Two Men And A Kitten


graeme_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Two Men And A Kitten
Synopsis Graeme stops over to visit Richard, catches him up on family business, and coos over a kitten.
Date March 17, 2018

Raytech Branch Office: CEO's Office

A large double-window along one wall of Richard Ray's office allows natural light to spill in throughout the office and provides an excellent view of the green roof on the lower floor of the building, the flowered garden spreading out between rows of solar panels.

The walls of the office are in slate grey, the carpeting on the floor matching, and the furniture is all in black glass, metal, and leather - but the modern starkness is offset by the tall potted plants that grow along the side of the room opposite the window. The CEO's desk is a broad affair in black glass with a video feed and touch-screen built into the surface of the desk itself, the non-interactive portions of the desk decorated sparsely with a plastic 'in' and 'out' box, a framed picture of Elisabeth Harrison, and an old onyx chess king set beside it like reminders of times long past.

It's only half-planned when Graeme tends to stop by, by virtue of the fact that phone service in the Skinny Brickfront is still non-existent. Every once in a while, Graeme wanders over to Raytech, which at least is less unscheduled than his trips out to the bunker used to be, every so often during the war. And unlike the distances he travelled then, it's a short walk, and an even shorter distance on a skateboard. Which the teacher still rides, although now that he's pushing towards forty it's a little less cool than it used to be.

Moreover, he's dropped by less the past months, while he was busy spending every waking hour that he wasn't working remodeling. Now, however, there's time in his day again.

Which is why he's got a large bag of takeout from Red Hook (that will need to be reheated) in the hand that isn't carrying the skateboard and has made his way to Raytech. The receptionist has probably warned Ray that he's coming, by now, but Graeme doesn't tend to take 'wait in the lobby' as an answer. He does, however, at least knock softly on the wall (not the door; Graeme rarely if ever knocks on the glass of the door) in order to announce his presence. "Hey," he calls out. "Care for company?"

There’s more security than Graeme remembers when he arrives; there’s guards posted inside the doors, decked out in the latest in Raytech’s security gear, and after checking in at the desk one of them actually escorts the man all the way to the CEO’s office door.

“Come in,” Richard calls out from inside, sweeping a hand over the black glass of his desk to turn off the display hidden within it before pushing himself up to his feet. Black suit, the tie tucked in a drawer somewhere for more formal clients, an easy smile curving to his lips. There’s a cardboard box near the desk, within which something unseen is rustling around.

Graeme's dressed casual, although not too much so. Jeans, button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up, sneakers, in an attempt to be more relatable to his college students from the class in the morning.

The security escort gets a nod, although the entire thing has a bit of a raised brow that becomes a furrow as he thinks about it.

Skateboard gets set just inside the door, bag of food on the near to him edge of the desk. "Sharp," he comments of the suit. "You had a meeting today or something?" Teasing aside, there's a grin at the other man. "I think I remembered the order this time." Not that he's forgotten it recently. If anything he tends to simply order too much, or everything that a given food vendor offers at the time. "Looks good around here," he adds, and then the box catches his eye, and the rest of the greetings are forgotten momentarily.

“Funny,” Richard chuckles at that, spreading his hands, “If I try and walk around the facility in civvies, my sisters give me this look. How people survived their whole life with family, I have no idea.” Good humored, all the same, “And thanks. We try to keep the place welcoming and clean and all - we’ve got the best janitor in the world.”

The box is still for a moment… and then suddenly a tuft of reddish fur peeks up over the edge as a kitten tries to hop out and explore. Tries, and fails, thumping back to the bottom of the box.

Graeme was expecting… something, from the box. A kitten was clearly not what he was expecting, though, and he nods. "The worst public facing thing I have to deal with is college students, not usually too bad. And we finished up the painting and even most of the furniture assembly over at the brickfront, so that's moving along."

"It's a thing how the absence of something illuminates the presence all the more," Graeme agrees. "Keira's in town again, by the way. Since I doubt she made a point of letting you know."

"You have a kitten." Matter-of-factly stated, despite the fact that the lunch he's brought is now ignored (and Graeme rarely if ever ignores food) in favour of crouching down next to the box so that he can reach in and pet the kitten with a few fingers. "Thor is going to think I'm the biggest traitor in the world," is mostly directed at the kitten, although the actual content of the statement is for Richard.

“I’m deeply jealous. I hate public appearances,” admits Richard, and then a single brow lifts at the mention. He pauses, something cautious in his expression, “Is she? Has she… ah, moved away from her previous… associations, I hope?”

When last he saw her, after all, she was running with Humanis First! without even realizing it.

The kitten is, it seems, extraordinarily happy to meet a new person. A happy little purr from the tiny, reddish feline that rubs against those fingers, clearly no more than a month old yet. There’s a soft blanket in the box, and a few cat toys scattered about for his amusement.

"The rest of it I get to hide behind phone calls and emails," Graeme says, chuckling a little. And continuing to pet the kitten, because who can resist purring kittens? "Raytech should make a better self scooping litter box," he says, and then lifts his shoulders in a shrug. "That doesn't need to plug in and whatever."

"I… hope so? I think so?"

Finally, Graeme finishes petting the kitten for the moment, sits down on one of the chairs to take out the containers of food, separating them into three groups as he does so. One of which is all of the various appetizers, spring rolls and wontons and some other sorts of dumplings and scallion pancakes, set out in the middle. "Ironically enough," Graeme's tone is dry, "turns out that she's Evo too."

"Really?" Richard blinks over— and then barks out a laugh. "Well, that must've been a fuckin' shock for her…"

He drops back down into his seat and scoots it forward, reaching out for a package of chop-sticks and peeling the paper off, shaking his head, "How'd she take it all?"

The kitten, left alone, looks up sadly for a few moments at the withdrawn hand. Then turn-tumbles around in the blanket and— ohmygodit'satoy. He pounces it, and there's a jangle of a bell in the box.

"Well, she seems to have gotten over it," Graeme says, "but it was… kind of impressive, actually. And apparently a few years ago, though I hadn't heard anything about it. We'd kept in touch, kind of… like. Awkward family keeping in touch calling on birthdays and Christmas, not real keeping in touch."

A shrug follows, and Graeme indelicately takes a few of the wontons, eating them one at a time at least, and there's a slow breath out in between.

"If I may," he notes, as though that has ever stopped him from offering his frank opinions in the past. Although he does at least have the grace to do so in private. "Your lobby gives off the impression right now that you're expecting trouble, Richard." He raises a brow, and then asks, "So, are you?"

“Oh, yes…” Richard leans back in his chair with a wonton, gesturing with it towards the other man, “Precognitive vision. Men in black masks, storming the front doors, murdering everyone. You know— “ Deadpan, “— the usual. So I’ve upped security a bit in the hopes of averting it.”

He shrugs one shoulder, “Hopefully it will. I’ve got way too much work to do to up and die now.” He’s taking this altogether too well, at least outwardly.

"Just…" Graeme pauses, and the next wonton is eaten more thoughtfully, containers are opened, food dished out. Standard the usual lunch routine, except for the whole prophesy thing.

"Try not to die, yeah? I'd hate to lose a friend." And while he doesn't make friends easily, these days he does count Richard amongst them. "Really though— the problem with the future is that there's always another one. I know, you know, but don't let the caution open up some worse can of worms."

Graeme grins, and notes, "Seriously. Self scooping litter box that contains the litter from spreading around the house. It might not be bad with a kitten but eventually that kitten is going to be a cat and you're going to sit on the couch and wonder, how did that cat litter get there." Doom and gloom are hard to be annoyed by when there's kittens, really, as Graeme watches the fuzzball play with the toy.

"Exactly. So I'm not going too overboard, plus… I'm rather curious who my would-be assassins are," Richard muses, reaching over for a container of rice and drawing it over to his side of the desk, "I almost get the feeling they're trying to grab Jared of all things, from the vision…"

Then he's chuckling even as the chopsticks spear into the rice, "Well, I'm sure Warren could invent a better litter box if I asked him to…"

The kitten tumbles and rolls around with the jangling bell-hearted ball, which of course rolls around when batted. It really is hard to get all doom and gloom with that going on.

That gets a furrow of brow. "And it'd be unlike Jared to accept an additional security detail." Although Graeme phrases it in a way, and it sounds like a good idea. "Maybe just until you have a better idea of the… context." He shrugs, a faintly wistful expression crossing his face as his gaze goes over the picture of Liz.

As though the teacher doesn't keep the letter in his wallet in his pocket. As though for a moment over seven years might as well be yesterday.

But then, in between bites of orange chicken, Graeme reaches down to scritch the kitten, and toss the ball to be chased to the other side of the blanket. "How did you end up with a kitten anyway?"

“It’s a funny story, really,” admits Richard, motioning with the chopsticks towards the box where the kitten’s romping about, “Ingrid Ryans shows up at the lobby with a kitten, and basically hurled it at me.”

Wry, “I caught him, so she said it was fate and left, and lo, I had a kitten.”

He points back at Graeme with the chopsticks, “The Ryans clan are crazy. Always remember that.” He says it in good humor, at least.

"It's good to know I come by it honestly," Graeme says, shaking his head a moment. "And I mean. I can think of people I've met who probably wouldn't have caught the kitten." They probably both can, and without the two lists overlapping very much.

"But they're hardly worth referring to as people."

"Plus," Graeme adds, "animals make life better." I mean, case in point, as the kitten catches the ball and wrestles with it. "As far as trouble goes," he says, "we're just down the street if you ever need." He hopes slightly. "Need to see about getting service to be more… reliable there. But either way."

“Right? It’s not fate, it’s just, I mean, someone dropped a kitten, I wasn’t going to not catch it,” Richard waves the chopsticks around, “Seriously, Graeme, that side of your family, complete lunatics. I mean, they’re good people, don’t get me wrong.” A mouthful of rice, chew, swallow, “Good people, but absolutely nuts.”

He smiles, though, as he looks over to the box. “Can’t say that he hasn’t grown on me, though,” he confesses, “Don’t tell Ingrid, she’d be insufferable.”

Back over, he admits, “So we’ve been throwing around some ideas for helping the district, rebuilding and all - you have any ideas?”

"More sidewalk repair, clearance, et cetera," Graeme points out. "People want to be able to just… walk in the neighbourhood. Ygraine and I have been talking about it a lot too, over dinner and now that we've got our own building safe and such." Graeme grins. "Now I've got time in my day and not a much of a clue what to do with it." Which considering that he only sleeps two hours, adds up to a lot of time. "And I've been thinking I could probably get a skate park set up in one of the vacant lots. They're not going build on them any time soon. Not out here."

He grins at the kitten. "So what'd you name him," comes as a question. A half-question, at least.

"A lot of it out here, people feel like they're not a priority to… the bigger players. So making sure they know that they're a priority, for Liberty, for Raytech… that will go a long way." It's only partially the whole pr talk bit.

“So, general community outreach, maybe we can get Warren to make some clean-up robots or something,” Richard muses, “Cut down on the manpower necessary to help with that— infrastructure’s a priority of course but it’ll take awhile, we’re neither the government nor a charity after all. If we get a government contract we’ll have a lot of freedom to help out with that, though.”

A smile tugs up at the corner of his lips, “A skate park and such we can probably manage.”

The kitten, he glances over, “Oh, I didn’t introduce you— I named him Richelieu.”

"Maybe not," Graeme says to the mention of charity, "but if they feel like you're on their side, they're more likely to buy things, more likely to choose to take their business here. More likely to apply to work here, whatever have you. It's good for business too." And his logic is sound, likely echoing what has been said by countless others.

"The French bishop?" is the question that follows after a few moments. After all, Graeme teaches English, not history. Although it seems like the name is met with general approval, certainly with a grin.

“The French Cardinal,” Richard corrects with a laugh, hands spreading to either side with chopsticks still in one hand, “I think he’s fictional, though, Three Musketeers and all. It’s kind of a double reference, since it’s kind of like Richard, too. So, Richard Cardinal the kitten - Richelieu.” A dumpling’s seized between the chopsticks, his head bobbing in an understanding nod with the first point.

“Oh, agreed. I think community outreach and all is a grand idea,” he admits, “Do you think you and Ygraine would be willing to act as — neighborhood reps, basically? Get a feel for what’s going on, relay any problems they have with anything we’re doing, and such?” A bite of the dumpling’s taken, savoured with relish.

"Enough fictional characters are amalgamations of actual occurrence though," Graeme muses. "And yeah. I'll bring it up and ask, but I don't see why not." The second half of the container of beef broccoli is taken and dumped onto Graeme's rice, and he eats thoughtfully. "Truth be told, we'd likely hear about it anyway, and I don't see it as particularly a conflict of interest given that it ends in benefit that isn't directly to Liberty."

“Hell, you could even spin it as part of Liberty’s whole schtick,” Richard suggests, pausing to devour the dumpling before continuing, “Making sure this big evil corporation is really doing the right thing for the evolved peoples of Jackson Heights and all.” He grins, “Not a conflict of interest there. Anyway— pass the beef broccoli. How has Liberty been doing?”

Luckily for both of them, there is another container of beef broccoli, because Graeme looks at the container he was holding and doesn't pass it over. He passes over the full container, instead.

"We're doing pretty good, I think."

"It's slow going sometimes, and there's red tape, and most of it is just me making sure that I get things out there so that we can make mission in the best way possible." And then, there's a pause, and more gently and quietly, Graeme adds, "You're doing a good job of not being evil, Richard." A bit of a grin. "And so's the whole corporation thing."

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