Work on the Skills


devon2_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title Work on the Skills
Synopsis Lunch: two equally unpleasant topics of conversation, and then plans for both Devon and Graeme to brush up on some skills (aside from basketball).
Date April 18, 2011

Random bistro, SoHo

Who knew after a winter with freak snow storms, though not so freaky as the year of the Blizzard, would warm up to nearly 60 Fahrenheit. The light wind that manages its way between buildings does little to cool the air, but it helps in keeping the humidity down. Great weather for a walk.

Good thing, too, since Devon has been walking all morning. Running errands for Russo seems to have taken over for the internship he'd signed up for. But then, maybe it's just that busy at the studio. There've been no complaints, though, Devon only nodding to the instructions he'd been given and carrying them out with efficiency. Normally. Things are taking a little longer today after an incident while coming home from work a few evenings ago.

It's after the lunch hour, and the young intern is still out, delivering papers and making arrangements for various things. And in being out, still, he'd called Graeme to see about joining for a midday, now mid afternoon, meal. A bistro had been selected en route, something near to the bus lines and still within walking distance of the studio. And it's there, at an outdoor table, that Devon waits.

There'd been an affirmative response from Graeme, as he got off for the day slightly before lunch, and the rest of the time has been spent making it from the financial district, where the school he'd worked the morning at was, to SoHo. Didn't take overly long, and the nice weather means that when the teacher walks up, with a nod of greeting, he's wearing a nice short sleeved tee and slacks.

The wind chill, which has most others still at least with a sweater of some sort or light jackets, doesn't seem to bother Graeme very much, and he pauses a moment before sitting down. Before he does, though, there's a faint moment of looking over and studying the teenager, perhaps also looking out into space and the general tendency to check out any particular area before making himself comfortable, available exits, all of those things that Graeme prefers to know first.

"Hey." The messenger bag is slung over the side of the chair, and then the man leans back. If there is any notice of the state of Devon's face, it's not actually mentioned. Either Devon will volunteer the information, which is unlikely, or Graeme will ask, but the second definitely not while they're out at lunch. "Nice place. I'll have to remember it exists." There's a faintly amused smile. "Months, and really all I can think of off the top of my head usually are the two places that I like that deliver to Aric's apartment or mine."

On spotting Graeme, Devon lifts his head slightly in a nod. Like the teacher, he's in slacks and a button down shirt, sleeves rolled up from his wrists. A tie hangs around his neck, actually snugged into place rather than pulled loose. He notices the scrutiny before the older man sits down, but makes no comment of it immediately, giving him time to settle himself.

"Yeah, I saw it a couple of hours ago when I was delivering some papers," Devon explains with a slight grin. "Had a couple of deadlines to meet and missed lunch. But thanks for coming out. Hope it's not out of the way or anything." He leans back a little, hands resting idly on the table top. "So how is Aric anyway?"

"Pretty good," Graeme says, with a bit of a smile that has absolutely nothing to do with the conversation at hand. It does help to once again hide slight further scrutiny of the teenager, though, scrutiny that pushes towards a neutral expression, almost a frown. "And no, it's great." Despite that there was a bit of a walk for him on each end, it was a nice walk, and overall convenient. "I was teaching this morning, didn't get lunch because I had to cover supervision during lunch, and so this works out pretty damn well."

Devon isn't unaware of the change of expression, a brow rising very slightly. He picks up his glass of water, a tightness forming around his eyes briefly as he leans forward to sip from the glass. "Long story," he explains, lowering the glass again. "Taking a different route to the subway from now on though." That should be explanation enough. "Melissa's told me she shown you the rest of the club."

Graeme nods. "Alright." The look of concern on his face is evident, but fades, and for now, it seems that he's going to accept the explanation offered. "She did, yeah. Showed me around, I'm going to be just helping out for a few weeks." There's a wry tone to his voice, and it's clear that while Graeme's quite certain he can go back to at the very least moderate activity, he also wasn't about to argue the matter with Melissa. A pause in the conversation happens, as a glass of water is brought for Graeme, then regarded carefully with a nod of thanks before the waitress walks away.

"That's awesome," Devon states with a grin. "She offered me a job first day I met her. Then again if I ever needed it once we got out of the Dome." Obviously he hasn't needed it, still playing office monkey for Studio K. "Still thinking about it once my internship is over, she was looking for a DJ back in January. Though I haven't told Brad that. Internship is over once his contract is up anyway so it doesn't really matter."

Graeme nods again, picking up the glass of water. "Yeah. After a few weeks, I'll be picking up some light security and floor duty and then going from there. Which I suppose is best, take it easy a little longer." And really, he wasn't going to be arguing about the matter. "It sounds like a good idea. And it will give you a variety of work experience, which is a good thing to have."

A pregnant pause lingers between Devon and Graeme, the younger man watching the older for a moment with the hintings of a grin. "Melissa's pretty insistent on you taking it easy," he says, not entirely a question. He almost seems amused by the idea. He knows she can be persistent when it comes to healing, and he's just as willful in his disregard for his own recovery. "Yeah," he replies, moving back to the topic of work issues. "Part of me wants to go back to school, but I think that's my parents talking."

"God help me if she ever meets Aric," Graeme murmurs under his breath in response. "I'd never have a chance. She is." There's a glance at the menu, though Graeme already has an idea of the type of sandwich that he wants for lunch today. Consideration is given to what Devon says, and then there's a half a shrug. "No reason you can't do both. Take a class, start slow, see if you actually really want to. And if you don't, don't continue."

The muttering seems to amuse Devon, though the teenager only shakes his head rather than comment on it. He picks up his menu finally, perusing it briefly. "I don't know. I graduated almost a year ago now and… honestly? I don't think I care enough about college to continue. Until that internship came up, my whole life was fulfilling some dream my folks had for me." He shrugs slightly and places the menu on the table again, looking back to Graeme.

"Yeah." The acknowledgment comes after a long pause, accompanied by a nod as Graeme too folds his menu to set it on the table, as a signal that they're ready to order. "But like I said. Take a class or two of things you'd be interested in anyway. Even if you're not actually taking things that are academic." There's a brief chuckle. "Then again, if I want to keep my credentials, I have to keep going back to school. I'll be doing that in the summer, though I haven't decided what I want to take yet."

"You sound like my aunt," Devon jestingly complains. "She'd tell me the same thing before…" The rest is left unsaid, the space filled with a shrug and a subtle saddening of his grin. "…What made you decide to become a teacher anyway? Never understood that, how people just decide what they're going to do for the rest of their lives."

There's a slight nod, and then Graeme purses his lips for a long moment, taking a sip of water while he thinks. "I'm not quite sure, really. I played soccer throughout college, and I had just graduated and was beginning graduate studies, and the high school was searching for a junior coach." His gaze comes to rest on Devon for a little. "I took the job, and then was head coach the next year, when the former retired, while I worked on my master's. I needed to get an additional credential, they wanted me to teach. I chose English, I like it well enough."

Graeme shrugs. "And I sort of kept doing it. It's a good feeling, to be making a difference, and so after the Bomb and all that, I started teaching and coaching full time."

A lengthy pause follows when the server comes over to take orders. For Devon it's a club sandwich on sourdough and a Coke. Nothing fancy today, though the soups do sound delicious. "Can you imagine me being a teacher," he asks with a laugh, head shaking. "Two years older than most of my students. I had difficult enough time being taken seriously when I was in high school. I love acting though, just no longer sure it's what I should follow."

The roast beef sandwich, with an additional side of fries, ordered, and a spri"I wasn't taken particularly seriously my first year as junior coach, or my first year teaching," Graeme admits. "I was twenty-two, but I guess that a lot of it depends on the person." There's a shrug and a pause, and another sip taken from his water. "But then after the Bomb, I really… I stayed as a teacher, mainly because it was important. I can't remember when it clicked that what I was doing there really was important, but it's why I stayed a teacher."

"After the bomb," Devon echoes, his voice sounding a little distant. He was recovering, more mentally and emotionally than physically, and eleven. "I just clung to theater. I can't even envision… Right now… I'm doing something that's far more important to me. Maybe I'll take some classes, it's not like they're ever really hard or anything."

Graeme nods once more. "In some ways I clung to teaching, when I returned to it," he admits, voice quiet. "But that is neither here nor there." The topic is allowed to drop, should Devon wish it, and there's another subtle hint of a frown at the bruising on the teenager's face.

The younger man's eyes drop and a hand extends to pick up his glass of water. But he doesn't drink from it, instead peering at the clear liquid for a long moment. He's still very aware of the staring and studying, but he makes no further mention of what happened. Admitting to being jumped just isn't something he's keen on repeating. "Where were you when Midtown blew up," he asks instead, remaining on the equally uncomfortable but more neutral topic.

"I was in New Mexico," Graeme says, letting the teenager steer the topic, uncomfortable though it might well be. There's a small shadow of guilt and pain in his voice, that he was so far away from it. "I was teaching, that day." There is a long pause that follows, before Graeme speaks again. "Liam, my adoptive father, worked in Midtown, though. And Jessa was on a business trip, in England. Home, her parents' brownstone…" Graeme shakes his head quietly.

Uncomfortable it may be, but the teen's mind seems to be stuck dwelling on the memories he usually represses. He winces apologetically, glancing up at Graeme. "Yeah… I was with my parents, outside the radiation zone but still in blast radius." The rest can probably be guessed, and both are saved for the moment as food is delivered to the table. Devon's eyes look over the sandwich with seeming little interest.

"Until this year… I hadn't come back to New York, since then," Graeme says. "We bought a house in New Mexico, and Jessa came there, and she was never really quite the same. Not after." There's still sadness in his voice, and then he picks up several of the French fries, chewing thoughtfully. Once more, Graeme returns to studying the teenager, though there's no direct question asked yet.

There's a sound like Devon understands, a slight cant to his head that could be a nod. He pulls a toothpick from one half of the sandwich and pokes it at the fillings, spearing meat and tomato with little regard for the action. "Can you believe it's been almost five years?"

Another minute passes, Graeme absently eating a good third of one of the two orders of fries. "I know it has. Seems less, longer, both." Silently, Graeme considers the life he's been carving out for himself, and there's a faint smile on his face, thought of his adoptive parents knowing his current stance and opinions bringing some small measure of comfort. "So." There's a pointed glance, but the words that follow are not without some measure of sympathy. "Looks like it kinda hurts. I hope the other guy looks worse."

A faint smirk curls one corner of Devon's mouth upward. If only he could boast the other guy looking worse. "Two guys got me after work," he says with a shrug. "I need to improve my hand to hand skills, or dust them off at least, before I mouth off at guys who're bigger than me and refuse to give them my wallet. Not that I had money anyway."

Graeme nods, understanding. "Sounds like an idea," Graeme says. "The getting better at hand to hand part of it, that is." He's not going to point it out, since he's sure the teenager already knows. The mouthing off part is never really the greatest of ideas. He rolls his shoulders slightly, before picking up the sandwich. The bouncer turned teacher turned bouncer again has been working at forcing his arm and shoulder through the muscle memory of hand to hand, recently. It's been fun, or at least what Graeme would call fun, but then again. "Dusting off skills is good. Improving is always better." The unvoiced offer of help is very much there, though.

Likely the teenager already knows, he'd gotten a look from Melissa when he showed up bruised and bloody and rather out of sorts and said he'd mouthed off. "Don't insult the mothers of thugs," he suggests with a shake of his head. "They get really touchy about it." He lets out a breath and picks up his sandwich, taking the first bite off a corner. "I need to work on those skills," he repeats after chewing a bit. "Seriously. I haven't really fought since I was maybe twelve. Or ten…"

"I suppose they might," Graeme says. "So, we'll work on it." It's not so much a question, as a statement. "You need to work on the skills, and I need to keep from losing shape from inactivity with my arm and shoulder, and all. I never precisely learned one style in particular, just whatever happened to be being used at the time, but it all works." Then, Graeme's attention is paid back to his food, tracing swirls in the ketchup with one of the fries idly before eating it.

Devon, sandwich hovering above his plate as it's still lifted half way to his mouth, stares at Graeme a moment. "Thanks," he says quietly, looking at his sandwich, a little unsure in an awkward sense. The offer was there, he could have just asked. "When d'you want think we could start? Not that I'm eager to get my ass kicked again but… I really need to get active again."

Graeme shakes his head. "Well, we can start whenever you want, really," he says. The tone that follows is light and generally teasing. "We'll start with the basic ways of you not getting your ass kicked, though." Plus that Graeme's going to have to find out where he is with his own recovering from injury, and work his way up to being able to do more strenuous things. "I don't teach tomorrow, which means I'm not going to be working again until tomorrow afternoon, I think."

"I'd hate to meet with Melissa if you did kick my ass," Devon counters, equally teasing. "Tomorrow's good though. Maybe before I go in to the studio." It'll give him an extra day to recover and work out the kinks. "You know of a place? Melissa…'s place isn't really big enough. Maybe.. a park or something?"

"There's room at my apartment," Graeme says, after a long moment of thought. "I have mats set out on the wall and floor of about half my room, and it's no big deal and all." Along with the punching bag. "And I think it's big enough, really. There are a few extra mats I can set out, too." More than enough space to practise throws, other such things. "Better than a park, I'd think."

"Great," the teenager says, with muted enthusiasm. He's honestly looking forward to it, but today seems to have a maturity learned at a very early age holding strong. He takes another bite from his sandwich, chewing the fine mix of meat and bread and cheese and vegetables. "Sounds like a plan then. Tomorrow morning. Just go easy on me."

Graeme nods. "Right." Now, his idea of easy probably isn't going to match up to what the teenager expects, but he'll oblige. At least, somewhat. The last remains of his sandwich are picked up, considered, half-bitten though it is less enthusiasm for food than the man usually has. "Tomorrow morning, little before eight or so?" The time is confirmed, the unspoken implication to his words obvious from the faint smile and blush. "Can't do earlier."

It makes Devon grin, unfortunately for Graeme. "How about a quarter after eight," he offers in compromise. After all, the man's offering to show him a few things, it's the least he can do. "I'll even bring over coffee and pastries. Just… have things cleaned up. Hm?"

Graeme turns a faint shade of red. "I'll meet you there, then." There's a pause, and then a small amount of clarification offered, perhaps for Graeme's peace of mind. Or for Devon's. "Quarter after it is. I've been staying over at Aric's place, above the bookstore he owns. It's not too far from Dorchester, though."

Chuckling, Devon nods and calls for a take home box for the rest of his sandwich. He'll finish the first half while he waits on that, and the second? It'll probably find it's way back to Melissa and Perry's for someone to eat there. "Quarter after, I'll bring breakfast. Aric can come too if he wants."

There is a smile. "Yeah. He's usually busy with the store or off doing god knows what," Graeme says. "And he wouldn't be too happy about me staring to work on hand to hand again either, so…" The explanation is offered with a sad face, and this time, before the teenager can object, Graeme slips a bill onto the table that well and covers both of their food, and the tip.

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