Word Of A Stranger


elisabeth_icon.gif graeme_icon.gif

Scene Title Word of a Stranger
Synopsis Elisabeth tries to hit on Graeme, but they end up talking instead.
Date February 5, 2011

Dorchester Towers: Lobby

Pale, odd light from the streetlamps shines into Dorchester's already well-lit lobby, but aside from skeletal staff maintained in the lobby at the late hour, past ten, it's empty. That is, aside from Graeme, whose pacing at interesting hours, roaming the gardens, the lobby, is simply something that the doorman puts off to eccentricity — he's not the only person to ever pace, but it's less frequent these days, with curfew, martial law, everything.

For the moment, the man is leaning against an empty wall that gives him a good vantage point over the lack of happenings; dressed in jeans so worn they might as well be ancient, a gray teeshirt, a leather belt, and suede slippers that resemble boots. He leans against a wall, occasionally tapping at a tablet in his hand, earphones leading from the tablet but only one of them actually in.

The blonde coming in the front door, dressed black-on-black in cargo pants, combat boots, a heavy winter coat, and a fleece headband to keep her ears warm, is stripping gloves off her hands even as the doorman opens the door for her. "Miss Harrison," he greets neutrally as the blonde peels off the headband, sending her hair flying.

"Evening, John," she responds with a weary smile. That she doesn't have to show her ID and that the man doesn't see her arrival here after curfew as strange probably means that it happens often enough not to be remarkable to him.

Elisabeth walks toward the mailbox to fetch her personal mail before going upstairs.

Graeme raises eyebrows, tapping a few more times on the screen of the tablet before letting it drop, a shoulder strap on the heavily rubberised case ensuring that it actually just rests against his thigh as he ducks a nod of greeting to Elisabeth. He rocks on his heels a bit, looking perhaps positively energetic in comparison to the woman, or in comparison to most people up at this time.

Okay… it's perhaps a case of exhaustion that means the blonde didn't see him until the swing of the tablet caught her eye. Blue eyes turn to look at the man and she actually falters a step, her gaze sweeping the man himself before looking over the lobby. Brows pull together just slightly as her eyes come back to him. "You're puttering around awfully late in the lobby," Elisabeth observes mildly, unzipping her jacket as she speaks. A black pullover is exposed — she's very monochromatic tonight. "Is everything all right?"

The man chuckles a bit, as if Liz just said something rather funny. Well, to him it was, anyway. Graeme shakes his head, running a hand over his face, pushing back hair that couldn't get in his face to begin with. "Naw, I'm good." There's a slight drawl to his words, one that matches the tan that no one in New York manages without use of tanning beds because there just isn't that much sun. "Just awake still." A pause. "Pretty usual for me, really." He rocks on his heels once more, crossing one ankle over as he leans on the wall once more, assessing Elisabeth as he looks at her.

A single brow quirks upward and she considers the way he's looking at her. "Really," she comments drily. Glancing around the deserted lobby one more time, Elisabeth offers a faint half-smile. Good thing he's not a telepath, though she makes no attempt to hide the admiration of his very-fine form in a blatant perusal of him. "So…. what? You hang out in the lobby waiting on women to pass through to hit on?" she asks, amusement and skepticism warring for dominance in her expression. "Cuz… that's one hell of a dry spell you gotta be going through to resort to that in this town right now."

The look on Graeme's face is instantly bemused, and it should be just as obvious that hitting on was the last thing on his mind. In fact, most men would take her comments as an invitation for further, comments, but Graeme instead looks up at the ceiling, blinking a few times, with a bit of a grin. "I hang out somewhere that my restlessness isn't going to wake my roommate," he admits, turning his palms outwards with a bit of a shrug that makes the musculature of his chest and arms more apparent.

Elisabeth's amusement shifts a little, and she murmurs, "Well, hell…. can't blame a girl for trying, can you?" He's awfully hot. With eyes to die for. *sigh* Of course he's got a roommate. "New to the area?" she asks, turning now to head for the mailboxes and unlock hers. It's packed with crap, but as she flips through most of it, it goes in the junk bin nearby.

"That's what she said," Graeme says, with half a grin. "Or at least, what most of them say, that is." Those blue eyes glance back to Elisabeth, a generally bemused look on Graeme's face, lips twitching into a smile every so often. "Haven't been back long," he admits. "Martial law sucks. Especially for folk who don't sleep much." The silence that follows is wary, as if Graeme's possibly just said way too much.

"Yeah…. well, it pretty much sucks for those of us who have to enforce it too," Elisabeth admits. She drops the last of the junk mail into the bin, carrying all of three envelopes intended for her, and locks her box before turning to look at him. "And you're offering me eighty openings to ask why you don't sleep, and while I am dying to ask that question because you're hotter than words, my friend … I'm not going to because if the answer is something that's going to make me have to ask for a registration card, I just plain don't want to know if you have one or not." She grins, but it's a weary grin and she looks like she's not kidding about not wanting to have to know certain things. "So…. you said you had been a local? Whereabouts?" she asks instead.

"I have one either way," Graeme says, with a shrug. It's even in his pocket, along with an ID and a few small bills, things that he has decided are better not to even leave the apartment without. "As much as I might disagree with the principle…" he pauses, letting it trail off, and looking down at his feet as if doing so will disguise the fact that he's blushing. "I grew up in Manhattan," he says. "Left for New Mexico for college, got a job coaching high school soccer there, right after…"

Well, he offered it anyway, and it makes her relax just a little. Elisabeth says mildly, "Not sure whether to say welcome home or I'm sorry." The admission is hard. She's a born-and-bread New Yorker. But this isn't the place she called home. Not really. "What's brought you back?" she asks curiously. She leans back against the mailboxes across from him, letting her eyes roam over his very cute self.

In return, Graeme offers Elisabeth a slightly more confident smile, the bit of trepidation simply being that he's not really sure how to interact with someone, in the lobby, at a late hour, a time where social interaction isn't quite the norm. "District cut funding for the team," he says, a hint of bitterness in his voice. "I got one semester to stay on, and that was fall … and then I figured I'd get myself the hell out of there before some redneck decided to shoot me for everyone's own good or something." He grimaces, as if apologetic that the subject has turned so morose.

There's a twist of Elisabeth's lips. "Still not sure here's the place to get away from that," she comments bitterly. Her eyes shift sideways slightly. When they come back they're more shuttered. "Sorry to hear about your job," she offers. Perhaps a little lamely. Her initial almost-flirt seems to have slipped a bit.

"It's not so much for me I get pissed about what the district did," Graeme says, shrugging. "And here's as good a place as any. Even if…" Once more, Graeme offers Liz a bit of a smile, though it might be termed either shy or awkward. "I had business here, 'd been putting off, and then I figured I might as well stay." He bounces on his heels again, restless and very much not tired. "For now, it's as good a place as any." There's a pause. "You look like you had a long day." He sounds almost envious.

"Well," Elisabeth replies, her tone wearily amused again, "I've got a fucking dome turning Roosevelt Island and part of Queens into a goddamn snow globe and a buncha science geeks who can't figure out a fucking thing to do about it." She shrugs. "It's been a long week. Not the longest I've had, but … definitely ranking up there. I'll just be grateful if full-on riots don't break out before we can get it down." She doesn't sound hopeful.

Graeme winces in sympathy. "Yeah, I seem to have managed a hell of a time to come back, overall," he says. He counts on his fingers momentarily, without actually moving his hand. "Odds are you'll get riots first, unless it comes down real soon. There's only so long people can go in any form of social isolation before the basic structures break down and lead to chaos. Contagion theory." Oh dear, not only does he look hot, but he has a brain to boot. He grins a bit, looking down. "Um, sorry. My higher education is showing again."

Hawt. Yep. It piques Liz's interest again and she grins a bit. "I taught at Washington Irving High for a couple of years. I know how hard that job is, so I don't for a moment think your education's lacking." She offers her hand. "Elisabeth Harrison."

Graeme chuckles, quietly, relaxing a bit with her mention that she was a teacher. Common ground is a good thing, makes things slightly less awkward. His handshake is firm, the sort one would expect from people who often work with their hands. "Graeme Cormac."

Seriously, if he had an inclination to, he could probably win himself a month on a calendar with that smile, but he also seems almost blissfully unaware of it. "I coached varsity and junior varsity soccer back in New Mexico, and subbed at times, too. Got my degree in sociological theory, though."

"Well," Elisabeth admits with a smile, "Mine's in criminal justice." Or so her diploma says. "But don't hold it against me." A woman'd have to be dead not to react to that smile. Seriously! But as he's clearly not interested, the blonde seems perfectly fine with simply chatting — unlike the stereotypical New Yorker. "Seems like this place would be a great case study for that." She shakes her head a bit.

There's a nod from Graeme. "Well, you don't seem like the rabid sort I encountered in the past," all anti-immigration, anti-human rights, but Graeme lets that go unsaid, "so I suppose I won't." There's a pause, and Graeme reaches into the pocket of his jeans, with a hint of surprise as he finds something he'd forgotten was in there, momentarily distracted from Elisabeth to look at a business card and a piece of paper, holding them up to examine them.


There's a faint snerk from Elisabeth. "Maybe you've been meeting the wrong types," she tries one more time to engage the very cute guy. But then he says that and she tilts her head. "Odd?" she asks curiously.

There's a bit of a smile again, as if he's slightly aware of the fact that Elisabeth is flirting, as with the definite impression that he just does NOT know what to do about it. "I don't remember putting these there," he says, eyes scanning it.

She really should have realized. And it smacks Elisabeth with blinding clarity. Lord… one would think when a woman's lover is a bisexual man, she'd catch the clue faster. The laugh that bubbles out of her is genuine, though self-deprecating. Stepping forward, though, a flash of concern passes across her face. "Everything okay?" She doesn't like that he's found something not his own in his pocket. Her cop instincts go on alert. "What is it?"

Graeme turns them over in his hand, and reads the first part of it aloud. "The Deveaux Group…" He shakes his head. "I really don't remember getting it," he says. "I think maybe it was under my coffee cup, today." He shrugs, a bit, offering the card to Liz.

Her chin comes up and Elisabeth looks startled. Taking the card, she studies it for a long moment. When she hands it back, there's a very carefully blanked expression on her face. "Do you want some advice from a stranger?" she asks quietly.

"I recognise that expression," Graeme says with half a grin, turning over the scrap of paper in his hand and taking the card back, with a nod. "Whatever it is you've got to say, I'd like to hear."

"Call them," Elisabeth says simply. "They don't contact people — that I know of — very often. And I gather when they do reach out… it's important." She steps back and then adds, "If you don't like what you hear or if something about it worries you… feel free to contact me." As if that's not cryptic or anything.

He nods, a still quizzical expression on his face, and then he offers Elisabeth another of those winning smiles. Graeme grins. "Thanks. It's good to know, I suppose," Graeme says, laughing a bit.

Elisabeth shrugs a little. "Take it for what it's worth… the word of a stranger," she says with a faint smile. She pats her pocket and reaches inside to pull out a card. She offers it to him. "Don't let the title on the card scare you off," she adds quietly. "Just…. think of it as backup, in case you don't like what you hear. Or anyone like… Humanis First, for example… gives you shit. Its the least I can do for a poor guy hanging out in the lobby all the time to try to let his roommate sleep."

There's a gracious nod, and he flips the card from Liz in a few tricks before he tucks it into his pocket. "I appreciate it," he says, a wince and closing his eyes for a moment at the mention of Humanis First. Bad memories, or the like. "We're in 502," he offers up.

"304," Elisabeth responds. "Though I'm rarely home. I sleep at the base most nights. The cell is the best way to get to me." She smiles at him. "And I better get going. Gotta be back in seven hours. Take care, Graeme." She slips away from him, her boots making thumps on the floor as she heads for the elevator.

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