Two for the Road


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Scene Title Two for the Road
Synopsis A dinner date between Kain Zarek, John Logan, and Nicole Nichols to discuss the state of affairs of the Linderman Group quickly turns to a discussion on how to best save their own hides.
Date September 12, 2010

The Corinthian - Chambéry Restaurant

Chambéry is every bit as elegant as a French restaurant housed in the swanky Corinthian Hotel promises to be. The expansive venue is entered through a pair of mirrored French doors opposite each other, decorated in fresh white paint, and rich tones that give an impression of warmth. Gold is a backdrop for clusters of roses damask, red, and white, making up the plush carpet beneath the feet of chairs and diners both. White table clothes are draped over circular tables spaced about the room, each set for two with elegant glassware, more silverware than the average person knows what to do with, and a small silver-based lantern with a frosted half-globe encasing the flame.

Crystal chandeliers hang down, their flames providing further illumination to the room and dancing off of a canopy so perfect a white that it gives the illusion that the ceiling could be made of porcelain. Small, flat lights are dotted strategically amongst ornate moulding in the ceiling, giving a brighter splash to the room, affording the ambiance of a candle-lit room without the disadvantage of dimness.

Beige and warm tan create an elaborate patterned wallpaper, the negative space leaving one unsure of which is the dominant colour, beneath a banded frieze of white and gold. Candelabras further illume the space, settled into contrasting wood panelling that separates alternating panels of wallpaper and large, gilded mirrors. Above one such mirror is a beautiful painting of a woman with dark ringlets and eyes the colour of cobalt. The same woman can be found in another painting hung on one of the papered walls, dressed in an electric blue gown that would have been fashionable in the 1800's. Members of the Linderman Group who study the women depicted in the paintings may find her oddly familiar.

The lingering light of the long days of summer is beginning to wane. Each arrives just a little earlier than the one before it. The temperature in New York has dropped to a chill enough to perhaps warrant the retrieval of fall jackets from the closet. It seems too early for their return, after the unnatural winter that held the city in its grip for far too long. Those with machismo or an ability to regulate or alternate their internal temperature will continue to forgo the barrier to the chill in the air. Nicole Nichols falls into the latter category. Her jacket has been left hung up in her closet, in spite of the prelude to autumn as she steps out of her cab and makes her way toward the front doors of the Corinthian.

Despite being nudged to have this meeting some days ago, Nicole pushed her reservations back to the weekend, to give her time to mull things over. She's some fifteen minutes ahead of when she told her dinner dates to meet her, but such is par for the course when it comes to Nicole and her schedule. She approaches the podium, easily recognised by the host in charge for the evening, offering a smile. The man is quick to send two other members of staff to push two tables together so there will be ample space for the party of three.

Anxiously, Nicole transfers her black clutch between her hands, feeling the fabric of her simple, but flattering, blue dress between her fingers for a moment before she catches herself. She busies herself instead with adjusting the way the satiny faux corsage of gathered satin sits at her right shoulder. The urge to pull her BlackBerry from her purse and check the time is ignored, though only just.

There is a measure of taste in Logan's light woolen coat, preluding to the rest of his garb which is equally black on black, if insufferably pretensious in the Mandarin design of his shirt collar and the different textures between cotton and satin, shirt and waistcoat both. There are touches of colour— obviously— in the silver of his thumb ring and the gold of his cufflinks, metallic thread dancing through the patent leather of his shoes, but all in all, he makes a mostly dark and slender silhouette as he is shown to Nicole's table, the second to arrive.

"Good evening," he greets, undoing the tie to his coat but not shedding it before he can lean in and place a kiss barely a butterfly's landing on Nicole's cheek. He smells like cologne, smoke and— queerly— dog, for some reason, though his tailored clothing doesn't immediately show up any dog hair (more indicative of cursing and liberal application of a lint roller than not).

He also negates her, before he can make contact. Nothing personal.

"Well lookie here, you ain't wearin' a leopard!" Comes cheerfully from behind Logan as a hand is slapped on one shoulder and Kain Zarek insinuates himself over Logan's other shoulder, flashing a pearly-white smile before disengaging from the unwanted touching and slipping beside the far more cordial gentleman — if Logan could be called that with a straight face.

"Nickles darlin ain't you a sight for sore eyes," Kain offers with a whistle and a raise of his brows, his broad-shouldered frame slimmed by the ink black color of his suit and button-down short, with only a patterned blue silk tie offering a splash of color that brings out the color of his eyes.

"So, to what do Ah' owe the occasion of havin' dinner with fancy-pants here an' yerself?" As Kain moves closer to the table and reaches out for a chair, there's a familiar silhouette standing at the door of the Chambéry in the distance, equally black in suit with a crisp crimson colored tie. Manny Calavera doesn't look like he's joining the group for dinner, but rather making his way to the bar, observing the crowd through literal rose-tinted glasses.

He's on the clock.

No little shock dances from Nicole's skin to Logan's lips as he drops that kiss there for her. She even inclines her head to one side so as to offer her cheek to him. "Good evening," she murmurs in kind, a small smile playing on her lips. A faint blush creeps into her cheeks, even as the warmth is slowly draining beneath her skin.

That blush deepens as the their third arrives on Logan's heels. "You look like you're dressed for a funeral," Nicole adds to Kain's own observation of Logan's attire. As much as Logan probably could ever look as though he's meant to be attending a funeral. "And here I wore colour so you wouldn't be alone," she teases. Polite smile still in place, she nods to Zarek, "I like your tie."

Nicole waits for the gentlemen to both seat themselves, her chin lifted as her eyes scan the room for Kain's shadow. Blue gaze falling on Manny's outline, she flags down one of the wait staff circulating through the restaurant to ensure that everything is satisfactory. "Would you please ensure that whatever Mister Calavera wants is on my tab?" she murmurs, a finger pointing toward the man that can hardly be missed. After a nod of understanding, she dismisses the waiter with a smile.

"I'm pleased you both could join me," the woman says finally. "I wish I could say that this was all just an attempt on my part for us to unwind and be social." The curve of Nicole's lips doesn't change, but the sentiment is now absent from her eyes. "This was Mister Linderman's idea." It's rare, in their company, for Nicole to refer to their employer as anything other than Daniel. It suggests… something. There's no discontent or anxiety peppering her tone. Just the choice of words to imply that something is off.

"Drama, over colour. Remember that." This is Logan's rebuff regarding his own black attire, a look shot to Kain out the corner of his eye as he's settling into his seat with a long arm slinging back over it. Legs cross beneath the table, and he watches the path the waiter makes because he's either eyeing him up or wistful for something more socially acceptable (at least, in public). "I do hope Mister Linderman's idea involved a drink or two," might explain it, though he's not picking up the wine list.

It's easier to just ask for the house whatever. Instant class without needing to pronounce anything fuckin' French. However, he tracks a look back to Nicole, some degree of interested perception sharpening his study.

"Ah'll have a Scotch on the rocks an' Ah' think mah buddy here'll be havin' something with fruit and an' umbrella in it," Kain is in the middle of stating to another waiter he'd gone to the trouble of flagging down while Logan was looking in the opposite direction at the other. "Missy here'll have a few shots of Tequila if Ah've heard all the stories right," is added with equal amount of tongue and cheek humor as Kain wrinkles his nose and waves the waiter off. "On second thought let's just stick to the Scotch an' give these two lovebirds some more time t'think."

In rare form today, Kain leans forward after shooing the waiter off, folding his hands on the tabletop and leaning forward. "So ol' Danny boy wanted you t'come talk t'us, which means you need one of three things: Someone taught a lesson," one finger comes up, "someone made to go away," another finger comes up, "or a big ol' heapin truck fulla' guns," a third finger comes up along with one of Kain's eyebrows.

"Ain't seeing much of one and three with you these days, and if Robbie's stink-eye at me the other night was any indication, Ah'm thinkin' yer brewin' up a big ol' number two. Does this happen t'have anythin' t'do with our mutual Cajun acquaintance with a bad dyejob?"

The colour first drains from Nicole's face, and then returns to it in full force as her lips part in surprise and embarrassment as Kain's drink order. One foot slips out of her sensible black pumps and for a moment, Zarek may wonder if he's being engaged in a game of footsie.

At least until the shock to his leg accompanied by a saccharine smile. "Zarek, you are such a kidder." That was uncalled for. The response to his guesses is somewhat flat. "This has very little to do with her, actually. Robert and I will clean up your mess. I had hoped she would crawl into traffic, or something equally convenient, but it seems that I could not hope to be so lucky."

It's a bit of a strange sight to see Nicole so callous about such a subject. Certainly she has been aloof about their business matters in the past, but never quite like this. It's difficult to say if the undercurrent of annoyance stems from the fact that Kain didn't take care of Lola Mayeux in the manner expected of him, or if his crack about her fondness for tequila still leaves a bad taste in her mouth. "She's not our concern now," she states with some degree of finality, exchanging looks with the two men at the table.

That Logan isn't negating Nicole since cheek-smooch isn't actually preemptive strike in hopes that Kain will get bit — but fuck, he'll pretend it was for comments about fruit and umbrellas. Of course, he makes sure for his eyes to show green as he adds, "I've seen you drink enough to end up in a fountain, love. I was in said fountain. And throw back a shot of tequila— for the road, she said," is an aside to Kain, before Logan is straightening up his posture, and flashing her a thin smile. "Don't get all Sandra Dee on us now.

"And out with it. Not that I don't love an opportunity to get dressed up and 'ave a place to go, but you've got my attention. If it's not dead girls or guns, it must be fantastic."

Still squirming in his chair from the shock, Kain rolls his shoulders and grimaces painfully as he grips at one arm of his chair and offers Logan a sidelong look. "Fantastically terrible if you ask me," the Cajun mumbles as he rolls his shoulders and looks down to the floor. "Ah'm with John-boy on this one, give it to us sister, 'cause Ah've got me a date with a man what is hemmorhaging money an' lookin' for things t'spend it on in about four hours…"

It's wonderful that Kain has side jobs, it keeps his idle hands from getting into anyone else's problems or pants. "So you got about that long t'keep mah attention before Ah' shuffle off t'get mahself a paycheck an' see to it that whatever 'cause needs armin' gets armed."

"We may go to prison," Nicole says succinctly. "Do I have your attention now?" Her jaw sets, chin jutting out slightly in her annoyance. For a moment, she looks very much like her younger sister. "You've been watching the news, I trust." In Kain's place, it may be something more like I hope?, but he's granted the benefit of the doubt for the time being.

A breath is let out in a quiet huff through her nose. "The arrests within Biomere and the scrutiny of the Yamagoto Corporation are just the beginning." Nicole's lips purse and she takes a moment to choose her next words, while shooting a warning look to each man that says don't interrupt me, I'm thinking. "I've been assured that steps have been taken to ensure that we will be relieved of liability, should that become an issue." Although when she says this, her eyes are squarely on Logan. "We may, however, be run in for questioning." Kain is suddenly included in the conversation again on that note. Perhaps the earlier exclusion was unintentional. Or perhaps Kain may be up the creek without a paddle of push comes to shove. Same shit, different day?

We may go to prison, almost gets a smile cracking from Logan. Well obviously — he always may go to prison! But that smile sobers before it can really brighten as she continues, and he leans back far enough in his chair to be able to watch Kain out the corner of his eye for all that his focus remains on the lady, a hand up to toy with his collar.

If he notices the exclusion, he doesn't show it on his face, mastering his usual expression of feline indifference which is usually better seen in negotiations with rivals, petty and major. Less so with colleagues. "So did something happen," he asks, "or is it just our time?"

Somehow Kain only looks a little worried. In a way there's more shifting, awkward glances to Logan, lifting brows and awkward tugs of the collar of his suit jacket. Clearing his throat, Kain furrows his brows and offers a look down to the table, brushing his fingertips over the tablecloth and then looking askance to Logan, then back up to Nicole.

"She's talkin' 'bout the Company," Kain notes with one brow lifted, "'cause that's what happened t'Biomere an' a bunch'a other places, them infiltrators in the government an' all'a that… Yeah, Ah' know what it is you're barkin' at, Nickles." Lifting his brows, Kain offers an askance look to Logan, wondering if the ignorance was feigned or true, it's hard to estimate.

Careful to try and keep his cards a little closer to the vest than usual, Kain asks, "What's Danny plannin'? How's he gonna' keep us all from gettin' roped in like co-conspirators?" Because somehow, in all of this, Kain isn't surprised by the Company association. He knew, but whether that was from being Daniel's right-hand-man for so many years, or from something a little red bird told him isn't obvious.

"He wouldn't say," Nicole admits with a frown. And she isn't quite certain from her conversation with Linderman that he intends to keep Kain from getting roped in at all. "He told me to let it go, or he'd send someone to peel at my fingers." It's clear the notion that she's not in control of this situation leaves her unsettled. "He says they have nothing," she adds with a shrug that suggests she does not quite believe that.

Reaching up to rub her fingers over her throat absently, Nicole shakes her head. "I hope he's right. But… I don't put it past the government to turn this into a witch hunt. Heads will roll for the sake of appeasing the public - convincing them that they have this under control and that the Company, whatever they are, is no longer a threat to freedom and the American way." Her chest rises a little more sharply than usual.

"Mister Linderman said we need to be honest with each other." Nicole's expression becomes more earnest, entreating. "We need to stick together. Look out for each other." Lips form a serious line, brows knitting together. "I trust you both."

Askance look gets nothing in return but mutual assessment — Logan is probably a good poker player, because for all that his veneer isn't difficult to crack, it's difficult to see through. But of course, there is the fact that he swims in the murkier, shallower, dirtier ends of the pool that is Linderman Group's interest, which is a farther cry from the glossy spectrum of politics and history. Then again, he is also Caliban's bitch — it's hard to be so and be uninformed.

When Kain's scotch arrives, Logan orders a gin on rocks. Possibly in defiance.

"I don't see how it would be in the government's best interest to out the Group," he offers, and it's almost shy. Political commentary? Logan isn't even sure who's Prime Minister in Britain anymore. Still that careful study of Kain, as if to try and stay on the same script page, as intently as the Cajun regards the Brit. "No matter what witch hunt they're on. That's a little close to home for Mister President, innit? Well, fuck, I'm all for battening down the hatches if it comes to it, naturally."

Uncomfortably shifting in his seat, Kain scrubs one hand over his jaw. There's a look on his face, one that implies debate. When he turns blue eyes back to Nicole, he looks like he's being put on the spot about something, rather than being informed of something in advance. "Danny tol' you t'look out for numero uno huh? Ain't that downright charitable of him…" Rubbing one hand over his mouth, Kain leans back in his chair and picks up his Scotch, taking a long drink from the glass as he simmers in his silence.

"Well he sent ya t'th' right fellers for that, Ah' reckon." Looking to Logan again, Kain adds for the sake of argument, "You know if the tree's comin' down anyway, it might not be a bad idea for us t'take a couple'a chops out've it before it comes odwn, so it can look like we were helpin' th' whole time. Ah' hate t'say this but if Danny boy is goin' up the river for something he may've done Ah' ain't entirely above cleaning out the boat for him an' givin' a nudge."

It's not premeditated if you pretend you didn't have the idea for a while, right?

"Ah' mean, savin' our own hides is nice, but it's a scary damn world out there. Ain't no sayin' we can't make this situation work for us, right? Ah' ain't one lookin' t'be Brutus or nothin', but it smells t'me like we're knee deep in the idea of march, if'n y'know what Ah' mean."

Not to be outdone, when Kain's drink arrives, and Logan puts in his order, Nicole speaks up. "Gin martini. Gordon's. Very dirty. Three olives." Less congenial than she was upon her arrival, her brows are arched as if to say you can handle that, right? to the hapless waiter oblivious to their discussion. She sends him off again with a dismissive wave of her hand.

"Do you really think a few campaign donations are going to stop Petrelli?" Nicole asks of Logan, brows furrowed. "He may have secured his congressional seat on our backs, but he was not our candidate," she reminds somewhat needlessly. "I think he could argue his way out of that connection. He has plenty of time before the next election to put his own spin on things." It would appear she may be the only one at the table not in on the little secret of Nathan Petrelli's.

"No," Nicole corrects Kain sharply. "He told me we should look out for each other. He said this isn't the time for games. I'm inclined to agree."

The words that follow clearly surprise the woman more than the original idea that they, as a whole, might be in trouble.

Nicole blanches entirely, a sharp gasp leaving her lips as her hand actually comes up to cover the way her jaw has just dropped at Kain's suggestion. "How could you even suggest such a thing?" she asks after a moment of quiet sputtering. Her dark blue eyes, shining with the luminescence created by her ability, grow wide with the horror of the thought. "And it's the Ides of March, you dolt," is all the further she can manage. It's a trivial thing to correct, but it speaks volumes perhaps as to just how stunned Nicole is at the notion of throwing their employer under the bus.

"Now now. It's like you said. Campaign donations aren't going to stop Petrelli," Logan says, and even Kain can note that green irises remain pale and dilute, without power use. Right now. There's something to be said for timing, and obvious timing isn't ideal. "If we're not keen to fucking dig the man's grave ourselves," and there's a slightly reprimanding glance tossed Kain's way, which could be genuine or could be performance — Logan isn't so much convincing as he is ambiguous, "then we can at least not make it a group burial. And I'm rather certain that's why Daniel wants you talking to us, love.

"Let go, the man said." Gin drinks are set down, Logan clearing his throat in the pause that inevitably lapses while the help is in earshot. He picks up his glass, slides a glance to Kain. "Personally, I don't want anything to do with the shit he was involved in before I came along. I've got enough dirt. But I bet D'Sarthe would be interested in a little bit of infobrokering, if he's really looking to stick in there."

Not to gloss over Nicole's feelings or anything.

"John-boy's got himself a point, ain't no harm in us talkin' hypotheticals if this is the big stinker comin' down t'pop a squat over us an' drop the days news." Kain's eyes avert down to the surface of his Scotch, head tilts to the side and one hand rakes back his bangs from his face. "If Danny's really tied up in this Company business, than we're all in a soon t'be pretty big world'a hurt. Gideon d'Sarthe might be in a good place t'help us out if we scratch the requisite itches before all's said an' done."

Downing the last of his drink, Kain sets the glass down on the table with a clunk as he raises his shoulders in a shrug. "Ain't like he's friendship material, but ol' Giddyup Buttercup could at least be helpful a'fore we get ourselves in hot water, y'know?"

Exhaling a sharp sigh, Kain leans forward and folds his hands together, then rests his chin on his hands. "Let's think about what's more important here. Us bein' loyal t'Danny's memory, or you lookin' out fer that cute kid sister a'yours. 'Magine what'd happen t'her if you got in some hot water 'cause you decided to go down with the ship? Ain't necessary's all we're sayin'."

Nicole's hand drops from her mouth and back to the table when she sees the waiter approaching with their drinks. She's quick to take a generous sip as soon as conversation resumes. She doesn't like what she's hearing, that much is obvious. "What exactly are you two suggesting?" It isn't that she can't read between the lines, but that she hopes it isn't what it seems. "The only way I am dealing with d'Sarthe is if— No. Daniel wants us to keep an eye on d'Sarthe, not try to make nice with him."

Nicole leans back in her seat and rubs one hand over her face, careful not to smear her subtle make-up. "Where would any of us be without Daniel?" she asks in a soft voice. "Don't even try and pretend for a moment that we'd be anything but nobodies, or small-time crooks," she offers pointedly with a glance to each man in turn. "What are you going to do if he goes to prison? Go and try to find work with d'Sarthe? I highly doubt he would have either— any of us."

The mention of her cute kid sister sends Nicole bristling and leaning forward instantly. Her glare is a flash of blue. "Don't you dare…" she warns.

"Daniel Linderman burned my brothel to the ground with a few whores still in it to make sure I'd jump off that shithole island before it completely sunk," Logan says, his voice both severe and cutting, eyes still their silver-green in their stare. "Good choice though it may have been, I came here with nothing. Not a cent, not a dime. This time, when I'm shown the plank, I'm going to see about taking somethink with me when I jump. That's what he taught me." He leaves it at that, this time, leaving plans both preconcieved and not unbrushed for now while she's sparking up.

You can taste the electricity in the air, but maybe it's something like trust that doesn't have Logan negating her. Protecting himself against coy zaps is different. Despite the no smoking sign, Logan makes a harried show of lighting up. No one tells Lindergoons not to smoke in the Chambéry.

"Danny did for us what served him good t'do. He didn't drag mah ass out've the rubble of the old Linderman Building at Kirby Plaza and Humpty Dumpty me back t'gether again jus' out of th' kindness of his heart. No, he wanted me t'owe him. Daniel Linderman ain't no saint, darlin, an' th' sooner y'all realize that the better." Tilting his chin up as he regards Nicole, Kain furrows his brows and looks askance to Logan.

"Daniel Linderman's a lying, manipulative bastard." Blue eyes flick back to Nicole, "which means turnabout is fair play. If he's goin' down, if he gets arrested, yer damned sure Ah' ain't goin' down with th' ship. If it means makin' nice with Gideon t'make sure Ah' ain't eatin cold soup out've a can on the corner've a street, so be it."

Slouching back in his seat, Kain folds his hands in front of himself on the table. "Who's gonna' protect you if he goes t'jail, Nickles? Who's gonna protect yer family. Loyalty's all nice an' good, but darlin…"

Kain's brows go up as his eyes avert down to the table and a smile creeps across his lips. "Sounds t'me like it's gettin' t'be Lord of the Flies time."

Logan has a very good idea that Nicole is quick to mimic, reaching for her clutch on the table and procuring a cigarette case and lighter. She flips upright an empty wine glass and sets it between herself and Logan to act as an impromptu ash tray. She fills her lungs with menthol-laden poison in measured breaths, letting the weight of suggestions settle down on her.

"Daniel would never do anything like that to me," Nicole insists. Her eyes focus on some middling distance in the restaurant, unable to bring herself to look at her companions. She knows they're both telling the truth. "He has never been anything but kind to me," she adds defensively. Her eyes lid and she exhales smoke through her nose. "He helped put me through college. He gave me something to aspire to. He gave me ambition."

Distressed, Nicole peers between Logan and Kain, hoping for one of them to say something that will make this okay, even though she knows they can't. Even if they could, they wouldn't. It would be too dishonest. "Daniel made me who I am," she says in a quiet voice. "I'm not like the two of you. I was just a kid. Not some…" There's something apologetic in the way she looks at the other two. She won't call them criminals to their faces. Not when she's come to be just as guilty.

A short and sharp exhale of smoke through nostrils before Logan taps smoldering ash into the bell shape of the glass, elbows on the table as if they were lounging at Shooters rather than the Chambéry. Now it comes, the tiding warmth, although it's as subtle nudge as ever, irises saturating their own hue a touch more, spreading from pupil to the smokey ring of black that circles chips of cheap jade. It's a physical sensation of loose relaxation.

She could, if she wanted to, chalk it up to the effect of smoke seeping chemicals in her lungs. His eyelashes veil his eyes a little as he studies his nails, the chipped surface of his thumb ring. "And he wanted you to talk to us. And he knows full well we're opportunistic thugs at heart." Spoken in an ironic tone. Is that what you meant?

"He also forgot t'tell ya that yer kid sister was sitting in a state run shelter after the bomb?" One of Kain's brows lifts up slowly. "C'mon, Nickles, d'you really think Danny didn't know that your little squirt wound up at a hospital? Who th' hell d'you think paid her hospital bills anyway, Santa? Yer dear ol' daddy sure wasn't doin' nothin'. C'mon, put two'n two together an' use yer head… You were runnin' a damn important job for the old man, you think he wanted you getting distracted?"

Sure, Kain's pulling history out of his ass on this, but the details line up enough to possibly be true. Enough to get Nicole to think his way, even if for only a little while. "Danny sent you t'us because he knows what kinda' people we are. We're bastards, darlin', so y'can either sit here with us an' be a bastard too, or you can go down with the sinkin' ship. But from where Ah'm sittin, two outta' three people at this table have a plan."

One of Kain's brows lift up as he wonders aloud, "Do the math, but remember t'show yer work."

Nicole doesn't seem to notice the way Logan's eyes grow brighter, how he manipulates her. She's too busy studying the end of her cigarette and the way the smoke billows up from the burning cherry, weaving delicate and intricate patterns that she disrupts and disperses with a slow exhale. "I never meant…" She tries to defend herself, to make it sound as though she didn't actually think ill of the two men at the table. In a sense, she doesn't, but in a sense she does.

Kain hits the mark with his words. The fabrication of a plausible scenario resonates deep within Nicole, and she abandons her cigarette to the bottom of the empty wine glass in favour of bringing both hands up to cover her face when fat tears starts to run down her cheeks. "No. No. He wouldn't have lied to me about that. He knows how important Colette is to me. He would never have allowed me to abandon her if he knew." The fact that she considers allowing her whole life to be suppressed and altered for the sake of Daniel Linderman's goals to have been abandoning her sister speaks to whom she squarely places the blame on. Herself.

Even with her face hidden, the two can picture the way Nicole's brows come together, the face she makes when the wheels are turning and she's trying to work something through. With his vast resources, how could Linderman not have known a girl matching Colette's description was admitted to the hospital? How could he not have known she was alive when Colette awoke and asked for her sister? How could he not have done something to assure her comfort and safety, even if he could not have afforded to pull Nicole out from her cover?

A miserable squeak emits from the back of Nicole's throat. She doesn't quite break down entirely, at least, but it takes her a few moments more to regain anything resembling composure.

There is a curl to Logan's lip as Nicole breaks, enough to show a sliver of tooth, even if she doesn't completely shatter. Slight disapproval, in the way one might criticise an actor for overdoing it — but not for Nicole's performance, which is stella, but Kain's. While her face is hidden, he turns that startling green glance to Kain as he leans back into his chair again, a shaped eyebrow raising like are you certain that was the best idea you've ever had before he brings filter-end of cigarette back to the corner of his mouth, the play of smoke in the air in and out between his teeth.

Certainly doesn't speak right now, leaving the floor open. Sips his gin instead, and keeps a check on Nicole's neurotransmitters as well as the general vicinity with the sweep of his almost-lambent gaze.

"Ah' think Ah'll be moseyin'," Kain breathes out the words, pushing his empty glass across the table, content to leave Logan with Nicole perhaps as some sort of parting gift, or punishing, he really isn't sure which fits best. "Ah' think y'see mah point. Ah' don' need you jumpin' t'no emotional conclusions 'bout what you do or do not wanna' do right now, but Ah' do want you t'think 'bout this here conversation, think about this that you're feelin' right now?"

Kain gets up from his chair and pushes it aside, watching Nicole quietly for a moment before offering a look to Logan, shrugging his shoulders helplessly in a way that people who are making things up as they go along are wont to do. "You remember how this feels, an' then you decide whether or not it ain't worth carvin' out a sliver of the pie before it gets thrown in the trash."

Reaching into his suit jacket, Kain pulls out a money clip, slides out a twenty and tosses it down onto the table. Tip, solely, Linderman employees don't pay for their drinks.

Hands transition from hiding her entire face to instead simply covering her mouth with one while the other carefully wipes away running mascara with the pad of her thumb. Nicole props her elbow on the table, head propped against her hand still and the opposite comes to wrap across her midsection.

Kain Zarek's definitely given Nicole Nichols something to dwell on as she tries to justify whether it's time to let go, or go down with the ship. "Keep in touch," she murmurs to the departing man. A half-hearted demand.

Still in shock, Nicole turns her muted gaze to the glass where her cigarette lays smouldering, as if trying to decide whether or not it's worth retrieving.

By the time Kain has left the area, Logan has made good work of his drink, enough that, in gentle and unthreatening movements, he reaches across to take the half-emptied glass of filthy martini for himself, picking at the end of the stalk that holds olives all clustered together like spider eggs, twirling it within the clear, poison-tasting mix, stirring oil to surface like ocean filth.

She's allowed to be shocked. For as long as Logan doesn't get to say anything. By the time the waiter is cruising back up to pluck away Kain's tip, take orders as delivered in Logan's velvety cockney mutter, and return, twin shots of tequila are set down on the pristine table cloth. Both of which are for her.

Two for the road.

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