Waiting For Ulterior Motives


elisabeth2_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Waiting for Ulterior Motives
Synopsis Sometimes it's hard to believe there aren't any.
Date June 3, 2019


She's not an employee, but it's not hard to determine a name. By now, the blonde is a familiar enough sight in various places in the building, though — Elisabeth Harrison is in and out of both the business areas and the living areas of Raytech. Anyone in the complex can tell you she's 'the boss's girlfriend' or some variation of those words, and even now years later, information on her is publicly accessible. The opinions range widely, though she has no idea what people are saying.

Whatever it is she does with her days, today finds her sitting in one of the more casual seating areas on the mezzanine that overlooks the courtyard at the center of the complex. She's got a tablet that she seems to be reading — at least some of the time — with a cup of coffee and a binder sitting on the small table with her. As he enters the area, blue eyes immediately seek him out and settle on him, as if she knew he was coming. She's not particularly easy to sneak up on, if one were trying, but there's a hint of wariness as she studies him. And then Elisabeth nods a greeting, her body language easing as she acknowledges his presence. "Morning," she greets pleasantly.

"Oh. Morning." Surprise threads its way through Zachery's tone of voice, though it's no less friendly for it. Or, at the very least, forced to sound friendly in a convincing enough way. His unfamiliarity with the workplace still practically drips off of him in the way he peers all around him on his way into the area, taking the place in as if it's still his first day here. Granted, only having the one eye to do said peering with somewhat exaggerates the act.

He approaches the mezzanine railing and clasps both hands onto it to look out over the courtyard proper — he is, notably, not wearing the blue stint that was on his left hand since his first day here. His gaze doesn't leave the grounds below as he asks, "You ever wish you smoked? If you don't. That might be an odd question, come to think of it. You'd think I'd have picked it up by now."

Elisabeth quirks a brow and comments mildly, "Not really … though I've been known to do it when food is short." Appetite suppressant qualities allowing her to hand her rations off to her daughter when it was desperate. "Never was a fan, though." She leans back in her chair and picks up her coffee to sip from it as she watches him. "I suppose you could pick it up if you really felt the need. But… if you haven't up to this point, it seems rather late in the game to really consider it as a 'just because' sort of vice," she points out lightly. "Unless you're looking for an in with a particular person you're attracted to — I suppose I could see it then. But …" She shrugs slightly.

If she thinks his awkward attempt at conversation is strange, she doesn't seem to be giving it too much worry. She's more curious. "I'm Liz, by the way. Nice to meet you."

For all of the words he gets back, Zachery remains silent for a while. Listening, his right hand tightening around the metal railing in front of him as he twists around to look back over his shoulder with a look of intrigue on his face.

"Oh, I know who you are." He smirks, though with some amount of weariness behind it. "Come to think of it, it might've been terribly rude of me not to have introduced myself before — unless we're both already in the know and these are just pleasantries." The concept of which he seems somehow amused by, and he lets the possibility hang in the air between them.

That single eyebrow quirks at him again. "I'm not in the habit of playing with people, so… no, we're not both in the know." Elisabeth is a little puzzled by him and the fact that he's intrigued by something she said isn't missed. Tipping her head, she offers, "I don't think you were rude — but I have to admit now I'm wondering why you think I should already know…"

"Well, that's unfortunate. And a little awkward." Shifting his weight, Zachery turns to face Elisabeth fully, leaning back against the railing. "I just figured, boss' girlfriend and all — " His mouth is still open, but he pauses nonetheless. Only to add in a slightly more reserved tone, after a brief glance sideways and up, "I guess I've worked in environments where things were a little more… tightly supervised, shall we say. The name's Zachery. Fresh intern. Specialty: making a fool of myself."

He grins, head tilting back a little - there's no shame on his face at his own assessment.

Elisabeth mulls over the wording there, and then she grins slightly. He'd be very surprised at how well supervised the campus is, if no one's already informed him. She won't be the one who does. "Well… boss's girlfriend doesn't run around with a roster of Raytech employees. Little busy learning the files of my own soon-to-be subordinates," she replies easily, tapping the tablet's screen lightly with a fingernail. "Very nice to meet you, Zachery."

She gestures to the table. "You're welcome to take a seat if you're craving a little company." The offer is accompanied with a questioning look. "Do you mind if I ask why you're interning for us instead of taking on a full position? Or are you just trying us out for now to see if it's a good fit?"

Though the grin remains, Zachery does look, for a moment, a little pained. A hand comes up to rub at the side of his neck, and at the offer of taking a seat, he hesitates.

And then… pushes away from the railing anyway, moving unhurriedly to the table with a chuckle that leaves him a little nervously. "I, ah - yeah. That might've been a mistake on my part, actually. I'm not really… used to job interviews. Previously I've just sort of gotten… scooped up." He doesn't sound proud of this, swallowing hard as he sits down across from Elisabeth, but looks down at his hands finding each other on the table top, fingers weaving together. "Nor did I expect to just be able to walk in and - get hired. Just like that."

With his name now known and those details, Elisabeth does have an idea who he is now. But she simply nods slightly. "It's funny, sometimes, how things work out. The right person in the right moment, dropping a word or pointing the way can change someone's whole trajectory. It's happened to me more than once," she admits. "What is it that you do?" She isn't trying to interrogate him, simply making conversation more than anything. Though she is admittedly curious about him, now that she realizes he's the person who was sent by a stranger.

A pensive look downward is all that Elisabeth gets out of Zachery, at least until the question reaches his ears. This brings his attention back up to her, as one of his hands rubs at his face — a little too hard, probably, fingertips digging into the eyelid below off-white ocular implant without thought.

"I… don't know how to answer that one." His grin flares up again, though it dies back down just as easily. "I just recently quit my excuse for a job at Elmhurst Hospital. But I'm not sure that's what you mean."

"Well," Elisabeth muses thoughtfully. "I guess mainly I just wondered what your profession and skillset are." She leans forward on the table, offering gently, "After you introduced yourself, I realized why you thought I might know your name at least… Richard did mention you. Said that a friend had sent you. Generally speaking, we're pretty big believers in the idea that people usually wind up exactly where they're supposed to be at any given moment. Especially when strangers come out of the blue and send them." Her smile holds amusement. "Which… tells me that you're supposed to be here for some reason, even if we don't know what it is, and it's probably important." She shrugs. He can take her viewpoint for whatever he thinks it's worth — but she genuinely seems to believe what she says to him.

If nothing else, Zachery looks skeptical. And like he's trying to fight back a very strong urge to argue against some of these beliefs. But instead, he straightens, and does not.

He revisits a question, instead. "I suppose I see myself as a medical doctor, first. Even if other things have been layered on top of it, and I haven't been able to stretch my legs in that aspect for a…" Again, his attention wanders, this time upward, before it snaps back to Elisabeth. "For a decade or so." This leaves him like it physically hurts a little, his shoulders rolling forward. "Things get in the way, as they do. Not for lack of effort."

Nodding slightly, Elisabeth considers his words. "I'm sorry," she says sincerely. "That can't be easy to handle. I've… lost a career that I loved too." She pauses and then says, "Sometimes you can get it back, but… I wouldn't presume to know enough about your circumstances to hold out the platitude. I hope that you find what you do here to be satisfying," she offers. She doesn't want to hurt him by making him talk about things that hurt him, so instead she asks, "If we can help you find a way to do what you love most, I hope you'll say something."

Zachery's face doesn't quite seem to know what to do with itself - stuck somewhere between that grin from earlier and a hard sort of… incredulousness. This is not a situation he's been in before. It may be proving a little hard to compute. "… I'll give it some thought. I have… some ideas," he finally admits, shifting his weight as he leans back in his seat, "but they're not exactly intern material."

"No one said you had to remain an intern, did they?" Elisabeth asks in a practical tone. "I think if you wanted to lay out your skills, something a better fit could be found than simple intern work." She's unsure whether he's incredulous that she's saying this or if it's something else. A mental note gets made to check up on his background — he is, after all, working in Raytech where her family is. But we've got a good security team, so a background check should have already been managed. "Look… I'm not anyone in the hierarchy of this company," she tells him evenly. "But I can tell you this much. The people who run this company, they are all about giving people a chance to … do what they love, redeem themselves if that's what they're trying to do, and otherwise just… trying to make this a good place to be. They're willing to take a chance on people. So… speak up. All they can really say is 'no thanks, we don't need that.'"

Whatever the reason is, the look of disbelief on Zachery's face lingers, like he's having some trouble shaking it. But he's listening, still, hands pulled closer until they fall into his lap while his eye searches Elisabeth's face for something.

The last of his visible amusement ebs away entirely before he says, matter-of-factly, "Regardless of hierarchy, you've been very… sincere. This seems to be a running theme here."

It makes the blonde snicker. "Thank you… I think?" Elisabeth's grin is genuinely amused by his rather flabbergasted reaction. "Are people not sincere with you very often?" She shakes her head a little. "It's very easy to be… suspicious of everyone these days and very… cautious about offering someone an opening through which they can hurt you, financially or personally." There's a slow shrug. "I'm trying to back off that mindset a little. So… yay! I guess I'm making progress?"

She seems a little pleased with herself and maybe even a little bit awkward about the fact that it just happened that way. She doesn't think what she did was all that special — just talking to someone honestly. "I guess we've all got our own damage, hmm?"

A knitting of Zachery's brow is all that's given in response to the question of sincerity, though his mood does seem to lift a little afterward, complete with a sort of absentminded curl at the corners of his mouth. "I suppose we do. Maybe we'll both figure it out still. Tell you what, you keep working on that, and I'll try to… make some words happen. In the direction of maybe… establishing myself as more than just an intern." He gestures vaguely, and gets up from his seat. A little more quietly but no less genuinely, he adds quickly, "Also, thank you."

Watching him thoughtfully, Elisabeth's nod is slow. "If it helped somehow… you're welcome." There's an uncertainty to her gaze, like she's not sure what to make of him, but her smile is gentler than her reputation might suggest. "I really hope you like it here."

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