delia_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title You…
Synopsis After searching in vain, Jaiden returns to his garage to find the very thing he was looking for.
Date August 26, 2010

All Over New York

It's not often that dreams move Jaiden. They're normally ignored or discussed over drinks, viewed as an interesting distraction that happens during that odd period when bodies are left immobile. The question of what causes dreams, too, comes into play, Jaiden sometimes joking that it was caused by 'a bit of undigested potato' a-la Dickens' Christmas Carol. But the one he had on the train the previous evening while dozing off on the train home? That one was obviously something a bit more. So, the next day, after a half-day of work he spent a bit of time with a phone book looking for the hospital he saw when he shared memories with the red-headed girl, programming it into his iPhone and driving there at the lighter part of the days' traffic.

The hospital is a bit crowded, but finding a parking place is surprisingly easy, since most people don't want to pay $5 per 30 minutes to park, but Jaiden? Jaiden's on a mission. His blue mustang pulls into the covered parking and, after locking the door and arming the alarm, the Australian heads into the hospital, heading for the main desk. After waiting a moment he comes to the front of the line and has a chance to ask his question. "Excuse me, Ma'am. I'm trying to find a nurse. A specific one. Red hair, about yay tall?"

The volunteer at the reception desk just stares at him over her granny glasses. It's one of those hard librarian or old school marm stares that children get when they're acting up. "Sir, we have over three thousand employees and volunteers who work in this hospital. A nurse with red hair isn't going to ring any bells. Do you have a last name?" She doesn't look like she's going to be very helpful.

Her red painted fingernails drum on the top of her desk, making a rather impatient and annoying sound. From behind Jaiden there's a growing line of people trying to get to the front. Visitors of patients, patients looking for the right department to check into, emergency room patients who just don't know where the emergency room is even though there's a sign on the door right beside them. "Do you know what floor this mystery nurse is on?"

"Well, ma'am;" Jaiden puts on his most disarming smile, holding his hat in both hands. "I know it was kind of a long shot when I came here. We only met briefly on the train last night and she mentioned she worked here before she left. So…Yeah." He scuffs his toe against the ground in an 'aw-shucks' type of motion. "She works in the ICU from what I understand. I don't suppose there's a directory I can see of nurses in the ICU?"

That smile has the older woman pushing the glasses up on her nose and heaving a long sigh. But it seemed like it worked because she's typing something up on the computer. "Well without a last name I can't tell you who works where, but I can tell you that the ICU doesn't have a very big staff. If you go there, one of the unit secretaries or nurses should be able to tell you more." She points down the hall toward a large pillar/sign. "It's the blue line to ICU, just follow it until you get there."

Then she tilts her head to look around him and bellows, "Can I help whoever's next?"

Jaiden shuffles aside to let a woman with a paper towel wrapped around her finger demand that a doctor see her NOW before it's infected and needs to be amputated, and if he couldn't please use some extra fine thread to keep from leaving too big of a scar, since it would do her no good to be seen with a scar like a common criminal…. Jaiden follows the blue line, the lady's voice fading into the background. A few twists and turns aside he walks across the hospital more or less, finally coming to the doors of the ICU with a desk sitting outside, manned by a bored looking nurse.

"Excuse me, miss?" On goes the charming smile again to help smooth the path. "I'm trying to find a nurse that works here? Red haired, about this tall?" He holds his hand up about shoulder height.

The blonde nurse turns sharply when being addressed by the gentleman and she slides open the window blocking the outside germs from her sterile inside air. She could hear him just fine through the glass, but it becomes evident why she needed to open the space when she leans in the window toward him and gives him a winning smile of her own. "Red haired nurse? We've got a couple of them. About how old are you looking for and why isn't she blonde?"

At this juncture it could very well be noted that the nurse he's speaking to is also about the same height as who he's looking for.

That's the bad thing about having such a winning smile - it sometimes works a bit better than expected. "Well, miss, she and I met on the train the other night and had a very interesting conversation. I was just thinking of continuing it with her over dinner. Goes by Delia. She's about….twenty, I'd guess? And red-haired just because she is…." His nose wrinkles as he tries to think of more.

The smile fades off the blonde's face and she breathes a long sigh and rolls her eyes somewhat. "I know who you're talking about, student nurse, right? She only takes odd shifts here and there…" Grabbing a pen and a paper, she scribbles Delia's name down and looks at Jaiden. "Can I give her a message for you? Tell her you stopped by? We don't give out staff schedules here."

If it doesn't work out, Jaiden may be back to ask the blonde out, but for now, his smile dimples his cheeks cutely. "I understand about not giving out schedules, and she just might be. If you could, would you please tell her Jaiden came by and give her this number?" He passes across one of his business cards with his business and cell number written on the back. He bounces up on his toes to watch what she writes, waiting for her to finish. He does see her name tag and takes note of Blonde's name.

Night shift lunch is normally around 9:00pm….there will be a nice lunch delivered for her.

Elsewhere in the City

"Oh come on…" Delia complains as she gets handed the last package of the day. Examining the small brown box, she weighs it in one hand and looks down her nose at the dispatcher as he shoos her away with the wave of a hand. "Can't someone else do it? This is in the middle of nowhere, I'll never make it home in time for curfew."

"Maybe you'll get lucky and the train'll come get you," comes the snappy reply from the balding man across the desk. "Just get it done, Ryans, and don't be a pain in my ass about it, okay?" With that, he turns back to his paperwork, a clear sign that he's finished talking to her.

With a heavy sigh, Delia begins the long ride toward the subway station to take a little shortcut. It's not much of one, but it'll shave at least 30 minutes off her ride, providing the trains are running on schedule and there's room for her bike.

90 Minutes Later

The clicking of the wheels can be heard up the street before the red haired woman pulls up to the shop. Swinging off the bike, she locks it to a pipe running alongside the building and removes her helmet. Her hair is braided into a long tail, trailing down her back. She's wearing her blue and black courier uniform, a lycra bike suit with a vest over top and soft soled bike shoes.

Pulling the pack off her back, she knocks on the door of the garage. Her face is a little red across the cheeks and bridge of her nose, and there's the glow of perspiration on her forehead. She peeks into the door and calls out, a voice that should be familiar to the man inside. "Hello? Alley Cat Courier, you ordered a delivery?"

After leaving his note, Jaiden went back to the shop and got back to work. Thankfully the part he was needing, a float valve for an old carburetor, was on it's way from the courier, so he spent his afternoon disassembling the upper intake manifold of an oversized V8 engine that a customer had special ordered to put into his Honda Civic. Imagine a roller skate with a jet engine installed and you'll get the idea of what would happen if this would be installed in a Honda. Jaiden doesn't ask - he just builds.

His head is beneath the hood of a car, his body mostly hidden from view when the courier rides up. The garage doors are open and the lights are on, but the Open sign is dark. Breaking the silence now and again is an impact socket whirring loudly followed by a compressor equalizing somewhere in the back. Someone's still here, obviously, but the place is closed for the day.

Jaiden is also dressed in a pair of coveralls with the logo of his shop stitched on the back and his name stitched over the breast pocket, his hands greasy, his face and hair a little sweaty from work. Hard work is good for you - makes you strong.

The courier will need to come in to be heard over the whirring of the impact wrench.

"Are you kidding me?" Delia breathes to herself as she takes a few steps inside the building. Nervously, she glances at the dying daylight and furrows her eyebrows, she's never going to ride back to Queens before curfew at this rate.

"Hello! Mister!! Hey!!" She's in a few more steps and almost yelling to be heard over the wrench. Still nothing. Stepping even closer to the car, she waves one hand only to be hopelessly ignored by a man who can't see her or hear her. Finally, she flattens her lips into a thin line and marches up to the hood, knocking on it. "Alley Cat, mister, I have your package."

When she yells that last part, Jaiden's wrench stops, the full volume of yelling Delia echoing through the garage. This has the comical effect of having Jaiden's head hit the hood as he straightens a little too quickly with a metallic clank! He yelps and stumbles back, hand going to his head, wincing as he looks up. "Bloody hell, you scared the piss out of me, girl….." His eyes get a bit wider. "You….."

Straightening slowly, hand still on his head, he swallows. "Is this a dream again?"

Her eyes match his in width and her jaw drops a little as she takes a breath inward. His question prompts the redhead to pinch herself on the arm and shake her head, giving him a close lipped crooked smile. "I don't think so," she answers in a much quieter voice than his yell. She moves forward again, placing the package on the roof of the car before reaching up to pull his hand away from his head.

Her blue eyes scan his head, looking for any sign of injury. "Are you okay?" Her question comes around the same time as her hand draws away from his, the bandages on her fingertips scraping his skin a little as they slide over.

He nods sheepishly as she pulls his hand away, the taller man bending to give her a better view of the top of his head. He was hit just on the back of the head - a flat bit of metal, luckily not the catch, smacked him just perfectly. There's no blood from the impact, but there is a small lump starting to swell up on the top of his head. "Yeah, I'm okay. Just a little bonk on the ol' head. Not dizzy, don't feel wobbly or have any of the signs of a concussion, so aside from havin' this egg on my head, I'm right as rain." He touches it gingerly. "This is an unexpected surprise, too. I…I tried to find you today. At the hospital where you worked. I remember it from the dream I…we shared."

The tinge of rose across Delia's cheeks and nose grows a little deeper and averts her eyes from his. "I— I don't know what you're talking about," she breathes softly, lowering her head. In a city of over five million people, she seems to have the dumb luck of touching someone that doesn't stay a total stranger.

After her denial, she clears her throat somewhat and reaches for the package on the car. "I have your part, I— ." She can't seem to stop stammering as she looks up at his collar, not daring to look up at his face. Not after he outed her. "I'm sorry."

That part's really not important now. Well, it _is_, but compared to who just walked into his garage after the chance meeting in the subway the night before, installing a new float valve takes on a certain lack of urgency. First the denial takes him by surprise, the man leaning back on the fender of the car he was working on, still touching that bump on his head occasionally, wincing, then touching it again after a few moments.

"Don't be. It's okay." And like that, she's forgiven, his voice soft in the sudden silence of the garage, the hissing of a hydraulic hose the only noise that can be heard until he speaks again.

"It's not often that I dream, and I can't think of a single time that I've ever had a shared one with anyone. My defenses were down and there I was and you had a peek." He takes in a short breath. "At my worst time. You saw the worst I've seen. What keeps me up at night sometimes. You took that burden on yourself. You know." He smiles shakily. "I want you to know something. Last night was the best night of sleep I'd had in years, knowing that someone else understood something I've never told anyone." His hand, grease spotted, slowly moves, the clean knuckle of his right hand resting beneath her chin, tilting it up slightly if she'll let him, so she'll look into his eyes to know he's telling the truth. "You shared my pain, and I shared yours. I watched you suffer as you watched me. I don't know what this means, if anything…." He smiles. "You are special, Delia."

The redhead's blue eyes flit up to meet his olive green ones, almost as though she can't help it. A small smile forms on her lips and she blushes again, a faint pink. "I— I never told anyone everything. I couldn't hold it in anymore— You seemed really nice and peaceful. I didn't know that you were hurting so much." Delia takes a deep breath inward and reaches up to take the hand under her chin in hers.

Swinging them down between them, she pauses for a moment or two before chewing on her bottom lip rather nervously. "It's nice to meet you, Jaiden," she finally says, breaking the moment's silence. "Out here, I mean…" Out here where they're not as vulnerable to each others thoughts, but more vulnerable at the same times. "I'm Delia." Even though he already knows her better than most, for some reason, the introduction is important to her.

He's quiet for a few ticks of the old electric clock mounted on the wall, the hand swooping slowly toward the neon 12, the seconds ticking away. His hand, smudged as it is, is strong and fits around Delia's, holding it lightly - easily freed if she wants to.

He hopes she doesn't.

"When you were in the dream with me, I don't think you were expecting any of what happened. You were just exploring and happened on me…" He smiles self-consciously. "It's taken a long time for me to come to terms with what happened…."

"It's nice to meet you too, Delia." The fact that they've already been introduced doesn't matter. This is, after all, the first time the two have really met and made a physical connection rather than a mental one. His hand squeezes hers, an untroubled, tranquil movement.

Outside, the sun approaches the horizon.

Her smile starts out as a small tick at the left corner of her lips and spreads until it's the same bright crooked smile that she gave him in the meadow. When Jaiden's hand squeezes hers, Delia's breath is caught for a moment but her eyes never stray from his for one second.

Slowly, her fingers move to lace with his. She doesn't pull away or disappear, not like she did in the dream. This is vastly different from that place, though the chance meeting did bring them to this juncture. The smile falters for a moment and she catches her lower lip between her teeth to chew at it nervously.

"I— I have to go." The words are sounded out with some measure of regret, she doesn't want to. "I need to get back to Alley Cat and home before curfew. It's at least a few hours ride."

She doesn't disappear. There's pain, there's contact, and she doesn't melt into him after a giant pair of arms encircle them both. He nods his understanding. "I don't want you to go just yet. If you can stay a while, I can give you a ride." He offers, almost instantly. "We could get something to eat, maybe, and just you and I talk?" He doesn't want her to go either.

Looking down at herself, she raises her eyebrows in disbelief before smiling up at him again. "I'm not exactly dressed to go anywhere to eat… I— " Delia pauses and shakes her head, the smile dropping from her features into an expression of pure determination and resolve. "You know what? Yeah, I'd love to. Let's go grab some dollar menu somewhere?" It's not fancy, it's not posh, but neither is she.

The redhead turns, her fingers still laced with his as she takes a step toward the door. She's still not letting go. "I have to get my bike… Don't move… Don't go anywhere." It's said as though he's the one that did the disappearing. Reluctantly, she slips her hand from his, letting her fingers graze until the very last second before turning and heading to the door.

After working in a garage for most of the day after tracking her down, sort-of, at the hospital she works at on the weekends, Jaiden's not very fresh either. "Give me a second to shut down the garage and head downstairs for a clean shirt and we'll be on our way." The breakers in the back are the first thing, the heavy door second. Once the garage is secure, he moves toward a fenced-in area with a gate and a staircase leading downward, lights mounted on the wall leading down. A twist of the knob and Jaiden heads below to clean up.

She can follow him, if she wishes, or wait in the darkened garage for him to come back up.

Wait all alone in the dark? Without even thinking about it, Jaiden should know better. Delia tags along behind him, making a quick pitter patter of her feet as she takes the stairs with little effort. Her eyes drift over his basement apartment and she trails a finger along the wall as she takes her first exploratory steps through the place. Her eyes rake over every detail, coupling what she already knows of him with what she sees.

Like the apartment's owner, everything in the place is large and utilitarian. While he's getting himself ready, she peeks into cupboards to take stock of how many dishes he has, pots, etc… A hint to finding out how much he entertains. She's quiet about it, not wanting to appear as though she's snooping. She is, but it's with a curiosity to know more about him rather than malicious intent.

"No fair you getting all fancied up while I'm still in my work uniform!" She calls out to him, five minutes after she hears the water being turned off in the bathroom. She's smiling, even though he can't see it… Unless he has x-ray vision.

The man most certainly does not have x-ray vision, so her explorations and smiles remain an enigma for now. "I'm sorry, but if I'm going out, it's at least going to be in a clean shirt." he calls from the bathroom where the sound of running water can be heard, the man trying to scrub the grease from his hands and forearms with a scrub brush.

Delia's exploration reveals many interesting things. The cabinets are stocked with many varied and interesting foodstuffs and there are a goodly number of plates and glasses - about five or so of each in the Fiestaware style of dishes - and a nice selection of pots, pans, and knives. Jaiden, apparently, fancies himself a cook, and a rather good one, to boot. The refrigerator is stocked with a few bits - fresh vegetables, milk, some imported beers from Texas and Australia, a bottle of white wine and a few sauces in plastic containers that look to be home made. there is a bookcase down the hall, and a few pictures of landscapes from around the world here and there - places he's been, maybe?

Emerging from the bathroom, Jaiden's face and hands are clean, his hair wet, a clean white t-shirt pulled over his jeans. "All done, and I'm not that pretty." He says with a smirk, nodding. "You forgot to close a cabinet."

The red face says it all, Delia puckers her lips to keep from smiling as she stalks over to the cupboard and swings it closed. "Never leave a girl unattended in your apartment," she says, her voice taking a rather haughty tone. It's not one that he hasn't experienced, in real life or in dreams. "On the same side of the coin, don't let a girl use your bachelor bathroom… Unless you've already cleaned it."

He's ready, she's as ready as she'll ever be but she's paused in the kitchen, looking up at him. The young woman quiets a little as she gazes up at Jaiden with that little twitch of a smile. "It's hard finding the right words to talk to you about, after…" Her voice fades, the silence filling in everything she actually wants to say.

"I wouldn't have invited you down here if I didn't mind you looking around. And rumors of my bachelorhood notwithstanding, it's clean. I did a good clean just a few days ago, cleaned the floor, the shower, the bath with good hot water and bleach. The bog as well." He closes the door behind him and walks, barefoot, to his bedroom to grab a pair of sandals from next to the bed, padding back in as quiet as a cat. That tone in her voice gave him a little pause. "But I'll take that advice. I'll be sure to keep attention on the girl when I've got them down here. Okay?"

Settling down on the couch, he pulls one sandal on, then the other, nodding. "Yeah, it's not often that people see that part of either of us - strangers on the train have now become anything but. I'd say that, on the scale of things, that shared dream was intimate."

Delia's blush doesn't fade away at all, making her cornflower blue eyes seem so much brighter. They lower to the floor as he speaks, especially when he says the word intimate. To keep herself looking occupied, she traces an invisible pattern on the kitchen counter, swirling her finger around in little curlicues. Every so often she sneaks a little glance at him, only to smile, blush again, and look back down at the counter at getting caught.

Trying to keep things light without getting her hopes up, she clears her throat a little. "So, you're saying that… for next time… I should just say hello first instead of…" Walking into his dreams and imposing herself in his life. Hindsight being twenty-twenty, it's a safe bet that given the opportunity of a do-over, she would do the same thing over and over again.

Jaiden stands after pulling the straps of his sandals tight, bouncing on the balls of his feet, his hands moving out to clasp in front of him before he pivots on his right foot to face her. he is not trying to make her blush at all - he is simply speaking his mind and many years of living in worlds where riposte and thrust of words could bring down an empire or doom a mission to failure, being able to speak his mind and tell the truth is a welcome thing. Sometimes people feel that it's a little blunt, but it does work for him.

"Might be best, aye, to just say hello instead of fishing 'round in people's heads while they're asleep. Some may take it the wrong way, or you may see something you wish you hadn't. Me? I don't mind. My past is my past and there's nothing in it to be ashamed of." He takes a few steps forward, offering her his hand, a blush faint beneath the sun-kissed skin of his cheeks. "Come on then. Dinner's calling, and your chariot awaits."

Coming out from behind the counter, Delia gives Jaiden a rather shy smile as she takes his hand. If they'd been on hard floors, the sigh escaping her as she catches hold of him hold might not have been heard. As it is, it's likely that he notices.

She doesn't know anything about motor vehicles; to her the mustang is just a pretty blue car, which she states quite clearly. The dollar menu date seems to suit her perfectly fine; though she does end up packing away four cheeseburgers, giving him just a small taste of her appetite. When they finally reach her home an hour or so later, she turns to him in the car and just stares at him for a very long time.

"I had a lot of fun tonight…" she says quietly, taking the initiative. Pulling a company card from her vest pocket, she scribbles her name and number down on the back. "It's a house phone," she tells him as she passes the card. "I don't have a cell, so if you get the machine make sure you leave a message, okay? Iii wooooouuld really like to see you again." Her words are drawn out from nervousness and fear of rejection, the way she tilts her eyes down speaks volumes to that effect.

She's at least nine years younger than him and can play with mens' heads while they're asleep. She's as broken as he is, too, witnessing horrors and having experiences that would make people with lesser willpower levels crack under pressure. But as he drives her home, when his hand strays from the shifter, it moves over the back of her hand in a comforting motion, patting it lightly before it rests atop it, allowing her to hold it while they drive. And when they arrive at her place, her bike in the trunk, Jaiden kills the engine and, quite gallantly, walks her to her door. "I did too, Delia. A lot of fun. It was nice just sitting and talking, and I never thought that someone as petite as you could put away so many cheeseburgers in one sitting." He fishes around for his wallet and retrieves one of his cards, his number scribbled on the back. "It's a cell, so you can call just about any time you want." He turns her card over, glancing at it before tucking it into his breast pocket.

Jaiden blushes faintly, his hand moving to her chin to tilt her up to look into his eyes, the man smiling. "I'd like to see you again too, Delia."

And without a word, he leans in to brush a gentle kiss over her lips, letting it linger for just a second straightening again. "Let's get you inside."

The kiss comes as a surprise, though no real surprise at all. When he begins to pull away, her lips follow his for another few seconds before she draws back and opens her eyes. The faint blush covering her cheeks gets hidden by the mass of red hair that falls to shield her face when she tilts her head down bashfully. She stays that way for a moment or two before looking back up at him, her face again the same pale as it usually is.

Instead of parting words, she steps closer to him and wraps her arms around his waist, her form melting to his just as it did in the dream. This time when she buries her face in his shoulder, the faint scent of soap and the fresh smell of his clean shirt meet her sense. That hug lasts for much longer than the one they shared in dreams. "I'm going to call you tomorrow…" she murmurs against his shirt before sliding back and tilting her head up at him. "Goodnight Jaiden, sweet dreams, okay?"

With a smile and a wave, she flits inside.

"Okay…" Jaiden says, standing on the step as she vanishes. And as the door closes behind her, the man blows a kiss before heading down the steps and back to his home.

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