Some Things About A Person Remain Constant


young-elisabeth_icon.gif b_jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Some Things About A Person Remain The Same
Synopsis A lovely evening shows Jaiden who Liz was ten years ago. She's not so different.
Date January 5, 1999


He never realized exactly how much he hated Britney Spears.

Living through 'Hit Me Baby, One More Time' once, when on holiday in Hawaii, was bad enough, but having to be in New York right after the tune was released? Everywhere he turned, every TV screen he saw, had that innocent-looking Britney gyrating in her schoolgirl uniform, acting oh-so-innocent yet looking oh-so-whorish…Lord. Thank heavens for his iPhone.

Jaiden did have to keep it fairly hidden, tucked safely inside his heavy woolen jacket with only the white earbuds visible. Of course, the phone didn't work either, so basically it was a pretty MP3 player and nothing else. He can't even play Plants vs. Zombies!

Still, sitting in his hotel room at about 5:00pm on Wednesday, he picks up the room phone, dials a few numbers to get an outside line, and then the number given to him by Elisabeth on the back of a napkin a few days earlier. The phone rings once. Twice.


The number is not a familiar one, and Elisabeth's tone is easygoing on the far end. She's expecting it to perhaps be someone asking her to cover a shift or something. There's noise in the background, as if she's out in a public venue.


Jaiden's greeting is cheery, the ambient noise behind almost nil save for the hum of an air conditioner. "I hope I'm not catching you in the middle of anything important?"
ORDER: It is now your pose.

"Oh, hi!" She sounds pleased to hear from him. "Nah, I just got off shift and hit the pub with with my partner. What're you up to?" Elisabeth covers the mouthpiece, not well, and says, "Aw fuckoff, Grayson." in a good-natured tone, and then she's back. "Sorry. Assholes." She's clearly amused, though. It's a different life in 1999.

"You know me, just hanging out in my hotel room after taking a few photos around the city and working up the nerve to give you a call." His smile is almost visible over the phone, through the static of the cellular connection. "I was wondering if you were still game for dinner and a show?"

There's a pause and she asks, "Now? Uhm…. yeah, sure. I need like half an hour to catch a shower at my place, so… I could meet you in an hour? Where?" The raucous sound of laughter and ribald humor can be heard behind her again, and Elisabeth is trying to ignore them apparently because in the background Jaiden can hear, "ooooh, Harrison's got another conquest!"

The voice on the end of the phone quiets as he listens, laughing as the bedsprings squeak, the man getting to his feet and heading somewhere in his hotel. "Just tell them I'm horribly, horribly gay. That should get them off your back." He's not, of course, but just the thought generally gets the teasing to stop. "You pick a place. Near broadway or something, for dinner, and I'll meet you there. I've got to run up to Queens to return a wallet I found in the park, and nce I'm done there, I'll meet you there."

"Ffft," Elisabeth retorts to Jaiden. "Why should I bother? They're just jealous that I refuse to fuck any of them!" That brings more of the good-natured hooting and hollering, howls of male mock-outrage, and assorted other sounds — it might be shoving. Liz is laughing. "All right," she says to Jaiden. "I'll meet you at …. there's BB King Blues Club and Grill if you like that kind of place. Or if you want a more sit-down kind of place, there's a Melting Pot over that direction. Or any number of family-owned Italian eateries."

She pauses and adds, "And there's also any number of good steakhouses in the area too." on a laugh as one of the men in the background apparently shouts something about feeding a man real MEAT.

"As long as it's not an Australian steakhouse, I'll consider it perfect." Jaiden says with a chuckle, the sound of the shower kicking on. "Let's try that blues club. I could probably get a steak there and we'll get to hear some good music to boot before the show."

Elisabeth laughs. "No, not an Australian. That'd just be rude. All right, I'll meet you in about an hour," she tells him. And as she hangs up, she can be heard calling out, "Frankie, she was lying if she said that!"

But true to her word, it will only take her an hour to be where she said she'd meet him out front of the clube.
An hour later a Taxi pulls up outside of the BB King Blues Club, Jaiden getting out dressed comfortably, if not stylishly, in clean jeans and a nice button-down shirt that matches his hat and jacket rather well. He straightens, pays the cab driver, and scans the area looking for the woman who…okay, let's be honest here, the woman he's going out on a date with.

It doesn't take long to discover her, the Australian picking up his camera and taking a few snaps, discretely, before approaching. "Hey there, Lizzie!" Cheerful as ever. "I hope you weren't waiting long?"

The blonde is easily spotted. A black miniskirt, knee-high heeled boots, and a heavy black wool coat over the top of a silvery-gray silk blouse but not buttoned as she waits in the shelter of the club's entrance offset that light hair, loose about her shoulders and down her back. She watches him climb from the cab and slants a smile. "You clean up real nice," Elisabeth informs him easily. "I just got here a few minutes ago." She gestures toward the club. "It's early enough that it's not crowded. It's only Tuesday. Not as if we're trying to get seats on a Thursday or Friday night."

He shaved, took a shower, and even used some cologne, so he smells just as good as he cleaned up. Even got his hat cleaned - it looks freshly steamed and shaped and almost brand new. "And you, when you're not ass over teakettle on icy sidewalks, are a right pretty sight to behold." He lifts his camera, taking a quick full-body snap, lowering it quickly after the picture is taken. "I wouldn't want to try on a Thursday or Friday. I could see it being horribly busy and requiring more money than either of us want to put out to have a dinner."

The line for tables is nonexistent, and the inside of the club is built on the same layout as Bourbon Street speakeasies - dark, cozy, quaint, and comfortable. The headwaiter leads the pair to a table in the back where the music is listenable, but not overpowering, and private, but not hidden from view. A perfect place for a date.

Elisabeth laughs softly, turning under his regard to show off just a little when he snaps the photo. "Why thank you." She's a little embarrassed by that, but then she walks with him inside the club. As they walk through and are seated, she slips out of her coat to hang it over the extra chair and smooths her skirt beneath her hips in that unconsciously feminine gesture as she sits. "I have to admit I love this place. I don't come down here very often anymore, though."

His camera is odd, clicking like a film camera, but not *whirring* like it would if it were advancing film. Interesting. He doffs his coat as well, draping it over a hook in the wall put there for seemingly that purpose, his camera remaining on the table to allow him to snap pictures now and again if the situation requires it. "Oh? Why is that?"

The waiter comes by before Elisabeth has a chance to answer, introducing himself as Randi (yes, with an I, you can hear it in the way he draws out his name) before taking their drink order. Jaiden is simple, ordering a bourbon on the rocks - a fairly well-known and tasty brand, but not the well crap that comes out, and a glass of tea before the menus are presented.

She orders a glass of the house white, a nice pinot grigio. And then Elisabeth settles her elbows on the table and smiles a bit. "Haven't had a lot of time, really. Rookies get all the scut work," she admits with a grin. "So I put in a lot of hours. And really, you have to consider the guys I hang around with — they're…. well, let's just say steaks and beers make them happier than wine and theater."

"Got to serve your apprenticeship, eh?" Jaiden nods, glancing over at the stage where a band is starting to set up - a Blues set-up, obviously. Base, drums, a horn for some brassy bits, and that's it, nodding slightly before taking a picture of that and turning back to Elisabeth. "Steaks and Beers do have their place, but so do wine and theater. There's nothing wrong with having a little culture to bring you higher in the world. Culture, after all, is the widening of the mind and spirit."

"Do you take pictures of every date you go on, Max?" Elisabeth asks with a faint grin. "You didn't mention that you had a quirk. I might have to rethink it if you're gonna be flashy-thinging me in the face all night," she teases. There's a tilt of her head and her lips twist into a rueful expression. "You're starting to freak me out as too good to be true, you realize."

"No, not usually. Only when I'm in a place that I've never been in a country I've rarely visited. You'd be surprised at what sells back in Australia for stock images. Now, the one of you? That's mine. The rest?" He lifts the camera with one hand. "I can put it away if you'd like. I'm not perfect, but the last thing I want to do is make my date uncomfortable in the short time that we'll be together."

Too good to be true? Jaiden? He shakes his head with a small smile. "I'm true, I promise. And we've all got our little flaws, here and there."

Elisabeth shrugs slightly. "It's fine. I don't know if I've ever dated a tourist, honestly," she laughs. "Do what you like." When Randi comes back with the drinks, she still hasn't looked at the menu yet, which she conveys with a smile. Looking back at 'Max,' she asks, "Are you actually on an assignment right now? You didn't really mention."

"Not exactly." Jaiden…er, Max says softly, looking at Randi for a moment, giving him a 'look' as if to say 'come back in a minute' before looking back to Elisabeth. "That's the trick of being a freelance reporter - you have to find the story and sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you don't. Part of it was I'd never come to New York and thought that it might be a nice place to visit. So many cultures and peoples pushed together into one small island. So much history in every building. There are stories here that would interest people, and I thought it was as good a place as any to go."

Their drinks are delivered, quickly and efficiently, Randi melting into the background, watching for them to be ready for him to come by and take their order. "So to answer your question, truthfully. Sort of."

She nods, following the explanation easily enough. "Are you good enough in your field to be able to pick and choose the stories you tell?" Elisabeth asks curiously. "Or are you still at the must take what hits me in the face phase of your career?" She grins, clearly meaning no intent, just curious about how well known he actually is.

"Well, that's the thing about being Freelance. You can pick and choose, but if you pick wrong, food gets to be a difficult thing to accumulate because you're in a country that doesn't accept IOU's and you don't have a ticket home. Right now, the easiest thing I can do is get on with some blokes I know and ask 'where's the worst place in the world to be right now.' And then I go there because there's a story there somewhere that sells. It's not very fun sometimes, but other times I see things of such staggering beauty that I can hardly believe how lucky I am." Jaiden lets out a soft sigh, taking a sip of his bourbon, the ice clinking softly against the heavy crystal glass as it is lowered back to the table, his eyes going dreamy. "I'm better off than most, though, thanks to some lucky breaks while I was in the military."

There's a nod as she sips from her wine glass, and Liz finally looks down over the menu. "I took a trip after my sophomore year of college to Thailand. It was a gift from my parents, and a bunch of the kids that I went to school with went along on a tour package. I have never seen such incredible views, honestly. I've heard that the Middle East is like that as well — for all that it's war-torn, I've been told that there are places of incredible beauty."

"You just have to know where to look and be a part of one of the countries that isn't angry at the country you're in, or vice versa. But I've watched the sun set across salt flats in Africa that no-one has passed before. I've seen the desolation after a sandstorm scours the coast of Africa. I've even crossed the highest road in the world that went over a volcano. It was wonderful, but oh so dangerous." Jaiden opens his menu after that speech, scanning quickly. Ribs…no. Soup….no. Something that won't get on his shirt and be messy. Ah, steak. There we go.

Elisabeth slants a look up at him and chuckles. "Not terribly modest, are you?" She doesn't seem put off by it. And truth be told, she likes hearing about his travels. As dinner progresses, she asks many questions about the places he's seen, the things he's done while there. She tells him enough about herself to give him a good picture of the young woman who will become his friend in the future — the idealistic streak in her is not gone. She is much the same, just…. less touched by tragedy. Less weighed down by futures yet to be. She smiles a lot, she's not paranoid or as watchful. She's still casual about her affairs as is the woman he knows, too; she's just a little cautious with him, but it's clear from some responses that she was severely disappointed in a relationship not the not-so-distant past. She's out to enjoy herself without regard for full-on relationships now. Casual seems to be suiting her.

As he walks her to the door of her tiny walk-up that night after the theater, Elisabeth pauses there and looks up at him. "Thank you, Max. I can't remember when I've enjoyed an evening more. I'm glad you called."

And all through the night, Jaiden takes pictures. Of where they are, of the show when he can, of her and him, together, enjoying the night in New York untouched by the bomb but held in the cool embrace of winter. He remembers, because he knows she won't remember in the future. A Humanis First bullet took care of that for her.

"And I had a wonderful time m'self, Lizzie. An' if it's not too terribly forward, I might try to a) do this again with you before I leave and b) steal a goodnight kiss for m'self."

That bright, flirtatious smile that is almost entirely unchanged ten years from now flashes at him and Elisabeth says softly, "I think I might be slightly offended if you didn't." She slips her hands from the pockets of her coat and moves forward to rest them against his chest. "But you don't have to steal what's freely offered," she murmurs, tipping her head up invitingly.

There's the Lizzie Jaiden has come to know in the future coming out to play. "Well, if you insist on it…" There's a shuffling step to the side and a motion to lean closer, a slight tilt of his head to the side, and his hands move to curl around the small of her back. There's a slight pause - a breath of wind that sends snowflakes fluttering as he bends, and then a gentle kiss is brushed over Elisabeth's lips. And it's a good kiss, too. No going right for tongue, no forceful pushing, no stubble scratching - it's just an all together lovely and comforting kiss that easily shows the joy of meeting another like soul.

It's been a while since a guy treated her so very sweetly. The dates she's been on have been nice, but very casual. Max seems like a genuinely nice man, and Elisabeth relaxes into that kiss willingly, one hand slipping up to cradle the base of his neck as they stand on her minuscule front stoop in the snow that's beginning to fall and will eventually accumulate into the half a foot called for tonight. When they come up for air, she steps back one halting step and her breath makes a warm mist between them as she tries to slow her heartbeat. "I, uhm…. Good night, Max." Her grin holds a hint of the wicked flirt. It's a first date. She's got some standards. "I do hope you call again."

"Night, Lizzie." Jaiden says, stepping into the snow, leaving her alone on the stoop, his camera coming up, the flash flashing once as he takes one more picture for the evening, her with that happy, half-halting breathy look that one gets after being kissed well and truly right.

"You'll hear from me again. I can promise you that." With a small salute and a wave, Jaiden knocks the snow from his hair, tugs his hat on, and starts down the street to the Taxi stand.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License