What You'll See In Me


nicole3_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title What You'll See In Me
Synopsis Ryans pays a visit to Nicole and discovers what it's like to catch her on… Let's call it an off day.
Date May 4, 2011

Solstice Condominiums: Nicole Nichols' Home

He hadn't planned to be standing there.

In front of the door of a woman that is — was? supposed to be Benjamin Ryans' wife in the future. Supposedly. He currently stands there with knuckles poised over the wood of the door, hesitating. He might quite possibly rethinking this idea. Pondering maybe just turning around and heading back from where he came from.

However, he even hesitates there. What the hell was he doing? He is too old to be acting like some nervous teenager meeting a cute girl.

So knuckles rap hard against the the door and he waits. When she opens the door, she'll find a slightly scruffy Ryans in his dark hoodie and jeans. Lanky lengths of hair brushing his forehead, over eyes that can't quite hold the nervousness he's feeling.

It isn't much like Nicole to take a day off, but she has. Just a businesswoman and her BlackBerry.

And a bottle of red wine.

Okay, an empty bottle, and one half-finished. But this is the perk of taking the day off. Even if you're going to take your work home with you, there's nothing that says you can't get a little drunk while checking your e-mail and new alerts. You just give yourself a rule like 'if I can't recite the Gettysburg Address from memory without slurring, I'm not allowed to reply to an e-mail. No matter how important it is. Because I am out of the office anyway.'

"Four score and seven yearssss…" Nicole looks up from her BlackBerry and whatever e-mail she's thinking about responding to when the knock comes at her door. The phone is set aside on the coffee table, exchanged for the half-full bottle of merlot, fingers wrapping around its body as she heads (weaves) to answer the door.

"Robert," she chimes before she gets her hand on the handle, hefting wine to toast accomplishment, "did I, or did I not tell you that I have things totally under con-" Except when she unlatches the chain and the deadbolt retracts from the post, it isn't Robert Caliban on the other side of the door at all. "…Ben."

Whoa. Hey. Wait. Try that again. "Ben!" Much cheerier. Better. The bottle of wine is hidden behind her back until she realises just how silly that is, because of course he just saw her holding the green glass aloft in triumph. A smile is quick, only a touch perplexed, then she gestures - wine in hand - for the man to step inside the apartment. "Won't you come in?"

The apartment is clear of clutter, save for a couple magazines on the coffee table with the empty bottle (Forbes, Vogue), and the corkscrew left out on the kitchen island with skewered corks left to lay. The furniture is black and white, 50's inspired affairs. The kitchen all granite counters that shine from recent cleaning. The hardwood floors have been recently swept. "I didn't expect… you," is honest, if somewhat halting in admission. Nicole shrugs her shoulders, "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"I should have called," is admitted in a soft rumble upon spotting the shine of green glass, his gaze going right to it. There is no real judging there, he drinks… maybe not to that excess. Yet, Ben feels even more awkward now about coming to see her. "I apologizes for showing up like this. After the other day…" He trails off, head tucking down a little. Self conscious.

There is hesitation at the door, by the tall man with eyes shifting to look within the apartment. "I thought I would check in on you." They might not be married, might not have been meant to meet yet, but… her reaction to Ingrid's rejection worried him. Strangers or not.

He starts to step in hesitating again in the doorway, he studies her for a long moment, even looking at the bottle again, before adding, "I can come back another time if you'd like." Even someone like Ryans can have a moments of doubt and anxiety.

"No, please… Stay." Nicole presses her lips together and stares down at her feet, suddenly self-conscious of her lounge shorts and tank top. "I'm glad that you came by." Her gaze lifts to settle on his face again.

"I'm a little drunk." Blunt. Honest. A little ashamed. "But… I can share. If you want some." Nicole holds out the bottle, brows up as she offers. "I'm here by myself anyway. And it blows."

"I couldn't tell." It's a joke, flatly delivered even though he has an amused little smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. He steps in the rest of the way, hand snagging the edge of the door and slowly shutting it, leaving them alone… in her place. And she's a bit drunk.

Benjamin is very aware of this.

So it doesn't take much thought for him to decided on the the drink. "I think this time I will pass on the drink." Ryans moves into her apartment slowly, noting the difference in decor from the home he once had. "This time." It's added as an after thought, so that she does know that he does drink. "If there is a next time." Turning he gives her a faint smile.

"I wanted to see how you were holding up since we saw Ingrid," Ben's tone hold the edge of a question there, finally turning to face her from her living room. A single brows ticks up as if to ask if she is holding up.

Nicole has the good sense to lock the door in Ryans' wake before she pads to the kitchen and sets the bottle on the island, leaning her back against it as she watches passively the man's assessment of her home.

Fingers rake through dark locks absently, leaving her hair a mess. She doesn't realise. "I feel really bad for her. And I wonder how bad I fucked up that she…" Nicole stares off down the hallway, because she can't look at the man when she's got that much anguish evident in her electric blue eyes.

"I had to raise Colette… And I fucked that up. And then I apparently just keep that trend of fucked up parenting going. Real encouraging for me in the future." She lowers her head then, a rueful smile at her own expense. "How do you think I should feel about that?"

He stand there, doesn't follow. Not really moving except to follow her progress, turning a little if he needs to. Benjamin knows of Colette, though the teenager always seemed to flee anytime he was about. "I guess I can't blame you." His head nods slowly.

"I can't help but wonder what sort of father I must have been…" He finally starts treading towards the kitchen, tucking hands into the pockets of the hoodie that he is currently sporting. "Not that I was in her life all that long." Ben actually feels a touch guilty about that. "I might have traveled a lot, but I did make certain to spend time with my girls.

"You shouldn't beat yourself up about it…" There is a significant look in her direction, as he halts on the other side of the island. "Maybe you'll be able to fix it this time around, if you become a mother."

"We were near campus at that restaurant when that student went kind of nuts and shot Elaine Darrow a couple months back. Ingrid and I." Nicole smiles, turning enough to properly face her visitor while she speaks. "I was stunned. She pulled me to the floor when the gunfire started. I took her home, and she lamented being a coward. She… obviously looks up to you. She didn't have anything to say about her mother."

Nicole's fingers close around the bottle, lifting it but not all the way just yet. "But her father… Well, she was very concerned that her daddy would be so disappointed in her." The smile that cracks then is genuine, and she meets Ryans' eyes again finally. "You wouldn't have been."

It's when he gives her that look that she just about brings the bottle to her lips, but thinks better of it at the last moment, setting it down and sliding it away. "It's really weird, isn't it? Knowing you're… supposed to be with someone in your future, and you don't even know them yet. It makes me wonder what the future me will see in you."

Nicole's eyes lid heavily, immediately regretting the words, or the order she's put them in, or the tone she's delivered them with, or just the whole observation in general. When she opens her eyes again, it's after a deep breath. "I already think I have a fairly good idea. You know what I mean."

"You're right." He starts gruffly, a small forced smile on his lips. "I have found myself wondering the same thing about you." At least he's honest about it. Though he doesn't respond to what she says about Ingrid and him. He files it away for the time being. "I'm not exactly a spring chicken here, despite the way I look." Meaning he doesn't understand why he got married again. "and I have no business even having another child."

Hand slide from pockets to rest lightly on the edge of the island's counter top, allowing him to lean some, Ryans' attention fully on the woman across from him. "But it's partially this future that has me standing here." Much like her, he's curious, about her. "Ignoring it would do no good and seems rather unfair to that young lady."

Nicole chuckles quietly. "You worry about your age… The first two men I fell in love with were about your age. Younger men or those my own age, in my experience," John Logan, "only lead to trouble." The smile then is a bit slow, more sure than it was before. "So your age was the first mystery I solved about what I might see in you.

"This is going to sound odd, but I want you to bear with me and remember that I am inebriated, so… cut me some slack." One finger is held up while the woman composes her thoughts. "I can see a great many reasons so far why I might like a man like you. But I have an unfair advantage. I've had Delia and Lu to tell me how marvellous you are." Her eyes keen, she glances about the room briefly before settling back on her visitor.

"I just don't know," Nicole confesses, "what you might see in me." Her head dips for a moment and for all that it should be demure, her smile tilts into a smirk that's just too sly for that.

There is probably more amusement in the older man's features then he planned as Nicole talks, his blue eyes roams over delicate features. There is a sort of wonder in them, maybe trying to figure out just that. What could he see in her. However, it may be more surprising to hear that his girls had good things to say.

He certainly didn't expect them too with the way they've been. Well… his youngest more then his ol— middle child.

"I — don't know." Ryans goes with being honest after a long moment of scrutiny. "To be honest…" he takes a deep breath and lets it out in a heavy sigh, shifting his weight so that he can lean a hip against the island, so that arms can cross. "I married a wonderful woman that gave me two beautiful girls. Her death about ruined me… I found myself waiting to die myself. Even threw myself into some… deadly situations…" Dam diving anyone? "In hopes of joining her."

He looks up, face showing barely hidden sorrow. "I have a hard time wrapping my head around taking that journey again. I still have a hard time getting over the first." To include some guilt when he sleeps with Lynette.

"I could write you a resume," Nicole teases. "I'm good with those." She crosses her side of the island to Ryans'. (A fitting metaphor?) "I feel… drawn to you. I don't know if I'm supposed to, or if it's all just in my mind." The smile is chased away, humour replaced by sombre admission. "And… You're catching me at a rare moment of utmost honesty that I will probably regret in a few hours when I've run out of wine, so please. Savour this." Only some humour. Dry, like the wine.

"Go out with me." Mouth pulls to one side, a shrug and an askance look. A why not? "I like dinner, and I like to dance. And we could do both at Grand Central Terminal if you would feel the most at ease there. I've got a boombox that just needs like… four D batteries and it'll last like… three hours?" Nicole's thumb is jerked back toward the hallway to some nebulous closet said boombox is likely tucked away into. "That's a lotta dancing."

He doesn't move as she approaches, standing his ground against this small woman… He won't be intimidated. Not that she's trying to be, but she's being forward enough he's tempted to step back. With her drinking, it might be smart, but… he stays. Right there.

A single brow ends up ticking up at the rather high school-ish delivery, followed by a rather amused smirk pulling up one side of his mouth. "Dinner and dancing?" The words rumbles softly, some hint of a chuckle to it. When was the last time he danced? He can't remember properly.

His gaze skates away to the counter where he's leaning, head tucking in a little, considering the offer. "Not Grand Central." He doesn't want people seeing that. There are enough rumors that will come from the kiss shared with Megan. "Unfortunately, we can not do this properly." Meaning a true date as some restaurant.

"That's okay," Nicole dismisses, leaning against the island without making any further moves to invade the man's personal bubble. "I can cook. We could do it here." She stops, squints. "Am I presuming too much? Being too forward? I do that sometimes."

Blue eyes roll skyward with a lift of shoulders. "I'm a bit of a shark. This is how I seal business deals. I just kind of say this is what we are doing, and then people just don't argue with me, and I get shit done. And…" Nicole sighs quietly, "This is definitely not a business transaction."

Something that she says has Ryans look back at her, though more out of the corner of his eye. Thoughtful. He might have just found one of the things that might have drawn him to her in future years. "It's okay." He offers gently, giving her a bit a of a smile. Nervous? Awkward?

"How about a tentative date of… next week?" Yes really. "It's hard to predict when my work will get in the way." Cause it really is hard to predict what might come his way. Not to mention…

Brows tip down and furrow a little at a sudden thought. But considering her state, he seems rather hesitant to mention the new form of flu. "I know you are…" drunk "not quite clear headed, but I should tell you. I found out that there are fourteen children that came back from the future." The subject shift might also be cause she's getting close and he's realizing things like how pretty those eyes are… and other thoughts.

Dear god, he's slipping backwards. He's always seen himself above such things. "Not just those we know about."

Her jaw drops a little bit at that number. Because fourteen is a little staggering. "Fourteen? …Just the one is ours, right?" Nicole waves off the notion quickly. If there were more, she would know, right? Right. "Wow. That's a… lot." And it's a little sobering, too. She drags the fingers of one hand through her hair and taps the nails of the other on the counter top.

"Who…" Then her hand drifts from her hair to her forehead. "A tall, red-haired prick, and his meat-head sidekick by any chance? They showed up here and carried Ingrid off. After knocking me senseless."

Jaws tighten a little as he moves to stand straight. Any amusement he felt slowly fades, but he attempts at least to relax a little. "More than likely," he says in a rumbled growl. Though who they are he has no idea running off that description. Tho' the one could very well be Walter.

"Ingrid, Benji and Kincaid are the only family I know that's come back." He can't help but watch the way her fingers brush at the hair. Fingers twitch and slowly arms unfold from across his chest. "Unfortunately, one of them has gone rogue.

"He's…" A hand lifts to brush fingers against hair messed up by fidgeting and tucks it gently behind her ear. "Benji brought a bunch of us together and told us he's doing something that could be a danger to people like me." Non-evolved. The words are out of place, with such a gentle action.

Nicole's mouth softens into a round little 'o' shape. Her eyes flicker to the movement of Ryans' hand as he tucks her hair away, then fixes on his face again. "Doing something? Like… like what?" The flu doesn't even enter into her mind. She doesn't know what should.

"Targeting people?" There's concern in her eyes then and her hand on the counter twitches once as though she might like to reach out and touch him in reassurance. But… Nicole stays her hand. "Tell me how I can help. I want to help."

"A decade from now the flu will mutate and cross into non-evolved." People like him. The hand falls away and he sighs, a short huffed sound of irritation. "Benji told us he's found a way to release it early.

It will be dealt with. Words Nicole's heard before. She looks unimpressed, as she always does when she's told there's nothing for her to concern herself with, but lets it go. "I appreciate that," is honest enough.

"If there's any way I am allowed to help…" Nicole takes a step back, for safety's sake, and holds up her hand. Miniature arcs of blue lightning dance between her splayed fingers, and her palm as she curls those fingers inward. The display fades when her fist closes. "I'm not helpless."

It's the first time Ryans has seen her ability… or even really had any clue what it was. There is a look of mild surprise and he catches at her wrist, fingers caging it gently, just after her hand curls into a fist. He manages to avoid a shock. His thumb, rough and callused slides up her wrist, nudging her fingers open. Maybe testing it in his own way.

"I wouldn't want to get on your bad side," Ben muses softly looking up at her. Then realizes what he's doing and lets her hand go slowly.

Though Benjamin does admit, "I think I'm starting to see it. What I might have seen in you."

Lashes flutter in surprise and Nicole stares down at where his larger hand is wrapped around her small wrist. There's no tell-tale tingling sensation when his thumb brushes over her palm and fingers to give away a residual charge. Just that her skin is warm. Which explains the shorts and tank top, more than likely.

"Is it stupid," she asks quietly, "that I worried you wouldn't see anything in me at all? Like this whole thing might have been some kind of misunderstanding or fluke?" Nicole darts her tongue between her lips, for all the good it's done her with her mouth gone dry. "In one of my dreams, there was- I saw a photo of me… And I was happy." She smiles, and sniffs once like she might be about to cry. The angle of her brows suggest as much as well. But there's something about her that gives the impress that she may stay just this side of composed. "I never look happy in photos. I've never…

"I've had a hard life. I'm sure you find that a little rich, coming from someone half your age." She shrugs. "But it's true. So if I have a shot at happiness with you?" Nicole shakes her head, and shrugs again. What'cha gonna do? "I'm gonna chase it down." She rolls her shoulders back, stands a little straighter, and sets her jaw. Dignity. She's gonna pretend she still has some. "Is that a problem?"

They way she does that. It's cute. Ben can admit that, just not out loud. But the smile might just suggest that. A real smile, not a faint thing that seems fragile. It's one that deepens the lines of his face, softens his features. "No," he says in a soft rumble. "Not a problem.

"Especially, if you looked happy. Who wouldn't want to pursue that? And I don't blame you for it." Ryans glances down and away, thoughtful. It's the first he's really heard of it after all. Maybe he's just not convinced he can make someone happy like that. "I can't decide how I feel about my part in all that."

He takes a step to the side, shoes scuffing on linoleum. "But the fact you may end up happy, gives me some hope that I don't screw up a second marriage." Ryans probably looks a little confused. It's not clear about what, maybe its the strange flutter he feels in his stomach, the faint feeling of being drawn to her.

Ben glances at the bottle this time, before her. "I should get going." It's sudden and out of the blue.

"I think that means you really don't want to go."

Nicole slaps a hand over her mouth. Internal monologue. Four score, and seven years before you actually say the things that are on your mind! Red floods into her face as she looks toward the clock. Her hand lifts again. "It's so late. Will you get back to… wherever before curfew?"

Worried eyes settle on Ryans. "You could… stay."

Benjamin doesn't tell her if she's right or wrong on the point of wanting to stay. "'ll be fine." How many time will he say those words to her in the future? Or in that one. "Besides." He reaches over to pluck up the bottle, before arching a curious brow at her while holding it up. "This says I shouldn't stick around."

The green glassed bottle is offered to her with a touch of a mischievous smirk. "I wouldn't want to ruin things, before they have a chance to become something," The look on his face says he's not serious. "Like taking advantage of a lovely lady while intoxicated." He's not the type really.

A sharp look is leveled on Ryans. He maybe unwittingly struck a nerve. She takes the bottle back and crosses through the kitchen to put a stopper in it and put it in her fridge, finding a place on one of the mostly bare shelves. "I don't do anything I don't want to do." Nicole angles a look back over her shoulder before she turns and puts her back to the fridge.

"I'm not fragile. I'm not weak. Sober or drunk." It sounds a lot like I can quit any time I want.

Nerve struck or not, he's standing by what he says it still. "I never said you were weak, Nicole." Ryans points out. "Nor fragile." He watches her, taking a few more steps away from the counter. "I just think the proper thing for me to do is to leave. Give us a shot at this date." Give him a chance to collect his thoughts and muse over what he knows.

A reassuring smile is offered, though it seems a touch forced. Ben softly offers as explanation, "And even you said you felt drawn to me. I'd rather not jump anymore steps then have already been," he finally admits.

"I'm sorry," Nicole murmurs, ashamed of herself for snapping at him like that. For the second time tonight she stares down at her feet. But without lifting her head, she looks up at him. "Call me." And she flips him a smile on his way out the door. "Good night, Ben."

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