Peppers at Two o' Clock


aidan_icon.gif grace_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title Peppers at Two o' Clock
Synopsis While shopping in Chinatown, Aidan and Grace meet again. An encounter with Helena leads to advice on more than just buying produce.
Date August 31, 2008

Canal Street Market, Chinatown

Day or night, Canal Street is busy in Chinatown. Perfumes, purses, produce, pork, and poultry are all sold side by side in busy open storefronts. One entire portion of the street is dedicated to nothing but jewelry stores catering to various price ranges. Box vendors sell all manner of sizzling foodstuffs to passing pedestrians, some of it identifiable, some of it better left unexplained. The ambiance is one of business and pleasure.

Early afternoon finds the market crowded with people, though it's past the lunch hour — that only means the customers left are the ones doing serious shopping. Armed with a sturdy basket — should the bottom of a bag give way, every item would probably vanish into the throng within three heartbeats — Grace picks her way through the storefronts and stalls, only half-listening to the discussions of vendors and purchasers. Probably because many of those are being conducted in Chinese. Blue eyes survey the produce stalls in particular; finding a likely candidate, the young woman pauses to pick through its offerings.

Aidan has a canvas bag over his shoulder as he makes his way towards the produce stalls. His hands are tucked down in his pockets as he scans the heavy crowd, watching the people as well as the offered stalls. Grace is spotted, and he smiles as he steps up towards that stall, reaching down to pick up a piece of fruit. "Good afternoon."

Surprised, Grace turns towards the speaker, offering a smile. "Well, hello again," she replies. She isn't wearing a jacket today, but a light blue blouse and pants that look like they belong with a suit — or may once have. "Didn't expect to see you again quite so soon." The raven's voice is amiable, beneath its coarse surface; nonetheless, she turns back to the bins, sorting through the summer vegetables.

Aidan is in a clean pair of jeans and yet another t-shirt. At least there's no noodles all over him today. Yet, at least. He watches her as she talks then turns to look over the fruit as he replies. "I wasn't expecting to see either. But I suppose there are enough people here to make it more likely." His voice fails to fully convey with expression what his relaxed smile does.

"Hm." The sound is less a communication than an acknowledgment; it isn't until Grace has a couple of squash picked out that she straightens and turns back to Aidan. "At the same time, given the number of people in the entire city, you have to admit it's probably pretty unlikely," she points out with a bit of a lopsided smile.

Aidan laughs at that, a sound that's just a little off. Again he follows the pattern, watching her while she talks, making his choice of produce, a pair of apples, while he does. "True. There are a hell of a lot of people in New York. Even now. I suppose we can say it is coincidence."

"Chance," Grace corrects with a near-grin, pointing at Aidan with a zucchini. "Once is chance. Or so they say." Adding the green vegetable to her basket, she moves around behind Aidan to peruse the peaches on his other side. "Hm. I've seen better," the woman pronounces — and since she was talking to herself, she didn't look to Aidan in the process.

Aidan chooses a handful of carrots as well, paying the vendor for his produce as he tucks it inot his bag with a blink. "Butter? Where?" He asks before he shrugs. "Chance, coincidence, whatever. It is nice to see a kind of familiar face in massive unwashed crowds."

"Hm?" Grace blinks up at Aidan. "Oh - no, I said I've seen better. Peaches," she explains. "Was talking to myself." Passing over the fruit, she pays for the vegetables and steps away from the stall. "That it is." Squinting against the early afternoon sunlight, she scans the other vendors' offerings. "You see anyone with peppers?" she asks of Aidan. "My roommate was insistent on that point."

Helena /loves/ Chinatown. It's the best chance she has for fresh meat for the tenament, and she can get wonderful stuff like duck and decent pork and exotic vegetables. She's already planning the big stew she's going to make for everyone, a cloth bag serving as her means of conveyence for the ingredients she's gathered so far. That's when she spots the vendor with the peppers. With a sudden smile, she makes her way hurriedly over.

Aidan steps away from the produce stall with Grace blinking. "Oh, better. All the noise makes it harder." He admits before he turns to look around. "Peppers at two o'clock." He states moving over towards that stall, and in Helena's general direction.

"Ah-hah. Thank you." Two o'clock it is; Grace starts moving in that direction without first looking for the stall, trusting Aidan's eyes. Weaving her way between the pedestrians, it soon comes into view. She glances over to Aidan. "Looks like we weren't the only ones with that thought." Coming up to the stall, Grace offers the girl a polite smile. "Good day." The harsh voice doesn't go with the smile at all, but that can't be helped.

Helena does a little double-take, because man, does that coffee and cigarettes voice not go with that woman, but hey, it's New York City, and it takes all kinds. "Hi." she returns carefully, and sighs as she waits for the merchant to finish bickering with an elderly chinese lady.

Helena does a little double-take, because man, does that coffee and cigarettes voice not go with that woman, but hey, it's New York City, and it takes all kinds. "Hi." she returns carefully, and sighs as she waits for the merchant to finish bickering with an elderly chinese lady.

Aidan gives Helena a smile as well as he approaches. "Hello." He says before he looks to Grace. "Peppers are a good way to flavor a meal, after all." He says. His own tone is odd, not quite natural in it's expression. It must be the day to meet people with different voices.

At the girl's double-take, a wry little smile tugs at Grace's lips. Gotta love that expression — she gets it all the time, and the alternative isn't any way Grace wants to be. "Personally," she says, looking at Aidan, "I think he uses too many. But it was that or actual hot peppers." Only once she's done talking does the woman turn her attention to the produce, seeking out likely-looking ones.

Helena manages to look sheepish and apologetic, and starts inspecting the vegetation herself. Some of it looks a little dried out…but no, that's just the sort of stupid thing that could get her into trouble. As she watches Grace reach for a particular pepper, she says promptly, "You don't want that one. It's dried at the tips, it's going to go bad."

Aidan watches Grace as she talks then looks over to Helena, rather intently. "I don't like the really hot ones myself." Aidan says looking down at the peppers as he speaks. "The bell ones are good though."

Produce? Not really one of Grace's strengths. She looks over at the girl, considering her levelly for a moment. Then she contemplates the pepper, tossing it lightly in her hand. "You think so? Within, oh -" The woman consults her watch. "- the next six hours?" Apparently thinking nothing of the proffered advice. Blue eyes flick to Aidan. "Neither do I — at least, not the way he uses them. So we compromise."

Helena gives a shrug. "Not really the point. You want the best quality you can for the food you make." Listen to her, spouting off like Alton Brown only with girl bits. She scrunches her mouth a little and begins selecting her own peppers - she seems to have an eye for finding good, firm ones.

Aidan shrugs. "Food is food." He says dryly. Apparently he's not all that picky. He pushes up his glasses with a finger looking between the two women as they talk. "It all fuels your body."

"Fair enough," Grace agrees, putting her substandard pepper back on the pile. She grins at Aidan. "I'm inclined to agree with you, personally, but might as well take advantage of the opportunity while it's here, no?" Turning back to Helena, Grace smiles slightly. "What do you recommend looking for, then?"

Helena is unable to help herself. She puts a hand on her hip, letting a fair brow arch. "Oh really?" she drawls. "Let me guess, you take all your dates to Burger King because food is food and it all fuels your body. Classy." She rolls her eyes and then looks back to Grace. With absolute seriousness she asks, "Depends on what you want. Are you looking to have just a bit of burn on the aftertaste, something really present on the palate, or do you want to sear off tastebuds? And what do you plan to make it with?"

Aidan shifts the stall a bit so that he can turn and get a better look at the women's faces. "Dates? You talk like I have those." He jokes. "But I will have to remember the tip about Burger King next time I have a hot one." Aidan taps his hand against his leg as he watches the lesson in peppers, though he's looking more to the women than the peppers.

Grace doesn't laugh at Helena's retort, quite; she does look amused. But when the conversation comes back to her, she promptly shakes her head. "Oh, no searing," the woman replies. "I talked him out of that. But my roommate's doing the actual cooking. I'm only trusted with the salad, at least this week," she concludes, an expression suspiciously akin to a grin lighting her face. "'Bell peppers' were specified, so that's what I'm looking for."

Helena rolls her eyes again. "If fast food's your idea of what a girl wants, big surprise, dude." She looks back at Grace with a grin. "You don't want the ones you were looking at, then. You want these. Try to look for ones with really bright color and not a lot of bruising. It's okay if there's a scratch or two, as long as they're shallow."

Aidan gives Helena a smile. "Well, I suppose that explains why I'm single. I thought it was all the time spent with books and computers. Glad to know." And there's a sarcastic tone there, even if the expression isn't quite right. He's not overly interested in the peppers, but he'll listen and hang out just fine.

That same near-grin shifts to Aidan. "Computers seem to have a detrimental effect, too," she points out. "Or maybe it's something contagious from the management. Picked up in those mind-numbing training seminars." Shaking her head a bit, Grace turns back to the bins, giving the peppers a closer scrutiny, picking up a couple to test and then putting them back.

"The Internet Is For Porn." Helena intones. "I'm sure you manage just fine." With that, she turns her attention to some of the peppers of a more Asian variety, occaisionally taking one in hand and sniffing it carefully.

Aidan blushes bright red at Helena's comment. It's the kind of color that only a redhead can truly match. "Computers and Burger King. The source of all problems." He states dryly. "Noted. But also a solution for being along. Glad we've had this enlightening conversation."

Grace, for her part, just rolls her eyes. Her expression says enough. "Indeed." She finally settles on a couple of peppers, drops them in the basket, and pays the vendor. "Thanks for the advice," she adds to Helena.

Helena looks over her shoulder. "No problem. Good luck with your dish." She sees how red Aidan's become and smirks before she starts haggling with the merchant.

Aidan gives Grace a quick smile before he looks around. "This seems to be a popular place." Small talk might save him yet. Or maybe not, but it's worth the try, right?

Grace chuckles briefly at Aidan. "Well, I understand it always has been," she replies. Sure, we can try the small talk. Blue eyes scan the packed street. "It's probably more popular now for stuff like this," the woman continues, hefting her basket slightly to indicate the produce. "Cheaper, too. Such as that is."

Helena finishes her transaction, and gives Grace and Aidan an easy wave before slipping out.

August 31st: Leaky Pipes
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