "It's been a long day and I could use the company."

Kurt hums and looks up from the table where he was just recently tracing imaginary lines with his finger, "Um…ah…sure." He says not knowing or caring enough to find a way to refuse. He pulls the white toque off his head and sets it down on the seat beside him now that he is indoors. Natasha sets down his coffee and looks to the strange randomly sitting people for a second before catching herself and setting down a menu for the woman. Kurt finally chimes after a moment of hesitation, "Sorry Kurt Campbell." He freely offers to the woman as he holds out a hand.

The woman takes Kurt's hand and closes porcelain cool fingers around his. "Eileen," she says. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Kurt Campbell. Most people in this day and age would've told me to sod off. That's a point in your favour." To Natasha, she offers a tight-lipped smile as she releases Kurt's hand and lays her palm flat on the table. "I don't suppose you've got any rooibos tea?" she asks. "I usually take your English Breakfast, but I think I'm in the mood for something different this evening."

Kurt shrugs at the compliment, "Most people in this day and age have few manners, hate to count myself amoung them either." He jests lightly and cradling the mug of black coffee between his hands he takes a satisfying sip of the bitter beverage, "Best coffee in the city here, or are you one of those people who don't drink it?"

Eileen uses the tips of her fingers to push her menu aside, lacquered nails flashing tea rose pink in the diner's wan glow. "The weather isn't quite right for coffee," she says. "Not enough frost in the trees, ice in the windows. We've a few more days of sunshine before the coffee weather sets in." She folds her hands at the tables edge, fingers interlaced, and squares slim shoulders with a twinge of something that looks like pain but is too fleeting for Kurt to be sure. "Please forgive me for being so blunt — I swear to you I'm not usually this forward. Do you know a Brooke Lynwood?"

A second of flitting shock crosses Kurt's face before he hides it and asks without answering, "Why would you assume I know this Brooke?" He's not exactly the master of deception or anything in that regard. "I'm the type who drinks coffee all year round." He continues the other conversation as Natasha comes back to their table to take their order with a pot of rooibos tea for the lady, "Just the special hun." He points to the board proclaiming a lasagna.

"I make it my business to know things," says Eileen, "as I'm sure Brooke can tell you. She's cleverer than I originally gave her credit for. There aren't many people with the guile to slip under my radar, and this is twice she's done it. It's actually very embarrassing." She picks up the pot of tea in one hand, clasping it by the handle, and uses the other to steady her ceramic cup as she pours steaming liquid from the spout into the bottom of the vessel. "You're meant to drink tea from the pot, you know. If you're English, anyway, which I am. Pots aren't just meant for boiling water. Decorating stoves."

Kurt knows he knows he's heard 'Brooke' say the name Eileen before and he has to ask giving up any idea that he doesn't know the blonde woman. He hums and rests his chin on his palm, still holding the coffee with one hand, "Wait did you grow up in some kind of institution?"

"Some kind of institution," Eileen echoes in a tone that isn't without some amusement, some mirth. She sets the teapot back down and reaches across the table for one of the packets of honey stacked beside the sugar and salt. "You'll have to be more specific than that, Kurt. Are we talking about some kind of educational institution? Private welfare? Orphanage? Psychiatric hospital? Because I'm not crazy, if that's what you're asking, though I might've overdone it with the vicodin this morning."

Drug, it always comes down to drug references even in vicodin is a prescription drug, "Yeah I know who Brooke is…" Kurt tells the woman, "And I remember her mentioning someone named Eileen she met at her 'school'." He doesn't know much about the mysterious upbringing, "but why are you looking for her?" He asks a touch defensively.

That defensiveness does not go unnoticed. Eileen peels off the plastic from the package and licks the honey off the back before sticking it to disposable napkin which she then folds into quarters and uses as a makeshift coaster for her cup. "I won't lie to you. I'm not over-concerned about Brooke's personal wellbeing or who she chooses to associate with." The honey descends from the package into the tea in a steady trickle that eventually tapers off into a few fat drops of amber-coloured liquid. "I would, however, like to have a little chat with her about the agreement I thought we'd reached the last time we spoke. She appears to have, ah— reneged."

Kurt raises an eyebrow at this, "I probably don't even wanna ask." He says lightly then takes another sip of the coffee, "Can't tell you where she is if that's what you wanted from me sorry." He shrugs lightly and then the food shows up, "For home style food, nothing better then this diner." The food does look delicious and Kurt cuts a slice in the center to let the pasta cool.

"I wouldn't know," Eileen says around the rim of her cup. "My knowledge of American cuisine starts at dollar slice pizza and ends at those little styrofoam cups of clam chowder they sell down at Bedford Avenue and Empire Boulevard. I've heard good things about ham hocks and red velvet cake, but I haven't had the opportunity to try either." She pauses to take a long drink of tea, watching Kurt from beneath hooded eyes and lashes dewy from the rain. When the cup is set back down on the napkin, she reaches up and touches her fingertips to the corner of her mouth, wiping away a smear of semi-diluted honey. "You could tell Brooke that Eileen is looking for her," she suggests, "though you might lock her in the bathroom before you do. She likes to rabbit at the first sign of trouble."

Kurt rolls his eyes a little at this, "Well I'll be sure to pass on the message if I can." He tells the English woman and cuts off a piece of his lasagna to try and eat neatly. Swallowing the dark man smiles towards the woman, "But really can I not to convince you to leave her alone? She's not the same person she use to be."

At this, Eileen lets out a thin croak of laughter that's as hoarse as it is unpleasant and grating on the ears. "No," she agrees. "She isn't. Her name is Brooke now. That changes everything, doesn't it?" As she speaks, she reaches into her pea coat pocket and retrieves a clip of cash folded in two and held in place by a silver fastener. "To be perfectly honest, our lives are too entangled for that to really be an option. Not without a lot of hissing and tearing, anyway."

Kurt's eyebrow raises higher now, "Alrighty then…" He says hesitantly and shakes his head after a quick shrugs of his shoulders. The lasagna is just pushed around in the boat dish it was served in and he finally raises a hand to flag the waitress over to get his meal to go, "Well defiantly interesting meeting you Miss. Eileen… I'm all antsy to start questioning you about Brooke but probably not a good idea." He smiles trying to lighten the mood.

"Oh, there will be plenty of opportunities for questions." Eileen counts out four dollar bills — enough to cover the cost of her tea, plus tip — and tosses them down onto the table. "We haven't seen the last of each other, I'm sure. As it happens, I have a proposition for the two of you, but that's perhaps a conversation for another time."

Kurt hums and he is given the container to package his food in by himself. Using a fork he carefully puts the lasagne away for another time, "How much do you know about me? I'm feeling I've got a definite disadvantage on you." He chuckles lightly and leans back against the scarlet vinyl of the booth.

Eileen places the clip of money back in her coat pocket. "I know that you live in the Village Renaissance Building," she says. "I know that you and Brooke are close, or at least as close as she's willing to allow someone after everything that's happened to her. I know that you work for the Alley Cat Courier, because I followed you in here after staking out the front of the building for the past—" Click goes the silver face of the pocket watch that has mysteriously found its way into the palm of her small hand when it was still in her pea coat's silk-lined interior. "Two hours and forty-eight minutes. Call it a disadvantage if you want, though I'll tell you what: ask me a question, any question at all, and I'll answer you honestly. How's that?"

Kurt hums and shrugs at this cause it sounds like she doesn't know as much as he first thought which makes him a little more at ease. Taking a slow sip of the coffee Kurt looks over the mug at the woman and raises an eyebrow looking at the watch, "What kind of institution did you two grow up in?" He asks.

"One of misshapen steel and burnt rubble scorched black by the fires of divine retribution," Eileen answers, punctuating her response with another snap of her pocket watch as she flicks it shut. "It's surrounded by a broken glass sea that glitters like blood diamonds when the sun is rising out of the Atlantic and the light hits it just right. Eagle Electric, Long Island City. You can even visit it if you'd like, see what's left of the kiln that set us."

Kurt can't help but chuckle a little at this response since it makes little to know sense to his tired brain at the moment, "Alrighty then…" He says again and starts to slide out of the seat. Grabbing his wallet the man puts out enough for his items and a tip, placing it on top of the woman's money. "Well when I catch Brooke I'm try and remember to talk to her about you."

"I would appreciate that, Kurt. Thank you very much." Sliding the pocket watch back into her coat, Eileen moves to leave, excusing herself from the booth with nary a good bye. Instead, she bids the man farewell with her eyes on her way out the door, departure heralded by the same jingling of bells that announced her arrival only a few minutes ago.

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