Town Can Wait


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Scene Title Town Can Wait
Synopsis Hana and Logan watch a different set of stars come out.
Date February 5, 2019

Beresheet Hotel, Mitzpe Ramon, Israel

The sun is already coming down on Israel. John Logan does not know what time it is in New York, and doesn't care.

Because somewhere outside of the apartment he possesses in Bay Ridge, there is ice and mud and salt on the streets in melting, slick, treacherous patches. There are stray cats fucking beneath his balcony. There are construction noises and food lines. There is poverty and desperation and plenty of money if you know how to get it. It is, in fact, the kind of habitat he knows is just about encoded into his DNA, for all that every one of his little dreams and aspirations were all about climbing out of it, One Day, whatever the fuck that means.

All told, it's nice to have a change of scenery.

And what scenery.

As it darkens, the glimmering lights of other villas and cottages sprinkled about the desert remind them they aren't alone, but it would be easy to pretend they are. Their own accommodations are free-standing, built of yellow brick and sun-blanched wood and wide panes of glass, sharp architecture, black steel. Within, tasteful light plans, soft carpets, concrete floors, a low bed of an endless expanse of white tundra sheets, a stainless steel kitchen, a bathroom that he could hyperbolise as being as large as his own apartment.

In spite of the off-season, the air, with its occasional toss of wind, is dry and cool, and hot to those who have just crawled out of the snow swamped east coast. The two glasses of champagne that Logan carries with him are chilled, handing one off as he approaches his companion out on the balcony.

Adopts a lean. Says, "You know, if we wanted a view of a big desolate fucking crater, we could have just stayed where we were."

Hana will know he is being, quote-unquote, funny. She can tell because not only is he absorbing the view, but for the view itself: the Ramon gouges into the earth in a wide, shallow bowl of desert, living behind the rippled ridges of exposed rock, so wide that the vanishing point almost seems like it melds into the horizon. The sunset renders it all in golds, pinks, purples. It is ridiculously beautiful. And even though he hasn't had her ability in some time, he can appreciate, too, the amazing silence.

This marks the first time Hana's stayed at a resort in Israel, acting as a tourist in her own motherland. It's a curious novelty, as is this respite from ice and snow and salt-scented air, this island of indulgence surrounded by striking areoscape desert. She isn't really thinking about that, though, as she stands at the balcony and observes the subtle and not so subtle interplay between sunset's lambent glow and arid landscape. Isn't thinking at all so much as sinking into the stillness, the emptiness, the isolation.

Dark eyes flick in Logan's direction as he approaches, though without any accompanying turn; she plucks her glass from his fingers under the guide of peripheral vision only. It isn't until he speaks that Hana deigns to more overtly acknowledge his presence, turning away from the showier aspects of dusk, leaning the small of her back against the rail. There's a distinctly flat look that goes with the motion, cast back as repressive counter to his "humor." Except when it isn't.

"Wait until the stars come out," she says mildly, taking a sip from her flute and lifting her own gaze to the purpling sky. There aren't any to be seen yet, not real stars; just one planet jumping the gun, as there usually is. "Maybe that view'll be more to your liking," Hana adds, studiously indifferent to the prospect. She wouldn't care, if this were a serious conversation.

"Or you could head into town," is an afterthought, spoken against the rim of her glass just before she takes a second drink. "Can't say that's not a change of pace."

There might be a hint of smile around the edges of her glass. Or there might not.

There'd been a smile for Hana's flat affect, sharp at the corners, before Logan rests his weight against the balcony railing, arms folded at the wrists, positioned close to Hana in a familiar sort of way, but there's room to breathe, more companionable than intimate, for the moment. He's dressed for a warmer evening than he has been used to, but one that still has a bite of chill in the wind — sleek in dense black, dress shirt tucked into waistband, sleeves rolled, a nice watch strapped around a wrist. Something tasteful and classic and likely procured from his own business. He'd set it to local time already.

He'd decided, too, to get over the ugliness of the severed little finger, sometime prior to Hana inviting him on an international escape. No additional wrappings adorn that hand, even if he barely consciously scoots the damage out of sight when it's convenient to do so.

New York takes bites out of everyone. It is a wonder that someone like him went this long without anything permanent to show for it, the occasional lacey patch of scarring notwithstanding.

"Town can wait," he says, expansively, like town will wait. "I'd hate to miss out on the sparkle."

He tips his champaigne back and forth a little in the long flute. "I did a bit of business in Mexico, a long time ago, when I was much stupider than I am now," he says. "And we hoped for what anyone hopes for when they do business in places like that — to make a tidy fortune and get the fuck out. Doesn't quite work that way, all the time. But I did like the scenery." Maybe this place, golden and wild and open, reminds him of that — but grander. More ancient.

"The company could've been better," he adds, now swinging his attention back to her — or, the more convenient angle of her hands, holding her glass. "What's 'town' like?"

"Mexico, hmm?" Hana echoes contemplatively, as she lets her lean settle a little more deeply, elbows coming to rest on the rail, glass held casually before her. She's been in Mexico, briefly, passing through; can agree it had scenery worth the word, some places. Most places do.

The curve of just one corner of her lips, there and gone again, has more to do with stupid, with learned perspective on the follies of youth. Even when 'youth' wasn't all that long ago in the scheme of things.

It's town, though, that brings Hana's gaze down from the promise of stars that aren't quite shining yet, dark brows arched. "Mm. Small," she replies. "Practically a postage stamp. Lots of tourists," she adds as counterpoint, lifting her glass to sip at the champagne; pale linen rustles with the motion. "Hikers, bikers, climbers. Adrenaline junkies." Especially at this time of year, before the casual tourists come out in force. She pauses thoughtfully. "There were plans to build a casino, once."

Logan imagines that his description of town would be something a little different to Hana's, save for the density of tourists, the legalities around certain kinds of leisure. He might refer to the other brands of hedonism beyond what adrenaline can provide — the shopping, the drinking, the dancing, where serotonin comes cheap and simple — but as an expert, of course, he's not knocking adrenaline.

"So no gambling," he says. "Of the above board kind, anyway. And as I've come to learn, it's not the size of the city that matters, so much as what you do with it."

He's pleased with himself for that one.

Enough that as he says it, he moves, taking the opportunity of Hana's physical relaxation to scoot an arm around her waist, bracketing her in a little with himself, the high balcony railing. Trapping her is an unconvincing ploy, and there have been moments in which she's reminded him of that — and others where she hasn't. "I hope you manage to fit in a little pleasure in all the business."

"Hmm," is a sound not exactly noncommittal, not exactly concurring. Certainly she has no doubt of Logan's ability to ferret out amenities of whatever stripe he's of the mood for in any locale where people gather. People are much the same everywhere.

"It was a worker's camp before it was a town," she remarks. "Not so many years ago. I imagine that's left some marks." Of the below-board, illicit kind. Not to mention all the history to be had in this part of the world; another set of stripes altogether, that.

Hana takes a sip of her champagne as he scoots closer, then pivots herself, one step out and another around, free hand lingering on the rail so that it is Logan bracketed rather than she. She fails to demur over the stretch of his own arm; they aren't exactly on this balcony, halfway around the world, in one another's company for no reason. "Here and there," she allows, as if it were a grudging admission, none of his actual business.

She tips her head back just enough to elevate her gaze, picking out pinpricks of silver amidst blue-black heavens. "Bit pointless to come to a place like this and not, don't you think?"

People are much the same inside, too, even Hana Gitelman despite what is likely popular opinion. All dark red meat and yellow marrow, and the complex network of biochemical releases with a limited range of variation. If everyone was as fundamentally different as people like to believe, people like Logan probably wouldn't stand much of a chance. His eyes hood as she side-steps him, an expert dancing partner, and the arm he's put around her waist draws her in closer.

But he follows her look upwards, where the first stars are starting to poke through the blackness.

Not bad.

"I do think," he says, now looking back to her. "And it's so clever of you to have brought me along to ensure you're reminded of that." It's playful, but perhaps true enough. What is important, equally, is that she knows he's not going to ask wherever it is she might mysteriously vanish.

The first unwritten rule of this relationship, and perhaps the most important; the overlap in their interpersonal Venn diagram is resolutely devoid of business-minded matters. As is this present furlough, fitted into the gap between major action and lesser intensive project.

Which is not to say there won't be moments of vanishment, on each of their respective parts. Still, tonight is not one of those.

"Flattery," Hana states, tone dry and deadpan, "will get you nowhere." True enough, on the face of it; and yet utterly irrelevant as she reaches past his shoulder to set her glass on the rail. She leans in closer still, nose to nose, her lips a breath away from his. "If you want to impress me," Hana continues, the tenor of her words leaving impassivity behind in short order, "you're going to have to try harder."

It also happens they have some time before the stars really come out on display.

Clink. Logan's glass is carefully, without looking, set down as well.

"Good thing," he says, a smile teased out across his face in familiar fox grin, hen feathers implied, "there's nothing I'd rather do."

Long fingers get lost in glossy dark hair in the moment just prior to Logan closing the distance, pressing his mouth to hers, as insistent and immediately ardent as she might come to expect of him, save for when he is entertaining being unexpected, which is just as often. Here, beneath a new configuration of emerging stars, and thousands of miles away from where they started, he seeks something good.

Behind closed eyelids, his eyes gleam their hostile green, but they portend nothing she doesn't know well. That symphonic rise of chemical feeling, the rush of blood and the slight impression of atoms abuzz at the fingertips, and beneath fingertips. He leaves her trap only by walking her backwards as the stars slowly awaken like something sleepy, dark and with infinite glittery eyes.

They leave the balcony door open to the cool desert air.

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