2007-09-23: An Apology And A Half


Nathan_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: Nathan visits Peter at work for strategic talking purposes.

Date It Happened: September 23rd, 2007

An Apology And A Half

East Village, NYC - Enlightenment Books

The bookstore has been open for a couple hours, at this point. Peter's standing behind the counter, helping a young woman relinquish her cash for a bag full of books (on palm reading). She turns and leaves, opening the door and ringing the bell in the corner as she heads outside. There's another person looking through the section of alien abductions, but he's not even picked out a book yet. A regular— he must spend half his paycheck on the books he buys here. Retail had never been his preferred line of work, but only when the customers turn away does his hint of a smile fade into something more serious. Forehead lined, jaw set, he's obviously bothered by someone as he takes his seat again and begins to flip through a book he brought to work to look through when things slowed— like now.

Considering the amount of unexpected visits Nathan gets at his work, it's only fair he share the phenomena. Even though he'd been somewhat reluctant to step back into Enlightenment Books ever since his disaster at helping Cass for a day - or rather, a quarter of an hour - Nathan finds himself pushing open the door. He's dressed like a senatorial candidate should be, minus a tie and top shirt button undone. In addition, he wears a trenchcoat over his suit to protect from the chilly bite of a deepening autumn, rain coming down in a powder-fine drizzle outside. He casts a glance to the one customer within the store with a little bit of a narrowed, wary look, before glancing towards the desk only to see his brother seated there. "Hey," he says, shutting the door behind him. "Busy day?" Unless Peter has extensive dusting to do, Nathan can guess the answer as he takes a further step inside.

At the bell, Peter glances up— and looks stunned to see his brother stepping inside. Unexpected visit. After the stunned look passes, he grimaces, putting his book down and opening his mouth as if to say a greeting— but it never ends up coming out. Usually, he would welcome a new customer into Enlightenment Books, but this is not the case. For one, it's unlikely he's a customer, and for two… It's his brother. And they haven't seen each other since the meeting after his arrest. Cyprus handed the bail out and all the important stuff. "Hey," is what he finally says, the only greeting his brother gets at first. "Not right now— was busier when we first opened, and I'm sure it'll increase again…" It's an awkward response, really. His eyes slide down, a worried look on his face.

Hands in his pockets, Nathan just sort of strolls on over, studying Peter a little. "Yeah, it can get crazy in here," he says. In more ways than one, and he manages barely not to— no, never mind, he does cast a meaningful glance over to the lone customer who has taken out a handbook on alien telepathy protection that extends past the mere tinfoil hat. "Cass not in right now?" Small talk! Because though he covers it better than Peter does, Nathan is just a little awkward too, absently picking up a for-sale tassled bookmark which— on second glance has karma sutra position images on it so he sets that one down again.

Where as his brother's awkwardness is more easily disguised, Peter's playing with the cuff of his long sleeve a little much, avoiding direct eye contact even when asked simple questions, like if his boss is around. "Not right now. She'll probably be back, or you can call her if it's an emergency," he explains, now glancing up quietly and casting him a brief look. It doesn't last too long. "Come to get more tie advice?" In some ways it'll almost be a relief if his brother came to see someone else in this store instead of him, but… There's hesitation, then he looks back up again. With some wideness in his eyes, it's very much like he's trying to apologize without saying much.

"Funny. No." Nathan looks back at Peter just as he's hit with that wider eyed look, and his shoulders slump just a little. "Okay, look. I…" There's a shuffle from where the customer is still arranging his way through books, and Nathan looks back at him, impatience written all over him. He holds up a hand and says to Peter, "Just a sec." He's going in.

This is why Nathan can't ever be a bookstore employee. He hates time-wasters, and bookstores are designed for them.

"Okay, that book you're holding?" he says, stepping a little closer, earning the customer's startled attention. "That's…" It has a hologram on the front, and it sparkles. Nathan smiles. "That's a great book for you. Truly. Why don't you let my brother ring it up and you can— be on your way."

"But I'm not… oh, hey, aren't you that guy who's running for— "

"Correct. The counter's right over here, sir."

There's only a little hesitation, before the man kind of just smiles back and shuffles on towards the counter to get his purchase rung up, taking out his wallet. "I've been wanting this one anyway," he mumbles, sheepishly.

Yes, this is a big difference between the two of them. Peter'd be willing to allow him to read the book a while longer if he wanted to— and would only try to shoo him into buying it if it looked as if he were taking notes from it, or actually just reading the whole thing in the store. He's pretty lenient like that. But then his brother steps in and takes charge. Eyebrows raised, he takes the money and bags the book, "Thank you for shopping with us again," he adds to the man. That's the other reason he'd allow him to waste time— he's here pretty much once a week buying something. Once the man is out the door, with book purchased, he looks towards Nathan. "Why are you here?" he asks directly, as soon as the door has settled back into place, the bell tinging slightly.

There we go. Isn't that better. Really, he did only usher the man out the door so they could speak freely - such as with Peter's more direct question. Nathan wanders back towards the desk now that the sale is made, leaning against it a little and casting a glance towards the cash register he'd almost broken, that Peter had just used without incident. "I came to see how you are," he says, sliding his gaze back towards Peter. "How was the holding cell?" Even though he'd only spent a night, he'd still spent a night.

It does allow him to speak a little more freely, sure, but Peter's eyes lower when his brother says he came to see him. Not a single incident with the cash register. He handled it like a pro, in fact— which probably isn't anything to be too proud of. "It was a holding cell. Didn't get much sleep— wasn't as comfortable as the holding cell in Odessa," he adds with a shrug. He'd not been charged with anything, so they'd given him a slightly more private room, making it closer to when he'd been held by the Company. "I— " he starts, then cuts off, hesitates. "I didn't mean to cause you… problems, Nathan."

There's pride in not spilling money all over everywhere. Appreciate the small things. A miniature joke-gift Tarot card deck is picked up, just to fidget with, Nathan not really looking at what he's doing despite his eyes trained on it. "Yeah, I know you didn't," he says, weariness now obvious in his tone of voice. "Which is why I shouldn't've…" He's not good at this apologising thing, as a general rule. "You don't act entitled. I didn't mean that part." There's a hint of an emphasis on the word 'that', because he sure as hell meant some of it.

Not spilling money all over the place is good, yes. Peter doesn't think too much about it right now, because he's waiting to see what his brother has to say to his sort-of apology. "I sometimes do," he says softly, glancing down at the counter between them. There's a long moment until he starts to move, abandoning his post and moving around to stand in front of it. He looks up at his brother quietly again, reaching out to touch the sleeve of his coat. "I'm sorry. I hope this doesn't… hurt your polling too much." Because that's important, isn't it? Since he doesn't want to drop out of the race and all.

The tiny card deck is left alone before he inadvertently rips it, or something, as Peter moves back around the counter, Nathan regarding him with just a hint of amusement, a slight twist of a smirk. "Yeah, sometimes," he agrees, lightly, before shrugging a little. "You'd be surprised about how these things work out." His hands gravitate towards Peter's shoulders in a casual but still strong grip. "Maybe it'll end up making me look good when I stand by you without condoning your behaviour. Worked before." His hands squeeze a little as he meets Peter's gaze directly. "I wanna win this." Hard to say if he's confirming to Peter what had previously been almost uncertain, or if he's even asking for permission from someone who knows a possible outcome, or maybe just asking for support, but whatever the reason, there's quiet conviction.

The returned touch seems to give his spirits a boost almost immediately. Peter meets his brother's eyes, and then moves in to hug him with one arm. A firm hug, one that looks over his shoulder. "I wouldn't support what I did, either. If your speech writers want me to make a public statement in regards to what happened, I will." Since they'd already decided to plead guilty to lesser charges— even if his date is set before the election, it could wait that long, if his lawyer adviced for it. "I'll stand by you, too. If this is what you want to do."

Nathan hugs back, a hand resting at the nape of Peter's neck, before giving a rough chuckle, quiet but audible at this range. "That was my next question," he says, drawing back from the hug with a hand still lingering on Peter's arm. "I was going to try and handle it myself but I got advisors suggesting we both tackle it. You give a statement, I hang around to take care of some questions…" Shrug, hand falling away to return to the pocket of his coat. "Thanks."

"Yeah— probably best not to let me answer questions," Peter says with a hint of a laugh— just a hint. When his brother's hand pulls away, so too does his, staying on his arm, but no longer around him. This keeps him from pulling back, while they still have some privacy. Isn't likely to last long, though. "Just let me know when and what you want me to say— and you might want to clear it by Donovan first too— just to make sure it doesn't damage the case he's building in my favor." Even if he's pleading guilty, they don't want to get the charges raised. Misdemeanors are much easier to live with than a felony.

"I know, I'll be working with Donovan on this," Nathan agrees with a nod. "Careful balance between admitting you're wrong but not too wrong." A mild smile, a hint of a politician-y kind in there, before he claps a hand against Peter's shoulder. "I'll keep you posted, okay?" He starts to head for the door, hesitates, then glances back at the cash register. "And be careful with that thing, it's liable to…" He pauses, looks at Peter. "… never mind. Say hi to Cass for me?" Back towards his journey for the door.

There's a pause, but both his brother and his lawyer know that he'd rather leave his mental health out of this if possible, so he doesn't bring it up again. Peter can protest it if it's part of his offical statement later. "Yeah— keep me posted on it. You know where to find me." Here, home, cellphone… he's not difficult to get into contact with. When his brother references the register, he glances at it, eyebrows raising. "Liable to what?" he tries to ask, even after the man dismisses it. But… maybe he'll allow it to be dismissed, "Yeah, I'll say hi to her for you." He'll watch his brother leave before he returns to his place behind the counter.

Yeah Nathan's thought better about clarifying. "Just liable," are his parting words, before closing the door shut behind him with a final ting of the bell.

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