Nothing Fancy


abby_icon.gif dantes_icon.gif hagan_icon.gif laura_icon.gif maria_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Nothing Fancy
Synopsis Exactly that! Various people collide in a diner, for better or worse. Also, Hagan smiles. (Grins once.) Denies ever doing it.
Date January 3, 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 a cold evening in New York, the harsh tones of artificial lights glinting from the crust of snow that isn't any closer to melting now than it has been at any time in recent weeks. Inside the Nite Owl, the atmosphere is far warmer — warm enough for Laura to have shucked her coat as she waits just inside the diner's threshold, the powder-blue garment with its faux fur ruff now folded over one arm. The rest of her clothing is almost out of place — khaki pants and a turquoise blouse, perhaps as if she'd come directly from work. The light touch of makeup on her features also supports this, for all that it's Saturday. At present, she's waiting for the waitresses to finish bussing tables in the wake of the dinnertime rush, and for the person she's meeting to actually arrive.

"Pardon me" Abby enters in past Laura, backpack heavy with books over one shoulder, arm in sling on the other. "Sorry, just, need to get past you" All this spoken while the young blonde squeezes past laura. There's a seat at the counter, which Abby takes becuase she's not meeting anyone there, bag slung to the foot of the stool, an intricate dance to get up on it, then overturn the coffee cup so that it can be filled on natasha's next go round.

Hagan really, really does try not to be late. But you see, he's not quite used to how long it takes to get places. If he's meeting people at the pub, usually it's a group. And then it doesn't matter if he's not right on time. Meeting a woman is another story, but this is also a fairly new experience for him. So the Irishman's a little out of breath as he fumbles with the door to the diner. First he pushes when he's supposed to pull, then he's in and pushing back his hood. "Bloody cold," he murmurs to no one in particular, then spots the familiar hair almost right away. "Laura! Sorry. Sorry. Traffic. Bastards. Snow. Shoelaches. Abby!" What? He lifts a hand to the blonde girl with the backpack. "Have you gotten a second job hauling rocks?"

"Oh! Sorry, lemme move." Laura steps aside as there's someone suddenly wanting the walking space, the woman turning to watch Abby progress to the bar. Then the bell on the door jingles again, and she's twisting to look over her shoulder, meeting another pair of blue eyes in a familiar face. "Hagan!" She grins at his flustered apologies, but doesn't quite laugh. "Sounds like the city as usual." Her own blue eyes swivel back to Abby, and one pale eyebrow arches. Then to Hagan again, upon whose shoulder she taps a finger. "Gonna introduce us?" Laura prompts with a gently teasing smile.

"School, O'Sullivan" She knows the voice of her favourite or well one of her favourite bar flies and she looks over. "Just some of the books for school. I'm gonna get me some learning. Become a better woman. So i'm not working in a bar for the rest of my life. God's gift put to use" He's here for another person though, the blonde at the door. Abby's blue eyes shuffle to her, a warm smile. "Abigail Beauchamp. I'm a bartender at Old Lucy's. One of my favourite barfly's. Give him a pint, and he just might smile really wide." She shifts on her stool and offers her good hand out to Laura.

"Oh come now, that's a nasty rumor. I don't smile. Smiles are fiction," And although that clearly was a joke, Hagan does indeed, not crack a smile. "School? What are you going to school for?" Then he's looking to Laura, "Em. Yes, I know her from the bar. Where we met that first night?" He makes a vague hand-motion, but he lets Laura introduce herself.

"Liar." Laura casts a grin at Hagan, then steps forward to take the hand offered by Abby. "Laura Morgan. Pleased to meet you," she says with an amiable smile. "Got out of school a long time ago myself, thankfully. Don't envy you that!" The arm in the sling is eyed curiously. "What happened to your arm?" Apparently it's 'question Abby time'.

"I got shot. That's all. So you met him, in my bar? That's a story I bet." Change the subject. Change it, change it, change it. "I'm going to see about becoming an EMT. Which should be no surprise to Hagan here. What did you go through for?" It's interrogate Hagan's date time as well. What? He has no family here and she's a vested interest in keeping him alive. At that, Abby's looking him over. "No touch ups?"

"Jaysus Abby. I think I've seen you hurt almost as many times as I've seen you," Hagan's voice shows concern even if it sounds more like an admonishment. He looks to Laura, "Uh, did you really want coffee? I hear pie is good here." He glances back to the counter, then back to Abby. "Touch ups?" He touches his face. He remains surprisingly uninjured. The punch Claude gave him didn't do much damage.

Dantes is…still dead. So far as his friends know. But he's alive enough to crave soup and pie, and he hasn't been here in ages so it doesn't count as returning to his old haunts, right? Right. Dantes is somber and thoughtful as he more or less slinks in, in dark coat, white dress shirt, and jeans. And then there's Abby, who does know him. Or of him.

She's visible through the Nite Owl's large windows as she approaches the diner, and making no effort not to be seen. Her arrival and the manner of it are no surprise to the servers here, they've seen her before and possibly pay little attention to it. But to others, including the customers in the place at that time, it may be otherwise.

Maria, a five foot three inch woman of Persian/Hispanic heritage clad in a winter coat over jeans and sneakers, descends slowly from the sky and lands three feet from the door which she then opens.

Once inside, she picks an open table and unslings the messenger bag which was across her back.

"Not really! Just insulting random strangers." Laura smiles at Hagan, then hooks her arm through his and pulls towards the counter. "Coffee goes with pie," she points out cheerfully. "Oh, I only went as far as high school. Vocational training after that. More 'on the job' than in any, like, formal setting." And now she's a security consultant, according to the card Hagan has. Dantes is a familiar face, from that same evening at Old Lucy's. "Speaking of people from the bar… hi," Laura greets him with a broad grin. Too distracted with the people already in the diner to have noticed Maria's approach, Laura just gives the woman a brief nod as she passes by in search of a table.

"I know Hagan. It's funny, really, that I think about it. Like some.. anti-karma" She doesn't mention the touch up thing again, her attenton drawn to Dantes with a slight wave and a glance to Maria as she comes in. She hadn't seen the woman's method of entry, too busy chatting with Laura and Hagan. "Opposite. GED, but, I had some friends who are pushing me to.. better myself. I got the letter just before christmas, but was too busy to open it. Just getting some books that I can't have a friend get for me. Try.. the apple, or the banana cream pie. I used to work here, before the bar."

Abby, Dantes owes a lot, so she gets a ghost of a smile, as he takes a seat at the counter. Laura gets a faint nod, as he settles his coat on the stoop beside him.

"At least you get better tips selling beer than sandwiches, uh?" says Hagan to Abby. But then Laura's touching him. So it seems Maria's fly-entrance gets no witnesses, because that distracts him quite neatly. He dutifully sits and blinks. "Uh, coffee and…what? I think apple. This seems like apple pie weather." Dantes is glanced at, and so is Maria, but neither are familar and he's not polite enough to greet.

Well. This is different. Maria looks around as she sits, and sees no one looking at her oddly for having just landed outside. She looks for a server to order food and something to drink from. Those who do see her inside and look at her, despite having not witnessed her aerial tendencies, may well still recognize her. The woman's face was recently in the news.

Before the door completes its homeward swing behind Maria, it bounces off the nose of a boot stuck out to stop it with a slight lengthening of his next stride. Teo leans into his next step, his shoulder nudging plateglass, his hands apparently busy with working their gloves off — in what might be construed as a momentous moment of courage, given he isn't fully out of the cold yet. Though that doesn't take him long, however — and then he's in, a syllable of greeting for Natasha, asking if she's seen Abby.

"Apple it is," Laura agrees, as she slides onto a stool beside Hagan (his flabbergasted expression is met with a giggle from her) and uprights the coffee cup on the counter before her. The coffee is supplied immediately; pie takes a little longer, so she occupies herself with stirring in appropriate quantities of cream and sugar. "Well, I hope it gets you where you want to go," Laura says to Abby, speaking around the obstacle presented by Dantes sitting between them.

Which might be why Abby's not spotted by Teo. The pair between her and the door. Sadly for Maria, Abby's not been looking at the news, or reading the paper. She still gets another smile from the healer though. Teo's heard and the blonde looks to Hagan and Laura. "I'll be back." Before sliding off her seat. Her good hand taps on the counter where Dantes parks himself and a wink. "Teo. I'm here. I have books for you to carry home. I carried them here. Now you get to bring them the rest of the way. I'm sitting with Hagan and his date." she looks to Dantes. "How's your shoulder?"

And then there's Teo. Dantes' porcelain-smooth demeanor doesn't alter on spotting the Sicilian, beyond arching a brow. He doesn't greet the blonde, or wave him over, merely watching to see if the blonde spots him in turn. He himself orders coffee and the coconut pie. Apparently the supposed fondness of Federal agents for cherry pie doesn't extend to this one. But Abby's question earns her a sly, rather conspiratorial smile. "Doing beautifully, thanks. You do good work," he assures her.

The word 'date' likewise makes Hagan tense up and ruffle his hair. Is it a date? Really? When do these things become defined? Hagan clears his throat and glances over. "Oh, hello Teo," he tries to make it seem bland, but he can't quite manage it. He glances to Laura and… wait for it… cracks a bit of a grin. "Seems you're meeting the few people I know. That…" he points to Teo. "…well, I met him in a bar fight." One day he'll meet someone not in a bar. Ahahah. Right.

Natasha comes over and Maria looks up to order a Pepsi along with a double cheeseburger and fries. Despite her short stature and not being fat, the woman seems to have quite the appetite. Her eyes wander across the various people, and she marvels in silence at not being given attention. It's a rare thing for her. She pulls a book out of her messenger bag and starts to read as she waits.

Laura looks over at Hagan as Abby says the d word, and chuckles, yet another cheerful grin dimpling her cheeks at his discomfirture. But since the word wasn't directed at her, she neither confirms nor denies. Instead, she lets him change the subject, that grin reappearing at the description of how he met Teo. "Hah. Somehow this does not surprise me." Since Hagan actually offered an introduction this time, Laura slides off her stool and pads over to the Sicilian, offering a hand. "Hi, Teo? I'm Laura."

Teo follows the sound of his roommate's voice even before the waitress finds her moment to point him at her erstwhile co-worker. He grins — instantaneously, casting a hand up in salutation, a moment before his gaze shifts over Hagan to the date in question. And then, just as quickly, his expression inverts: a scowl, which stays in place even as he steers his attention away to… hey, it's that flying girl from the news. Probably about to start wondering why there's some random gigantic Italian guy staring hatefully at her. Probably a bigot.

His face does, however, right out when the tiny blonde with hair like a dandelion clock comes up to shake his hand; he blinks, reciprocates the shake. "Te… you already know my name. Because Hagan introduced. Si, I was paying attention. Buona sera, nice to meet you." By now, politeness comes reasonably naturally to him so there's no overt Herculean effort of will. He gives the Irishman a belated chuck of his head in greeting, a hooligan's gesture, before he focuses on Abby. "Schoolbooks?"

"You're sure?" Abby doesn't doubt that whatever she did works, but she still always checks none the less. "Yes, Teo. schoolbooks, or have you completely forgotten?" The blonde answers. Life as usual, carries on and on.

Oh, it's so cute when he's sulky. Dantes is unable to entirely restrain a grin at Teo's expression, but still offers no greeting. There's pie to be had, after all. "I'm fine," he assures Abby again. "I'd show you, but this is a public place, after all. I can never repay you," he says, solemnly, even as his gaze darts to Teo, now and then.

Hagan remains seated at the counter even as Laura stands to go and greet Teo. He does however, follow the Italian's glare to Maria, then glances back again with a bewildered look. Hey, he doesn't have a good reason for glaring at half the people he does. He catches sight of the grinning Dantes too, but his gaze moves on quickly enough. He takes a bite of pie. "It's…pretty good pie." Ah, sparkling conversationalist.

Her head lifts for a moment, just enough to catch Teo's scowl and Hagan also eying her, but before she can react or speak they're drawn into conversation. Maria watches them for a moment, then goes back to her book, interrupted again only when her soda comes and Natasha says her food will be about ten minutes.

Laura chuckles at Teo's verbal catching-up. "He did. Good to meet you." But Teo's attention moves on, as it should, and Laura's moves back. She returns to her seat, turning the plate that appeared on the bar in her absence to look at the slice of apple pie. "It looks pretty good. Do they actually make the pies here? No offense," Laura says hurriedly, with an apologetic smile at Natasha. "But it seems like you never know with these sorts of places. Although," and now she turns to Hagan, fork upheld as though it does anything at all to illustrate her point, "it was a good pick for coffee, too."

"I remember," Teo protests. "I'm just asking! If it's schoolbooks or if you've suddenly become a voracious consumer of penny-dreadfuls. Then… I'll probably refuse to help. Gimme, gimme." He opens and closes his hands like a child demanding cookies. "I'll take them away. I have to see someone in just a little bit. Fucking computer stuff," he adds, by way of explanation for Laura, never one to be rude. Unless your name happens to be Felix Ivanov, among others, which he isn't supposed to know anyway. As Laura retreats toward her new meal, she's followed by a brief smile, before Teo is expectantly looking to get books and then get the fuck out.

"Language" Abby chides Teo, but points to the backpack by her stool. "and it's real pie. There's a woman who comes in the early morning and makes them, this place smells divine at 4 am." Abby tosses Maria a smile, to compensate for Teo's glare. "I'll be home later, I promise. I'll take care of Pila, I just have to go into work and have Isabelle adjust my schedule."

Dantes makes a little motion with his hand, as if afraid there's something on his face. And has apparently decided his meal is to go, or so the waitress brings him the pie and coffe already packaged in styrofoam.

"It seemed more comfortable than those places with espresso machines and chairs that eat you," mumbles Hagan to Laura. "They're still good, even if they shipped them in from Albania." Then again, he's not exactly a culinary snob. He takes another rather large bite of pie and chases it down with coffee. Some attention is paid to the bag-handoff, but for the most part he's minding his own business. And, apparently forgetting that conversation is usually had when a man and a woman meet somewhere for food and drinks.

Her attention is on the book now, Maria reads quietly unless disturbed in a way which calls for direct action or answer, occasionally drinking the cola she was brought and enjoying, for once, being able to eat in public without fanfare.

Hagan might not be a scintillating conversationalist, but Laura can babble plenty for the both of them. "4 am. Bleh. Well, I suppose it's good for some things!" Like creeping around the upper stories of buildings belonging to rich people, but that's neither here nor there. Laura takes a drink of her coffee, now that it's cool enough to drink in earnest, and then pauses for a bite of pie. "So do you come here a lot, or was it just the first name on the list?" she inquires of her 'date', a teasing smile accompanying the question.

Fortunately, by now Teo has been playing terrorist long enough to not look like he wants to shoot somebody every time he wants to shoot somebody. He wants to shoot somebody. His smile acquires a slightly brittle texture as he nods at the healer to indicate that he sees the bag. Stepping over to it, he snags the strap and hauls its weight up over his shoulder, testing its heft with curiosity.

Damn. That's a lot of books.

"Might be there when you get in. Need to give you your Christmas gift some point," he says, fetching Abby a rueful grin. As Laura turns to speak to Hagan, the Sicilian offers Hagan two thumbs-up behind her head, big eyes and a smile broad enough to shift his ears up, vertically, at least a quarter of an inch on either side. The next instant, he's click-swapped back to pleasant nonchalance, reaching up to give Abby's hair a careful push back, good-bye. "Glad you're doing this, caro. See you later." Offering Maria a belated nod of apology, he starts away.

"Yeah yeah, getting an education. I'll see you there" Abby grouses, ducking the careful push with a roll of her eyes before she heads back towards her stool. "Take care Edward. Maybe i'll see you in church again" Keep on the path back to her seat though she pauses at maria's table once Teo's out of earshot. "Sorry, for his wierd look. he's been…. stressed lately. he doesn't normally look at people like that"

"I'm sure I shall," Dantes says, gracefully. And tucking his own food under his arm, he heads for the door. Letting Teo precede him, of course, before he ducks out.

"Em, I come here sometimes. Not a lot. Few times a month. The food's not bad and it's not, you know…fancy." Hagan pushes a piece of pie around on the plate and looks from the food and up to her again, under a fringe of flopping hair. When Teo gives his 'encouragement,' it causes the Irishman to blush. And when a Celt blushes, you know it. His skin's white-pale and suddenly looks sunburnt. So that causes him to look really intently into his coffee. You'd swear he was sixteen.

Someone is at her table and speaking, Maria realizes, not yet registering just what was said, only that something was. Her eyes lift to look at Abby, and she asks "I'm sorry, what was that?" One hand stays holding the book, the other her glass of cola.

Laura giggles, it being impossible to miss that blush; her free hand comes up to cover her mouth. Not having the slightest awareness of Teo's antics behind her back, she ascribes the next available cause to the sudden addition of color to Hagan's face. "Well, next time I'll just have to drag you somewhere fancy! A change of pace is a good thing once in a while, don't you know." Laura grins, then finishes off her pie. She seems to take it quite for granted — as well ask whether the sun will rise tomorrow — that there's going to be a 'next time'.

"I was just saying i'm sorry, for the look from my friend. He's having a stressful time and i'm sure he didn't mean it" Abby repeats for the woman. "Hope you enjoy your book"

What! What happened? Now they're going somewhere fancy? Hagan looks bewildered, though that's a fairly common expression on his face. "They won't let me in to those places, y'see. They have these signs by the door that say 'your hair must be this…" he approximates a shape around his head, "…normal to enter. My hair and I leave each other alone. It leaves its portion of the rent in a small envelope under the door." Ahem. That was meant to be one of his charming jokes, but that's not his best work.

"Oh, that," Maria answers. One hand leaves the cola glass to gesture dismissively. "It happens sometimes. I don't worry over it long. Thank you, though, Miss." The hand takes her glass up again and she drinks, before returning to reading.

Laura happened to be in the middle of drinking from her coffee as Hagan replies, but somehow manages not to spit, slop, or otherwise spill the light brown solution all over the counter. Once she swallows, she's free to laugh. "Nice one." Then the woman frees a hand to pat Hagan's shoulder reassuringly. "Don't worry. I'm sure I can put your hair properly into line if you want. Or just charm the staff." Some places in particular wouldn't look twice at anyone she chose to bring along; very well-trained in matters of not my business and better not to know, their staffs are.

"Your welcome" Abby doesn't bother her futher, she looks to be enjoying her book. So back on her stool she settles, noow finally able to attend to the matter of gulping down the coffe in front of her stool. "BE nice to him. I like this particular barfly. The nights are always interesting when he comes in. I think i'd actually cry if he never showed up again" Coffee's done and she digs into a pocket for two bucks nad pops it down. "I have to head into work O'Sullivan. I'll see you when Isabelle lets me back out front proper. Laura, it was nice to meet you. God bles,s and good luck, you'll need it with him" Abby hooks her purse with her good hand to thump it over her shoulder.

"My head is gigantic. That's what the hair is for." Hagan has never had the course that tells him What Not To Say To Women. "If you slick it to the side, I look like one of those twiddly fuckers sitting in the corner of a pub. If you slick it back, I get a pompadour. If I cut it short, it goes off in sixteen different directions like a fucking chia pet or a cactus. Believe it or not, this is as good as it gets." He points up at the mop, then pushes some of it out of his face. When Abby keeps calling him a 'barfly,' he starts making faces. Oh great! Make him sound like the drunkard he is. He needs to tell his friends (are they friends? He has many ambiguous relationships) how to not embarrass the hell out of him. Or that's precisely what makes them friends, their ability to do just that. "Bye…bye Abby."

She does indeed return to the book, her hand occasionally lifting the glass to drink from it. Maria is calm and patient, waiting for her meal to arrive.

"Then what do you have to worry about?" Laura asks, grinning at Hagan. The grin turns into a gleeful cackle when the Irishman makes faces in Abby's direction. "Aw, Abby, where's the fun in 'nice'?" the imp calls after the departing girl. The cellphone in her coat pocket begins to ring, a shift in Laura's expression indicating that specific snatch of tune has a particular significance. "Sorry, I have to take this. Work." She hops off the stool and swoops in to plant a peck of a kiss on Hagan's cheek. She has a pretty good idea just what effect that'll have, and Laura is an imp. "I'll give you a call after a while," Laura assures him, as she heads for the door, juggling coat and the cellphone that's still demanding her attention.

Somewhere in the midst of that, the blonde manages to palm sufficient cash onto the counter to pay for both of their orders.

Abeh, whgh…duh? That was a date, then. And Hagan gets nervous to make up for the nervous he didn't feel walking in there. Only when she's almost out the door does he manage to blurt out, and quite loudly too, "RIGHT I'LL SEE YOU LATER THEN." And then his face is in his hand. He wishes he could just disapp…oh wait, he can! But he doesn't. Instead, he just gets up, digs in his pocket for cash, only to find the money already there. Quick, nobody look! There's another little smile appearing. His wallet's tucked away again and the Irishman heads for the door, in hopes that the cold will calm the furious blush.

Her food arrives, and with it Maria sets her book aside and begins to eat. "Thank you, Natasha," she offers with a smile. The glass is lifted on occasion between bites, and she enjoys her meal. Being a flying woman takes a good deal of fuel sometimes, and she's at the gas station to fill up.

In the lightly olive hued woman's mind, as she dines, is the comfortable thought that she's been left largely alone. It's rare and refreshing for a woman who somehow manages to get spotted even when she eats sandwiches in trees.

January 3rd: Hell or High Water
January 3rd: Prelude to Armageddon, Part II
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