Nothing In Common


harmony_icon.gif kayla_icon.gif

Scene Title Nothing in Common
Synopsis Harmony isn't a morning person, doesn't have a college degree, thinks radiation is interesting, and actually reads news articles. Kayla gets up early, has a degree she doesn't use, has seen more of radiation than she ever cared to, and only wants the classifieds. Until she walks away from it all.
Date November 18, 2010

The Nite Owl

Just before the typical workday begins, the Nite Owl is packed with patrons, despite it being a Thursday. The counter stools are full, and most tables have one occupant, if not several. The scents of coffee, fresh pancakes, and fried eggs thicken the air; the hum of conversations punctuated by the chime of flatware against dishes provides a comfortable atmosphere for reading the paper, planning the day… or just downing enough caffeine to support mimicry of a normal functional employee. If the coffee here is simple, it is provided in abundance.

Red-brown hair loose around her shoulders, Kayla Reid has hardly touched the mug of coffee at her table; it's been relegated to the far corner, in fact, although the beverage's creamer-lightened color suggests it held her attention once upon a time. Briefly. What holds her focus now — and is the reason she's taking up an entire booth by herself — are the pages of newsprint spread out across the table. Some are folded into a slightly haphazard pile that implies done with; another crackles and rustles as her finger traces down one narrow column of dense print, scanning one classified ad after another.

So much to do today and it isn't even near the time she usually gets up. She decided to go somewhere out of the way for breakfast, as it would cut back on the possibility of her seeing some people who might annoy her this early in the morning. Harmony looks tired as she trudges in, dressed warm for the weather, but still in her signature tight pants, her blond hair pulled back into a ponytail and a bag slung over her shoulder. The promise of coffee and food brings her to shuffle over and flop into a seat, a booth that just happens to be empty as well, adjacent to the one Kayla is sitting in. There comes a loud bump from the drop of her backpack in the seat beside her. She is obviously carrying some heavy books. Must be a student.

Her head drops back between her shoulders and she gives a loud groan, "Ugh! It's gotta be unnatural for people to be up this early!" she complains, her eyes rolling back into her head, the blond over-exaggerating her tiredness, slipping both arms along the back of her booth. As he head rises up, she looks across the way at the other woman sitting nearby, blinking her eyes lazily. "Let me guess, you're a morning person?" she asks her rather randomly.

Kayla glances up as the woman slides into the booth across the aisle, gray eyes dropping briefly to the thump of books meeting bench. "I keep business hours," she replies, gaze clear and sharp upon Harmony. Awake may be elusive for Harmony at this hour, but Kayla's evidently firmly settled in that state; morning person, indeed. Or near enough. "Let me guess," she echoes, reaching over the paper for that cooled cup of neglected coffee. Despite its tepid temperature, Kayla doesn't hesitate in drinking it. "You're a college student who doesn't see the sun any day you can avoid it."

"No, actually." Harmony replies to her with a degree of amusement and a smile on her face as she pulls the zipper of her back open. She says she isn't a college student, so… why is she pulling out 3 heavy text books from the compartment? "Never got the chance to go to college." she mentions and plops them on the table in front of her, one by one. They are easily $150 to $200 text books: Handbook of Radiation Effects by Andrew Holmes-Siedle and Len Adams, Radiation Detection and Measurement by Glenn F. Knoll, and Atoms, Radiation, and Radiation Protection (Physics Textbook) by J. E. Turner, sorta going against what she just said. Harmony does keep business hours herself here lately, but they probably aren't as big as Kayla's. Volunteer work on top of getting into trouble is seldom a fulltime job. "And I usually see the sun? It's just…" she looks at the watch on her arm, "Oh… about 3 or so hours from now."

Technically, Kayla doesn't have 'business hours' — but she sets her schedule by them. Habit, and perhaps a little bit of hope — or just stubborn refusal to entertain failure, however difficult job-hunting is in the current economy. There are many more 'work wanted' than 'employee wanted' ads in the classifieds these days. "I see," she replies. Taking another sip of lukewarm coffee, the woman returns the cup to its distant coaster, then noisily folds up the page and relegates it to the stack. There's one left beneath, but Kayla only turns it over rather than unfolding the paper; the last few stragglers of the column, here, and it's a matter of moments before the sole possibility is marked. She huffs out a frustrated breath as it's tossed onto the pile, and reclaims the cup of coffee, wrapping her fingers around the white mug's sides without drinking.

"Anything interesting?" Harmony asks through teeth that are clenched as she idly uses them to nip away a hangnail on her pinky finger. "I haven't gotten to get the paper yet." She at least takes a napkin to wipe the object from her mouth, rather than spitting it out. Her eyes raise and scan around, catching the attention of the waitress to flag her over. "Coffee? Please?" she calls out to the woman with a smile, reaching over with black painted fingernails to snag the menu rather than cracking open one of her books. "There's gotta be tons of things to report given… well, you know… what happened and all? Folks are still trapped over on the island. Some people separated from their families? It's pretty awful." She should know, she just smuggled some kids back over the other night. Which would explain why she is probably tired today. "Name's Harmony, by the way. Feel free to tell me to shut the hell up if you're wanting to eat in silence. I talk a bit."

Kayla snorts softly. "No, it's not awful," she disagrees, glancing sidewise at the other woman. When the waitress prompts for her order as well — all she's had so far is coffee — Kayla places a simple order of pancakes. "It's not pretty," she allows, but — "Awful was four years ago." There are those who agree, and those who don't; but she's firmly convinced of that. Finishing her coffee and setting the mug out to be refilled, Kayla twists in her seat, then around back the other way to extend a handful of folded pages across the aisle. "Here. All I want are the classifieds; you can have the rest." A thin quirk of her lips, without actual humor. "And no, there's not many interesting ads," she concludes acerbicly.

Hm… 4 years ago. Hmm, yeah okay that was pretty bad. The woman's initial argument has Harmony's lips coming to purse together, feeling perhaps a little chided for mentioning it. "Yeah… I uh… wasn't in New York around that time," she says, bringing her eyes to shift down away from the woman, and down to her menu. A sense of internal discomfort rushing over her. Awkward… "But I heard it was pretty bad. I'm actually brushing up in hopes to do some good about the damage that still remains." Harmony reaches and pats her small pile of books. Yeah, she possesses the same power that caused the bomb. Granted it isn't the same degree, but still… she feels a little cloak of doom anytime someone makes mention of that incident.

"Ah…" she smiles, sitting up and leaning over her table to reach and take the offered paper, "Thanks." She smiles, "So then, you're looking for a job? Anything specific?"

One thin brow arches. "I was," Kayla says flatly; she speaks from experience. Although she wasn't here for the raids of the 8th, in her turn — something the woman doesn't mention. Gray eyes glance to the books, and while she looks distinctly skeptical, she manages to keep the impulse to say it in check. Somewhere along the way, it seems Kayla learned a modicum of tact. Even if she snorts again at Harmony's final query. "Clearly you haven't been in the job market lately. Specific these days amounts to paying." Not precisely true — but a close approximation.

It makes Harmony chuckle, powering through her moment of awkward discomfort, giving her head a shake, a few blond curls which have gone stray, fall to the side of her cheek. "Okay, you got me there, I guess. I was just under the assumption that maybe you had a specialty or that you were a graduate looking to get into whatever field you got a degree in, or something like that." her shoulders lift in a shrug. At least she was giving her a decent amount of credit! "I'd offer up some suggestions if I could, but I've had a bit of trouble finding where I fit in myself. And with the recent riots?— Well I just don't think things are gonna be made easier. The curfew alone has crutched the job market." As the waitress comes by with her coffee, Harmony orders up an omelet, ham and cheese, reaching and tucking the menu back in it's place. "Guess I shoulda went to college rather than stick with music, huh?" she laughs.

The waitress comes back to set a plate of pancakes and pitcher of syrup at Kayla's table, refilling her coffee in the same moment — and offering to refresh Harmony's cup along the way. Kayla nods to the woman, then glances over at Harmony. "Degree doesn't make it easier," she says with a shrug. "If you went to college anywhere else, maybe." Does she even believe silver linings exist? Evidence is suggesting not. Picking up the fork, Kayla turns her attention to her plate. "But no, it's not getting easier."

Harmony on the other hand, doesn't seem like she is going to let too much get her down. Things are bad right now, yeah… and things have been bad in the past but sometime, somewhere… maybe not here… things have gotten better. See? Silver lining, at least in her mind. So what if someone else got it? As the waitress refreshes her coffee, Harmony smiles and thanks her politely, pulling the steaming beverage to her lips to cool, and take a sip. "Mm. Well.. if I went to college, I'd have gone to…" the girl's head drops back, casting a thoughtful gaze skyward, flipping through the rolodex of her past while she brings her eyes to hood to a narrow. "Maybe UCLA," she answers finally. "I'm originally from California, but I sorta moved around quite a bit. New York is…" she struggles to find the words, "complicated. But there is always something going on, which is one thing I like— usually, as long as I'm not getting shot at." She waves a hand about in the air, dismissively.

Kayla pauses in the process of cutting off another bite of pancake, turning her head to look askance at the young woman across the way. She doesn't say anything for a long moment, apparently at a disbelieving loss for words. "Well. You go right on enjoying it," she finally replies. "Do try not to get shot, it's quite unpleasant," the woman continues in a dryly disparaging tone. Turning back to her breakfast, Kayla finishes cutting out the piece, slightly pointed in her return to eating.

"Meh." Harmony offers up another shrug, letting things just sorta roll right off of her shoulders, instead of allowing it to get to her. "You gotta take what you can get. Life seems to be filled with too many bad moments to not savor every good thing that you can." Finally, she reaches to crack open one of the books she has in front of her, her eyes falling to the page and perusing over the words. It sorta reads like stereo instructions, considering where she starts in the chapter. "So… you know anything about radiation? Like, the nitty-gritty stuff, how it works, what types there are, etc?" It is just an idle question really, her way of complaining about the subject matter of her books, "Pretty interesting stuff…"

Kayla doesn't look at Harmony this time, but her fork quiets against the plate, and for a long moment, she is silently still. "I could tell you what it does," the healer replies quietly. A beat later, more emphatically: "I don't need to know the rest." Apparently she doesn't share Harmony's assessment of interesting; a study in contrasts, indeed. Setting her fork down, Kayla sets a handful of folded bills on the table, then slides out of the booth. "Excuse me," she says to the other woman, before making her way towards the door, tugging a pair of gray gloves onto her hands as she goes.

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