Office Coffee


emily_icon.gif nicole_icon.gif

Scene Title Office Coffee
Synopsis A break for coffee provides more disappointment and tedium than relaxation.
Date January 6, 2020

Fort Jay

All government agents love coffee and snacks, it's why there's a trio of male agents currently standing around the coffee machine, laughing at some video being played on a phone. "God… the things I would do." Says one of the men softly almost under his breath. "Careful Conners, don't wanna have to run to the bathroom do you?" Another chorus of laughter.

Boys being boys.

Emily Epstein has been sitting nearby in the kitchenette for longer than she ought. She's at the small table, scrolling down the screen of her phone with her thumb. At first, this became a game of patience— of waiting out the men who were taking up too much space and too involved with themselves.

Now, now she's not sure what it is. She no longer believes she's simply waiting for her turn to fill up her cup.

Her eyes flit shut, stuck hard as she overhears a comment she finds to be unmistakable. Then she glances up sharply at the self-absorbed group of 'gentlemen' in front of the coffee counter.

Nicole has been just this side of surly ever since her accident. Her arm’s still held to her in a sling more often than it isn’t, and she hasn’t had her morning coffee yet.

Yes, she is aware that it is no longer morning. The problem here should be self-evident.

If there is a god above, they’ve not granted her near enough patience for what she’s witnessing while she’s leaning against the counter nearby, waiting her own turn to get to the machine. In hopes of finding some solidarity in the room, her gaze falls on Emily.

Girl, same.

It’s a tricky thing navigating her phone with her left hand only, but she manages to get the camera open and lifts the mobile along with her chin. Look, she’s definitely taking a selfie and not at all recording a bunch of idiots about to get reported for creating a hostile work environment. It’d be a real shame if someone got their ass sent to sensitivity training.

The laughter only gets louder and Conners wipes his forehead as he does a mock faint. "Do you think she's… um… hireable?" He tries to whisper to his comrades, completely and utterly unaware of his female coworkers just behind him. While he moved to the side for a second the screen they are watching becomes clear and it's… a woman bending her body in very unnatural shapes on some form of social media where the videos are short and set to various types of music. Definitely SLC-E, definitely inappropriate to be viewing in the workspace. A broad-shouldered man, Daniels elbows Conners in the chest as he notices Nicole and Emily in the small room, "Say it a little louder why don't ya?"

"Don't be such a baby, she's one of those famous types on the internet. They all have a price." Frowning while rubbing his chest with a hand, he still hasn't turned around to see there are A) people waiting for their turn to get coffee and B) women in the room. Daniels to his credit tries to give Nicole an apologetic smile that might convey: just the boys doing their thing right? Nicole is sure not to relate to this feeling or his half-ass way of excusing his friends.

As the two women collectively cringe at this display of utter grossness, something a little strange happens. One of the cups that the not so gentlemen left on a tiny table half filled, but still piping hot, begins to rise slowly into the air. Daniels, Conners and their friend still laugh and show no sign of moving in front of the coffee machine. They show no sign of noticing the cup of coffee that's now bobbing up and down midair, creeping up behind them.

If Emily didn't know already very well the type of ability she manifested, she'd question that it wasn't her unconsciously tipping bobbling that cup higher and higher into the air. It's certainly a form of wishful thinking made manifest.

It also makes her sit up a little straighter, eyes flitting to Nicole. Her jaw tightens, tension gathering at the back of her teeth. Words have been bubbling inside her, at a point they're ready to overflow.

Something that'll scald just as badly as the coffee, perhaps.

With swiftness and silence like she's been this sure-footed her entire life, Emily leans away from her table with a hard glance to Nicole and catches the cup of coffee out of the air in one smooth gesture. She lingers behind the trio, one brow idly arched as she gets a glimpse of the video herself.

And when they next laugh, so does she— bright and bubbly. Amicable. She's been there all along, boys, but don't be startled. "Wow. Oh my god, you should really show that to Voss." Her smile persists, earnestness threaded into her voice as she looks Conners himself directly in the eye. "I bet he'd love to know about it."

She holds onto that cup of coffee just so in case the force manipulating it tries to take it back. Hopefully she'll drop it before it has the chance to be flung.

By the time Emily is reaching for the coffee, Nicole cutting the video, just in case this is about to go somewhere that might be construed as retaliation from the junior agent. Sliding the phone in her pocket, she lifts one brow and has to press her lips together very tightly in order to stifle the laughter that bubbles up in her throat.

A sharp inhale through her nose is as close as she gets to betraying that. While she’s taking amusement in Emily’s inserting herself into the situation — not aware of the gravity of the action — the wayward cup of coffee is a point of concern. It wasn’t her and unless Emily’s got a telekinetic power she’s not fully aware of, there’s no way it was her.

Nicole doesn’t see anyone else in this breakroom.

The boys stop and turn to look down at Emily, at first their gaze holds the type of look you give to an underling, they definitely feel as a whole that they are better even though they are glorified desk jockeys at best. Conners coughs and begins to say something, but then Emily's ability takes hold and the trio sort of stop, slowly begin nodding to themselves. "Yeah… that sounds like a great idea."

"Dude what the fuck are you talking about?" Daniels looks from Conners and Emily with wide eyes.

"Maybe he'll go in with me on the price."

All said in a sort of dreamy tone, but before Conner can make a move out to the hallway and proceed to their boss's office, whatever is holding the cup pulls back on Emily's hold and the young woman feels fingers slowly prying her own fingers off of the coffee and the cup does indeed go flying, right at Conners' shoulder. The dark liquid (they take their coffee black cause they are macho of course) flies over the three and various cries of pain emit from the boys as they slap at their necks and oh so nicely pressed suits.

"Oh I'm so sorry boys," an alto of a voice sounds right next to Emily as the air in that spot shimmers to reveal a woman in a tan suit and soft soled shoes. It would explain why nobody heard her walking in. "I just did not see you there." Clearly nobody saw her either.


Dark brown hair cut to just about shoulder length, wavy, with dark brown eyes to match. Her manicured eyebrows raise as she gives the boys a sly grin. Her gaze flicks over to Emily and she winks at her and also Nicole when she catches her eye. The boys are obviously feeling pain and that and the shaken connection Emily has with Conners leaves him blinking and the other guys pulling at his shoulder as they hurriedly make their way out of the room to not go make Voss' day worse than it already is.

"Yes boys, run along." Making a shoo motion with her hands, when the vermin have exited the place to murmurs from the office outside, she turns her smile on the women as she bends to pick the fallen cup up. "Just transferred in. Becky, Becky Taylor."

"Nice ability, scary even." Her eyes tick over to Nicole, "I know that face," and her file of course, "Nicole Varlane, you're pretty famous, girl." Becky sounds like she admires that.

Emily's cool fades when she feels distinctly human hands around hers. Her grip around the paper cup tightens in a panic, coffee spilling over onto her own hand. Shit, that's hot. With a sharp intake of breath, she releases it… and it doesn't fall.

Oh no.

Her hand closes into a fist as the coffee goes soaring, cheeks flushing. For a moment— just a moment— she's speechless. Then Becky introduces herself, and Emily's head snaps back in her direction. Her other hand closes into a fist too, shoulders pinching together and arching up.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" she snaps, still red in the face.

It takes a moment for all of that to sink in. To piece together the events that create the scene Nicole stands in the aftermath of now. It’s ultimately the use of her name that draws her attention. It’s been a while since someone she didn’t already know acknowledged her fame.

She’d be content to exchange pleasantries, but Emily is anything but pleasant at the moment. “Agent Taylor,” Nicole greets instead, voice cool but not icy. “It is agent, right?” She makes her way to the sink and flips on the faucet, holding her fingers under the running water until she’s satisfied with the temperature. “Epstein, run some water on that burn. Not too cold. You’ll shock it and make it worse.”

Just Mom Things.

“I’m not going to say those…” For a moment, she struggles to find a noun to ascribe to the fleeing men. “I won’t say someone didn’t get what they deserved there,” because Nicole was definitely entertaining notions of tasing someone in the parking lot after work, “but that’s a hell of a way to introduce yourself. Mind the collateral damage.” Emily doesn’t need a nudge toward the sink, so Nicole resists the urge, but she does step out of the way and sweep her arm out in invitation. “Or did you miss that part of training at the academy?”

She’s teasing. Sort of.

"You have more attitude than any of the interns I've seen back in Kansas City," it's not an insult, she's clearly impressed. It's also clearly where she's transferred from. Becky's easy smile flattens a little though and she spreads her hands in Emily's direction, "I am sorry to you." Which feels a whole lot more earnest than the sorry she gave to Conners and the boys. "I see boys acting like that, about women who are like that," which indicates more about her past than either woman would know yet. "I just see… red, ya know? They get away with so much," Even in this new age of acceptance and progressive movements, it goes without saying.

"Yes, Agent Taylor." Pointing one finger down at herself before Becky half turns to pour coffee. Three cups before she spreads them out before the machine for each woman to take them as they will. For hers, a hand goes out to grab the sugar and she just pours it in without looking too closely at just how much is winding up in there. "I might have arrived to class a tad late on that day," She has the decency to look a little sheepish because hurting another woman in the process of taking down the patriarchy was not in her plans. "But it was only once." Of course, not multiple times. Never.

She smiles again again, the easy kind that almost crinkles her eyes in the corner. Her phone vibrates in her pocket but she ignores it for now. "Are most of the guys around here like that? Because if so, I'll have my work cut out for me knocking each one down a peg." Becky takes a sip of the still hot coffee and cradles it in her hands.

"I know—" Emily starts sharply, only barely getting control of her voice as she looks to Nicole. "how to treat a burn." Her eyes narrow and she heads for the sink, roughly flicking the faucet on. It's once she puts the side of her hand under the water that the flare of anger is doused too. Her face and ears still burn red despite that, head bowed while she listens to the conversation going on behind her.

She lets her eyes close again, pressing out a thin sigh. "Just fucking great." she mutters to no one but herself. Patting dry her hand, she turns back to give Becky a once-over and lean back against the counter.

"No, most of them aren't like that. They're working for a fucking agency that supports the SLC." Emily lifts her shoulders in a shrug, suggesting lightly, "If you hadn't had to be petty, maybe they'd have gone and outed themselves and wouldn't be a problem anymore. Voss wouldn't tolerate that shit. Choi wouldn't."

It's too early to be running her mouth like this, and too professional an environment to otherwise. She shoots Nicole an apology of a look. Perhaps it's to seek permission to go. Personal stress was certainly seeing to an inability to appropriately censor herself on her own.

“I still have video,” Nicole says simply. Emily’s snapping at her isn’t ignored, but it’s glossed over, forgiven. She’d probably be pissed too. “I’ll bring it up with Voss at our next one-on-one.”

Carefully, Nicole slides one of the cups toward herself, but leaves it sit on the counter so she can retrieve a carton of real cream from the fridge. She would carefully measure out how much to add, if only by virtue of knowing just how far to tip her hand and how long to let it flow, but she’s too clumsy with her left hand for precision. Instead of a smooth stream, it’s a start and stop that sends plumes of white billowing up in the dark depths.

Once she’s satisfied, she stows it away again. “As senior agent around here,” and it isn’t at all like Nicole to pull rank, “I suggest you leave the peg knocking to me.” Yes, she’s aware of what that sounds like. But there’s no playfulness to her tone. No hint of entendre. “Please feel free to come to me with your concerns, if you aren’t yet comfortable reaching out to your direct report or someone in HR, but do not take matters into your own hands again.”

It’s with the utmost concern and sincerity that Nicole continues, “Seeing as how you transferred from KC, I can only assume you have a bright career ahead of you.” Otherwise, it’s highly likely her transfer would have been denied. Or she’d be out in Montana. “Don’t fuck it up because you let some man under your skin.” Free advice.

“This is a man’s world, even in spite of who our boss is here. We don’t have to play by men’s rules, but breaking those rules? No… We have to rewrite them.” Only then does Nicole finally tip her head toward the door with a look to Emily. Go on. Get outta here.

If anything right now Becky is more impressed with Emily's mouth. The woman finally withdraws her phone to swipe at whatever message she's been receiving before tapping on the screen and slipping it back in her pocket. "Definitely big balls." Another sip of her coffee with an amused expression playing across her face. "What's your name, hon? No, Nevermind that's easy to find. Pretty face like yours, you'll pop right up, hm? I mean you are persuasive, you'll be a full agent yet I imagine." This time she takes a rather large gulp of her coffee and walks over to the sink that Emily is storming away from in order to deposit the cup in the sink while running the water to clean it out.

"I will take that advice, Agent Varlane, I'm glad there's someone here that can handle pegs." She said what she said and she likes Nicole already in that regard.

"As senior agent, you're aware of… miss thang's…" Becky waves a hand at Emily's back, "Horrible attitude to agents her senior, coffee spilling or not." This branch was unique, she had heard tales before making the journey over. "I should get to my meeting, we know how I like to run late to things huh?" There's a wink at Nicole.

“She’s one of the good ones,” Nicole says of Emily immediately. “Don’t let this first impression fool you. She’s going to be amazing once she gets through school and training.” There’s no venom in her words. She isn’t letting this encounter sour her to the new transfer.

That too-bright blue gaze stays fixed on Becky for a long moment, assessing. “Come find me later,” she tells her. “I’d like to get to know you better. For now…” Nicole cants her head toward the door that leads back to the greater office space. “Get to your meeting.”

Once she’s alone in the breakroom, Nicole lets out a heavy exhale and closes her eyes as she sets down her coffee and pulls out her phone again. Thumbing her way through her digital rolodex, she finds the desired contact and taps the screen, holding the phone up to her ear as she waits for the call to connect.

“Hey. I need to come by later. It’s been a fucking week.”

Becky walks out of the kitchenette and looks thoughtfully at Emily's back before she lifts the phone from her pocket and opens the notes app while she passes the boys who are still mopping their suits off, she winks at them as she makes her way to Voss' for her meeting.

In the notes: Emotional/telepathic… control…?

Like Joseph?

Clicking the phone closed she gets to the door and puts on her best professional smile and knocks lightly on the door. "Hello?" Opening the door wide and smiling, "Agent Taylor, from Kansas City."

New York City has gotten no less interesting.

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