You're a Cheap Date Abigail Beauchamp


abby_icon.gif conrad_icon.gif

Scene Title You're a Cheap Date Abigail
Synopsis Conrad calls Abby over to talk, in the high priced bar, where both are sorely out of place
Date December 4, 2008

Orchid Lounge

The Orchid Lounge, owned by the mother of Senator Nathan Petrelli, is an Asian-inspired martini bar lit by candlelight and the soft glow of wall sconces spaced evenly throughout the room. Although there aren't any employees at the door to check for identification, it's unusual to find anyone in the college-aged crowd at the Lounge, which caters to young professionals with plenty of extra money to burn. During the day, the plush burgundy drapes affixed to the windows are used to filter out the sounds of traffic and at night are drawn back to allow passersby a glimpse inside.

Seating is simple: clusters of rectangular tables fashioned from white marble, each with two leather benches parallel to the longest sides. Silk pillows in varying shades of red, brown, yellow and orange lend a splash of colour to the Lounge, vivid against the pale walls and black-painted cement floor. On one wall is a giant mirror with an intricately carved frame that reflects almost everything in the room and makes the space appear twice as large as it really is. Clearly, the proprietor of this establishment wanted to get her money's worth - real estate in this part of town isn't cheap!

When Conrad showed up here with a black Lexus, it probably raised all sorts of eyebrows because he does not look like the kind of guy to be driving it. Fortunately Con actually rented it instead of stole it (with otherwise ill-gotten cash). He gave Abby plenty of warning that he wanted to talk to her out at the Orchid Lounge, and funny enough somewhere Con got himself a dressier than normal outfit, with a sueded button down shirt and slacks and all that. Naturally he's never in anything like a suit.

At the bar he sits, leering at some rich co-eds across the way who give him looks as if he's the plague. A bottle of Seagrams sits two-thirds full in front of him along with an open can of Sprite. He's been doing gin and Sprite, which he likes better than tonic anyway.

Orchid lounge. Who in the heavens meets there? Abby's not even sure that she has the proper clothes for there. Sunday best it is. it's a blue dress, gathered at the bust, falls to her knee's. Simple white flats and a pale pink cardigan. It barely passes. Hairs pulled back into a french twist, little gold cross ever present and a white purse. Yes, one can get a good image of what the young woman looks like when she tromps off to church on sunday's. No fancy car for her, it's called a taxi. Her coat passed off to the coat check, and the now brunette, minus a few inches, makes her way to Conrad at the bar. "Hello Conrad"

Looking over his shoulder at Abby as if he's surprised she made it and says with a grin, "Hey, kid. Have a seat…" He indicates the barstool next to him. "Heard things have been a little rough for you lately." He says this after looking across the bar and away from Abby, draining a little more of his glass of gin.

"It's not all been daisies…" Teo's running off his mouth? Not likely, he'd have more sense than that. Abby settled down on the stool next to him, cross her legs at the ankle, seep her skirt under and try not to look so terribly out of place. Thank god for fake ID's. "You wanted to talk to me about something? There another problem with the guys?" The purse is laid in her lap and hands up on the bar.

"Nope." replies Conrad simply, asking, "What'll you have?" He holds up his glass, indicating what he means. "I hear things. Not a lot of detail though, so I wanted to ask you what's going on. I mean, to the best of my knowledge you kinda put yourself on your own. And judging by the way you and I don't get along, I dunno how many friends you have."

"Coke and rum please" She'll drink what she knows, and it's impolite to refuse. "Not many, no. I have my boss, Teo, Alexander. That's about it. You don't need many though" Abby's eyeing him. "Your not looking for a… date are you?"

The look Con gives Abby is all rolled eyes. "Girl, you're way too young for me and you'd need an instruction book in bed." his tone softens and he says more seriously, "Nah, this is me treating you to a little relaxation because you're a selfless martyr and you do a lot more good for people than they do for you. Here." He fishes a wad of cash out of his pocket made of large bills. It could probably buy a motorcycle. It gets left on the bar and he declares, "That money's not leaving this bar. You and I are gonna drink it together. So. Tell me what's been goin on?" And because it's Conrad, the sounds of the surrounding bar muffle to near silence as he encloses them in a zone of sonic privacy.

Abby leans towards conrad. "Decakrd got me drunk. I'd really like to not do that again. Teo says i'm very miserable the next day" That's the end of her objections though. "Too much. Too much that… i'm wondering what kind of trial this is He's placed before me" Seems when conrad's not swearing and telling her what to do, everything is copasetic!

"God." prompts Conrad, clearly asking for clarification on who 'He' is. He assumes it's the right answer anyway and nods as if to himself. Notice how he's ignored the think about getting drunk. "So what's with this dead bum I heard about?" Might as well start somewhere.

"God" And then she gestures to her nose. "I was driving around. I do that, when i'm upset, or just, need release. Someone threw a dead guy out a window" There's a frown at that. "My scooter hit him, I got knocked off, and then Deckard supposedly.. well.." Her face is on the tail end of healing. She's been cheating, helping her own self along, it's just yellows and greens. "You know how that ended. With a hospital bill now"

"Naw I really don't know how it ended. Like I said I haven't heard a lot. Just that shit's been bad for you." No, Conrad doesn't stop cussing just because Abby's around. The rum and coke arrives and Con has the bartender leave the bottle of rum and some coke. He sips his own gin and watches Abby talk. "Any idea who did it?"

Abby's only now clueing in that she can barely hear everyone around her, the noise before was noticible, now it's not. A quick look, before she nods. "That list, of people Teo gave me. I ran into the guy who got shot, that the cops said got shot. Deckard confirmed it. It was the asian guy, with the long hair" Abby frown, taking the coke and run, a small sip from it. "I don't remember that night Conrad. I really don't. I got hit good to the head. I woke up to Paramedics telling me to lay down and then… I went and healed belinda when Teo and ben showed up at the hospital. But it was that Asian guy" Another sip is taken then put down, hands laced around the glass and a glance to her side to her now drinking buddy.

Hmm. "Crazy Asian guy, yeah. I've heard of him. He's been after Deckard but I guess you being near Flint kind of got his attention for you." Con notices Abby casting her attention around and says, "Yeah nobody else is gonna hear us unless they get real close. Bartender can only hear us when he's right here." Drink s'more. "So. The operative question is…how are you?"

ohhhhh, he could manipulate sound? No wonder Helena snagged him. "Tired. Tired, and alive" There's a flash of a smile, momentarily before it's drown in another sip of the rum and coke. "Hiding. But that's not new" a pause "Definately tired and i'm not a matry. Martyr die for their belief's and are exhaulted and lauded. I'm still alive and I have no intentions to die before He says it's time thank you very much"

"Sometimes the really shitty martyrs don't have the stones to actually die for what they believe in. They just wanna suffer to make a point." Conrad grins a little when he sees that look on Abby's face. "What, you didn't know I could do that?" He gestures around them, indicating the silence. "Handy. I'm good for private conversations in crowded rooms." He pauses and asks after a second, "So you ever given thought to trying to come out of the closet? Register and see if someone'll pay your way to medical school, maybe be a doctor? Seems like it might be a good fit."

Does she tell, does she not. there's indescision on her face. "That's a best case scenario. That I do. That some philathropic person decides that hey, she'd make a great doctor" Abby shake her head. "I have GED conrad. I'm a waitress and a bartender. Not Doctor material in the mind sense. Teo's pushing me to go to Massage school, use His gift that way. People who are hurt go get massage therapy. But.. there's always the other scenario. That I get yanked, plunked down into a room and injured people shuffled past me. Till I drop, and then they wait, and then the process repeats" okay. There's a large cup of coke and rum, plus an ice cube which she sucks on, while swirling the little black stir stick in her drink.

"That's a little extreme, don't ya think? I mean don't you think the worst case is more like you're just kept a political prisoner and used? I don't see anybody turning you into a healing sweatshop. They need YOU healthy too." Con gestures at Abby with his drink before draining it, then goes to refilling it with Sprite and Seagrams. "It'd be easier anyway. You know someone would be looking out for you. Food. Shelter. No more tending bar. No more telling yourself you're too stupid for med-school…"

"I have someone Conrad. Or well, had. He's dead. I found it out this morning. He was going to register me. Unlisted. No one would know what I could do. No one would bother me, I could just be alone and go about doing my business, he'd make sure of it." There's a wrinkle of her nose and she silently pushes her glass over to Conrad. She's not mixing her drink. Thats her job, and right now she's not working.

Con's no pro at mixing drinks, but he does well enough and obliges Abby with hers. "Well you don't have him anymore then, do ya? Seems to me someone's trying to cut you off. Probably so they can move in later and you'll have nobody else to turn to. So, if I were you, I'd be on the lookout for people who were a little too interested in your ability." His eyes cut up toward Abby and he adds, "Especially if they've been known to throw people out of buildings."

"I'll have the ferryman, and phoenix. I don't know if I can trust Agent Ivanov's… new case manager. They asked who I was, but I just hung up. And no COnrad i'm not smart enough to become a doctor. I can do better on the streets, helping those who can't afford to see a doctor, and helping those like you and Helena, who can't risk seeing a doctor. If I can't fix it… odds are a doctor can't either." She takes her drink back. "How are you?"

"Me? Hell, I'm great." says Con with a grin. "I'm the only registered Evolved who has nothing to worry about in this town. Nobody's coming for me. Nobody cares what I do. I'm not on anybody's radar. When I need something I have it. All I have to do is worry about poor lost kids like you." He waits for Abby to try her drink and asks, "How'd I do?"

"Little stiff" Abby answers after a mouthful. She's not used to it, but it's not bad. At least it's not straight up. "I'm not lost. I know exactly where I am conrad" She nods her head as if in self confirmation. 'Don't you hate it? Being registered? Your name on some computer that anyone can dig up. You picture, your gift, your address. As if.. you were some… sexual offender or dangerous criminal" Another sip.

With a snort Conrad says, "I AM a dangerous criminal. But not a sex offender." He gives a nod and a significant look at that, as if that's more important to him than his criminal record. "Anyway so what? No I don't like em knowing all that about me, but it's out and no point worrying about it. The point is all I got in life is what I can do and what I can grab. And whether you realize it or not, it's the same for everybody. And by the way you're only as stupid as you think you are. You think you're not smart enough to be a doctor? Then you're right. you're not."

'Why the push to become a doctor!" it comes out a little louder than she intended. "Why do you and Teo do this? Teo telling me I should go to school, now you and this doctor thing! I went to school for years Conrad. Two years, in the middle of high school. I had to guilt my parents and throw a fit. They relented. But I'd get tired, and I'd get overwhelmed, so many people. So I went back to home schooling, and.. How am I to do that Conrad? Do that and still be available to help you guys, and others when you need it"

"Relax! Stop being so pissy all the time." Conrad says with a shake of his head. He points a finger at Abby and says, "You know that's what rubs me wrong about you. You're full of attitude and nastiness. For someone so in love with Jesus, you sure could stand to be a little more forgiving and tolerant. Have you ever actually READ the Bible? Maybe Teo cares what happens to you because he's genuinely a good guy and wants something good for you. You ever wrapped your head around that?"

"It doesn't sit on my nightstand as a place t put my waterglass" She's not so much enjoying the finger pointing at her. The displeasure shows on her face. "I am tolerant. I am forgiving" It's murmured under her breath.

"I'm sure you want to be." replies Conrad in as much of a murmur. He shakes his head and has another drink. "I dunno what kinda background you got, what kind of history, but whatever it is I think it makes you mean." He puts a hand on his own chest, "I'm not mean! I mean sure I'll jack somebody's car or rip em off, snatch stuff here and there. Am I proud of the fact I'm a thief? No. But I've tried to live legit before. You can't do it with my cards. Not in this world. So…" half shrug, "…I do a little here and there to make up for the damage I cause. Watch Helena's back for her. Help Phoenix try to make a better world. Take hostile girls who've had a rough week out for a few drinks so she has someone to vent to."

"How many times have you met me Conrad" Abby asks, looking down at her drink, her cheeks slowly turning a dull red.

Con seems to think about that. "Maybe…four times? Yeah. About that. Oh, but you're so popular…" He tacks that last on with a measure of sarcasm and a smile.

abby's hands go from around the glass, fingers opening the purse. She digs a twenty out, sliding it beside her glass. 'Thank you Conrad. For inviting me out to talk. But I think, that right now, I don't need to be told that i'm hostil and violent, that i'm a bitch. You don't know me. Your not with me all the time. You don't know what I do when I walk out of your sight. But then, I don't know you, and I don't know what you do either. Just that Helena trusts you. I'm going home" She starts to slide off the stool, her face a burning scarlet now from his words.

"Sure thing. Hey, want me to just give the bartender this?" Con starts going through the money on the bar. "I think it's like…huh. Yeah there's about five hundred bucks here. Oh well. I mean, it could buy food too, if you were hungry. And I never said you were violent."

"I meant volatile. I'm sure Deckard could use another night out. He gets lonely in the room. Cabin fever" Her feet hit the floor and she's about two steps away before she turns right back around, her hnad coming to rest on the stool she was sitting on. "I'm not intolerant. I'm not Volatile. I'm not mean or anything of the like. I'm just having a really bad week if not more. I am scared, I don't like swearing, I had to have my scooter destroyed because someone's tagged it. My get out of jail free card is dead somewhere. One of my homeless people got murdered all becuase I stopped by and helped her. Mary did nothing but just exist and someone killed her for it. I've run over a dead guy, i've healed a girl nearly whole for you guys and I kick myself at night wondering if i'd stayed five more minutes could I have given her back her hand. I'm living with two guys who have the hots for each other. I come when i'm called, I don't ask questions. I go to church on sunday's and pray that phoenix doesn't get raided or their ass blown sky high becuase they're the closest to family I had for a moment. I pray for my boss, because she gave me a job, that won't question if I can't show up for a shift and don't demand that I show my tits and my ass" booze is now running through her system.

"And I just now sat through you degrading me. Are you happy? Would you like a day in the life of abby list? I wake up at noon, I clean, I shower, I make sure the place looks fine for the guys, I play with the bird. I run errands, I visit my homeless people, make sure they have what they need, If it's wensday I drop by church. I do errands, get changed for work and head in at six. I work. It's how it was in the diner, it's how it is in the bar except it's better tips and no one actually dares to grab my ass. I come home, and I make breakfast for my dinner and the guys. Say my prayers and go to bed hopefully. And if you guys call, I go. I have a stack of redbull in my kitchen to grab so that no matter what i get taken to, I can help. That's a day in the life of abby Conrad. Where in there am I intolerant, and volatile, where in there am I mean?" Tears rim her eyes, but no threat of falling yet. "Where conrad. Tell me where"

"See," Con says, reaching over to put a hand on Abby's shoulder before she's gotten away. "That's better. Finish your drink." If the diatribe has any kind of effect on Conrad, it's impossible to tell from his expression. He says a little conspiratorially, "It looks really weird to people when you're obviously chewing my ass about something but they can't hear what you say. Look." He nods his head toward the co-eds he was leering at earlier, and they're staring, blinking. Con gives them a wave and they pretend not to be watching all of a sudden. It's like magic. "You happy with that life, kid?"

"I was happy before" Abby sits her ass back down on the seat, if only to make the co-ed stop looking. That and the drink is pulled back in front of her and she finishes it. "I may not be happy right now, I'm scared and i'm looking over my shoulder and every step is questionable as to whether some maniac is going to pop my skull and kill me. But i'm fine. God has reasons for everything and I have to trust that there's a reason that this has .. played out like it has. I have to have faith" She shoots a look to the co-eds again, then to Conrad, still flushed and wipes at her left eye.

Conrad reaches over and grabs some napkins out of a dispenser on the bar, and hands a couple to Abby. Then he puts a hand over one of hers and squeezes it. "It's okay, kid. You see, one of the differences between me and you is even if I think you're mean or hostile or any of that, it's not gonna keep me from watching out for you. I can tell you're good inside. You just need a little more positive attention than you get, I think. Incidentally if you need someone to watch your back or roll in for a rescue, call me. Helena does."

WArmth and tingling roll off her hand when Conrad touches her, on her face the bruises, what little remains start to fade a little more as the normally well controlled gift, seems to have gone a little uncontrolled at the moment. It's a brief touch, before she pulls her hand away when she can feel the pull. "I don't like to be touched. No offense" She folds the napkins in half, dabbing at her eyes, get rid of the dampness. "I have your number. And good inside, so what, i'm bad on the outside?" She dabs at the other eye, removing any trace of what just passed. The rest of the coke and rum is swallowed when she picks up the glass then puts it back down.

"Oh I get it. It was either that or hug you and I didn't wanna get bit." Con says with a grin. "Hey, you look a little better. Take the bottle with you when you leave." he says, nodding toward the rum. As he drinks from his own glass he adds, "You're gettin' better on the outside. Work in progress…"

"Can't take open alcohol out on the street Conrad" Abby answers. "I just don't, like being touched. I didn't always have control. Thank you though" see, she's gracious, but doens't move from the seat. The little purse up on the bar beside her glass which she slides beside him again. "I don't know what to do from here Conrad. God's not giving me answers, just keeps dropping thing after thing in my lap. People I know, who I help or are helping me, are dying and the one who could… protect me, he's dead. Felix Ivanov is dead. I'm safe in the apartment, with Teo and Alexander, but… work. I'm back to taking bus's and while my ID can get me in here, I doubt it's good enough to fool the DMV. or the IRS"

"You won't take an open bottle on the street, but you'll stay unregistered and use a fake ID. So why break one law but not the other? Take the bottle or I will." Conrad finishes his glass and goes about refilling it. "I have no idea who Felix Ivanov is, but I will tell you this. Best way to be protected is protect yourself. Why not try to figure out ways you can do that?"

"I can't justify why Conrad. It's my own little.." She shakes her head. "I'm terrified of waking up and people standing on my doorstep and begging to be healed. That i'll be considered… like /joan/. Well, he's not refilling hers so she puts a little bit in her glass and pulls it towards herself. "I have a shotgun" Lamely spoken in defense.

Big grin. "The thing that gets you compared to Joan is the God-squad thing. It's fine to be religious. Talking about it every two minutes is what convinces people you're crazy. God's not giving you answers because it's not his job to, kid. That's our problem." Con watches her have another drink and nods approvingly. Good. Drinking solves all problems. "I know you can heal people but can you use that power in other ways?"

"Dunno, never tried" She's ignoring the god thing. She grew up fed read and bathed the bible. "Jsut always.." She wriggles her fingers. She still flushed, though this time, not from being embarassed or unhappy.

"If you can give you can probably take away. Something to think about." remarks Con. "With me it's easier. I control sound. Took a lot of years to get to where I can use it like I can, though. Who knows what you'll learn to do." He finishes his glass again and pours a fresh one. By now the bottle's two thirds done for, and while he should be well on his way to drunk it isn't obvious with him sitting down.

"I don't rightly think that I would like to … leeach life Conrad. Thats not a nice thing to do" But then again, wanting to punch Brian in the nose… that wasn't a nice thing either. She eyes the whiskey in her glass and then lifts it to her mouth, swalling the two mouthfulls. Yup, there's that burn, memories of ironing. "I don't think my gift works that way. Was hard enough to wait til G.." There's a concious effort not to say that word, like Teo does with swearing. "It's taken long enough to get to where it is right now. I can't do it wihtout praying first"

"I dunno if you heard, but I'm getting us a new place to stay. Now, I know you're not in Phoenix anymore," Con's careful to lay down that disclaimer as he looks at Abby, "but if you end up needing a place to stay, like if the apartment you're sharing with Alex and Teo is unsafe or something, I'd open the doors for you." Yeah, not gonna get too deep into what powers can do or how to hurt people with them. Conrad himself doesn't often go for hurting people anyway.

'Another layer" Abby murmurs. "Another layer of protection. At this rate i'll be the safest person in the city. walking in the middle of the street with five people waiting for me to sneeze" it's ajoke, really. "Thank you. No, I didn't know. Teo doesn't talk about phoenix stuff around me. The deal for my get out of jail free card was that I would pass him anything I knew about umm, the dark haired asian guy's group. About any terrorists that I came across, becuase I don't think he believed me when I said I wasn't part of any group" She pushes her glass back to him, a motion to his drink set up. Might as well try what her customers drink. "I can say it, cause, he's dead. Which is good, because teo et al called me to where they stowed away the teenager on that list" She looks at him. "You do know.. about that yes?"

"Nope. Not a clue." replies Conrad honestly, taking the hint and filling Abby's glass for her.

"Controls birds. She's stowed somewhere, you need ot talk to teo, she can't be any older than.. 15, 16? Eileen. I fed birds with her a week or so ago, her of all people. I woulda have stayed the other night after they had me heal her conrad, three men, and just her… You really didn't know?" She's utterly surprised.

A shrug and Con says, "Hey, I'm busy. And no, I didn't know. What did they kidnap her?" He says that as if he's kidding and doesn't expect it to be true. Then slides Abby's new drink to her.

"Yes conrad. They did" The drink is taken, but she doesn't touch it, not yet. "Alexander almost lost his eye and would have if I hadn't come, Brian got smacked in the jaw and she.. concussion but there was the start of swelling. They seriously didn't even leave you a message?"

Stare. "You're serious." Conrad scowls and drinks. And scowls some more. "Well it's not like they have to check with me on everything. That's not the issue. I'm just not sure I like kidnapping girls."

You say, "Just, you usually… know everyhting" Now she's trying out the gin and whatever, a sip to see if she'll even tolerate it, let alone like it. "She needs to be like, forcefed, Healing was going somewhere else in her too, I think towards her lungs, or was start too, I wasn't done, but I was done enough to get rid of what they did to her. They were trying to keep her from seeing my face but if something happens, call. And you need to have a female there. I'd feel better if there was a female there. Men.. men are intimidating""

Shaking his head some more, Con sets his glass down and says, "All right. Well, I'm pretty good at being on top of what's going on but this one slipped me. Thanks, Abs." He points at the wad of money on the bar and says, "That'll pay for everything. Keep the rest or give it away. I don't care. Hate to skip on you but I gotta see what's going on here."

"I should go too" She's only nursed the drink but it's pushed away, her purse grabbed and standing up with much wobble. Thank god their flats. "This isn't.. my kind of place. I'm really underdressed and.. this is the nicest stuff I own" Her own twenty is slipped back into her purse. "Just.. just make sure she's not treated bad. I don't care if she really was/is part of a group of monsters. You guys aren't"

"No. Nobody's doing anything bad to her. Not if I can help it." insists Conrad. He tosses off a wave to Abby and says as he turns to go, "Keep in touch if you need anything. Later, kid."

December 4th: On a Park Bench
December 4th: Heeeey Lady!
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