2010-03-25: Be(w)affled



Date: March 25th, 2010


Following or random happenstance occurs when Laurie catches Maggie in the act of having a hobby outside of work. And, little does Maggie know, it's International Waffle Day.


East Village, NYC

Welcome to the East Village. More specifically, welcome to this particular street corner: personifying the colorful, artsy, rock 'n' roll vibe this area can be known for, it's made up of art stores and little hideaway art galleries. Across the street is a variety of interesting cafes and restaurants.

It's not exactly the part of the city most people would expect to find Detective Maggie Powers on her rare off-hours; then again, virtually no one knows her outside of the station here in New York. But it's here, in a graffiti-covered store — the large pane of glass making up its window identifying it as THE ART SHA K — that Maggie happens to be this afternoon.

From out front, the blonde woman in the worn leather jacket looks to be in a silent movie, speaking animatedly with a woman about fifteen years her junior, covered in a rainbow of tattoos and wearing an Art Shack apron. Maggie's gestures are cut off when the employee shoves a tall stack of canvasses at her, followed by a rapidfire piling of boxes of acrylic paint, paint brushes, and sundry other supplies until her arms are full; in fact, they're overflowing in time, and she awkwardly lurches ahead, clambering to keep everything upright. Instead, half the stuff falls everywhere.

Most of what tumbles down is from the top, loose paintbrushes here and there, a couple of plastic palettes, a can of spray fix-it — noisy and inconvenient, but nothing that would be overly harmed by the fall. It isn't until, on the verge of Maggie's balance returning, one of the jars of acrylic base tips out of its box that it seems a major mess is on the way. But then, halfway to the floor, the container of Golden red light is diverted by a hand scooping down to catch it. Getting the paint into a good grasp with three fingers, the suddenly appearing Laurie uses the remaining two and his other hand to get the burden left in Maggie's arms around both sides to make sure it all stays level while she recovers.

Having come up from a duck for that first catch, the taller man's view remains blocked by all those canvases, those remaining boxes. He appears to not be aware of his familiarity with the woman at all. "Now, now," he scolds, possibly to the escaping supplies, "This won't do at all."

As Maggie tries to balance the rest of the precarious mishmash, the art store employee ducks down to help retrieve the items, but most of her attention is on chattering at great length on the new "Buddha bamboo paintbrushes" they just got in, oblivious to the customer's continuing woes.

Maggie is, thus, thankful when the paint is saved from splattering and her remaining stack of stuff is suddenly in less danger. She's a fairly strong woman, but she only has so many arms. "Thank— "

Hang on. Maggie leans around the stack of boxes in her arms, peering at the man. Why, that's not some random customer. Her eyes fly open wide, their bright blue illuminating with surprise. She looks immediately guilty — not unlike a child who's been caught doing something naughty. Even when she makes an attempt to regain her composure, standing up straighter, blinking, closing her mouth that was suddenly open, she still looks guilty, just less the misbehaving child and more the detective who has broken some cardinal rule. Which is silly. Of course it's silly. "Miles? What are— a-are you, are you following me?"

The man is not a random customer shows absolutely no reaction to the one his appearance has caused in her. Laurie, in fact, spends most of the time glancing at where the rest of her fallen supplies have gone; he puts out a foot to gently stop the spray can from getting too far away. It isn't until his name is emphasized so specifically that the whimsical consultant steadies his own weight and graces Maggie with a more attentive look. Rolling his lips together, he contemplates the question for a squinty second before: "Yes." Beat. "No?" Since she is capable of carrying the things now, his hands drop. The jar of Golden paint is spun idly in the air. "Do you find following to be complimentary, or random happenstance to be intriguing?"

He poses the question seriously enough — which is probably her first hint that he isn't serious at all. The second hint being that he isn't breaking out in hives at the idea of solemnity. Laurie also doesn't wait exactly long enough for an answer choosing to, instead, crease his forehead thoughtfully and continue, "Are you not going to thank me now that you know me?"

For a moment, Maggie matches Laurie's squint. The narrowing of her eyes, however, only expresses the fact that she's not entirely sure how to answer his first question, serious or not. The second— "I. No." Beat. "Yes." Distracted by the shuffling approach of the employee, she just manages to raise a hand around the pile of art supplies to give her a "please oh god stop" signal when she looms with a fistful of brushes and all else that toppled. She gives the girl a genial smile, however, and moves toward the cash register, inching along like a sidewinder until she reaches the counter to set her load down.

Her back turned to Laurie as she slides the art supplies toward the employee who scurries to the register, she says "Thanks Miles." There is a hint of a mockery to Maggie's tone, a small smirk on her lips despite being thrown off-guard and rather out of her comfort zone — work isn't supposed to follow her into an art store. She turns about and holds her hand out for the spray can. "Following is reserved for stalking," she decides. "Random happenstance is … it's strange. Coincidence is creepy."

Since it's so topical, Laurie goes ahead and follows Maggie to the register — though he does so not in a straight line but by ambling around as many obstacles as he can realistically create for himself in the small store. "You're welcome, Powers." He can play the sarcasm game, too, though the focus is on their choice of address. As he strolls up next to her, right up to that waiting hand, he opts to decline on handing over the spray can right away. Instead, he leans to the side to plant an elbow on the register counter and regards her while running a thumb under the name-brand of said spray. "How very… negative connotation of you. And, anyway, if I had been following you, I wouldn't be doing a very good job popping up in front of you." His mouth screws to the side in exaggerated pondering as he twists to regard the area where they just walked from.

But when he's looking, he seems to gaze right past the spot. In fact, he spies right past the graffiti on the outside window and onto the street. Something out there is so utterly distracting that he not only forgets to keep pushing his train of thought, but also slips his arm to the side to go ahead and pass over the previously denied spray can.

Maggie's palm snaps shut, denied the spray can at first, and she quirks her eyebrows up as she tries to catch sight of whatever has Laurie's attention on the street. There's really no telling; a fire hydrant, a taxi, a store, a pigeon, she can't quite tell what might interest the man. "Then what're you doing here?" That would be curiosity, not anything reproachful, though the lilt of the detective's tone to separate the two is slight.

She snatches spray can after all and holds it up for a moment before placing it with the rest of her supplies. "Looking for spray fix-it?" she asks him while digging a wallet out of the satchel hanging off her shoulder to pay for everything. A tall order, it's basically everything one would need to delve into the world of painting — or to seriously restock. Is Laurie even paying attention?

There's some people on the street, mostly passing by, and one group of older gentlemen loitering outside of an old neighborhood grocery store. They don't exactly look the kind to be purchasing Korean deli or anything. But, even as Laurie continues to watch, the view of the gentlemen becomes altogether blocked by a large boxy yellow vehicle: a truck. It's reminiscent of an ice-cream truck, but there's no accompanying music. As it pulls to a stop at the corner of the street, the license plate reads visibly: WAFEL.

"That." Laurie declares with suspiciously sudden triumph. But, since it's a food-related item, maybe it's not so suspicious, after all… He could really be no deeper than waiting for a… a waffle truck. "Get your guilty pleasure paid for, and then I will make you indulge in mine." He bids Maggie, turning to the counter again to give her a quick pat on the arm that's got the wallet. Without waiting for her to refuse or accept, he pushes away from the spot and wanders to the front of the store — presumably to wait on her. Or waffles. Whichever becomes more important faster.

Maggie has time to do not one, but two double-takes: one at Laurie, one at the yellow truck that is the object of his affection. Blinking, and now minus a chunk of money, she retrieves both her debit card and her mass amount of supplies — thankfully bagged — and soon turns away from the art store counter and its art-covered employee. Given the canvasses — some of which are a fair size — jutting out of one bag, her burdens are awkward. New purchases rustling all the way, she trudges around the small store and carries them without complaint and without incident.

It's not long at all before she's syncing in next to Laurie, but her eyes are on the truck on the street. She squints, partly due to the sun, and partly due to the equally sunny WAFEL vehicle. "Is… is that a waffle truck?" The concept is foreign and, apparently, bewildering. Maggie may be fairly worldly, but she's still from Wyoming. "You were stalking a waffle truck?"

"Sure." He sounds rather pleased that she's come to this conclusion, poised holding the door for her and her cumbersome bags. "And that is, indeed, a waffle truck. And since this is your first time, might I say that the Waffle of Massive Deliciousness is made particularly for those who don't know what they like yet." Laurie beckons her start across the street, the other side of which is beginning to get a fair amount of attention. It seems some people had previously looked up where the truck would be next and staked out the spot, much like Maggie's accused Laurie of doing.

While she's ahead of him, and distracted by waffles, his eyes track back in the direction of that grocery store. The gentlemen are gone; perhaps they were chased away by the idea of a crowd forming. Or maybe they hate waffles, the cold-hearted bastards.

Seeing this, Laurie shakes the feeling and jogs to catch up the distance to the waiting vehicle and to Maggie's side. "So, you caught me," he chirps happily, despite the subject matter of the seeming confession, "I like food. Of every kind. It's a great game to eat something that's world-renowned and attempt to guess what goes into it. Okay," he indicates the bags of art supplies, "Your turn."

Maggie is, indeed, distracted by the waffles, and finds herself wandering toward the truck and its forming crowd. But her entire shuffle out of the store and across the street is tainted by reluctance and many glances over her shoulder at Laurie. If she notices his straying eyes, she makes no point of it. When did she get talked into waffles? Of massive deliciousness? That's what she gets by being drawn in by the bright yellow curiosity. "What," she voices once she comes to a stop. She looks down at her many bags, then at Miles, trying to mask her sheepishness. "I have a hobby." Not so detailed as Laurie's food proclamation. "I'm allowed to have a hobby. You're allowed make a guessing game out of eating. How do you know if you're right, by the way? Do you ask the chef to give away his secrets?"

Seems Laurie just has this way of getting people to go along with things. It helps that waffles are particularly awesome, and the truck is particularly yellow. Sliding into the quickly forming, chattering line, the consultant glances sideways at his b(w)affled company. His hands slide into his trench-coat pockets, letting his arms relax at his sides. With this casual posture, he offers her a vague shrug. "Of course, you're allowed." A momentary break from the pocket happens when he raises one hand to describe a couple of circles in the air in front of Maggie's face. If anyone were paying close enough attention, he'd be tracing key areas where emotional ticks happen. "But the kind of hobbies that do this involve getting carded and safe words." The hand slides into the warmth of the coat again as he scoffs at her suggestion with a 'tsh' noise. "I don't think even I could talk a chef out of that. No. You just taste it until it's the same."

Behind the circles which point out the little signs of strain to her features, Maggie presses her lips into a taut frown. All those key emotional points becoming that much more pronounced. "…I just like to keep my art… private," she answers after a spell. She shifts ahead as the crowd thins ever-so-slightly ahead of them, but keeps her attention on Laurie, her frown stretching uncomfortably into a bemused smile. "Not safe word private… just…" She shifts one bag hand-to-hand and adjusts the strap of her satchel (not to be mistaken for something so fashionable as a purse). " …separate. From everything else."

"That's understandable." Laurie decides after only the slightest second of pondering over her words. Then, head tilting, "The separate part. I'm still debating how one might make safe words necessary in painting." Eyebrows lifting over the nature of this endeavor, he turns mostly away from her to address the cheerful waffle-maker now accepting the orders of those right ahead of them. He isn't looking at the menu, so that isn't it; he's only sort of watching the people up ahead hem and haw over what toppings they want to include. Whichever the way, it seems he's perfectly content to let talking drop if that's how Maggie so chooses it.

"Not usually." After that, Maggie is silent, but continues to eye Laurie sidelong as if trying to figure out the piece of some puzzle she's missing; never mind that it was her who held out on information a moment before. She adjusts the awkward bags of art supplies no less than four times. Definitely taking a cab after this. Speaking of… "You know, I— " she breaks the silence, " — I don't really have hands for waffles," she says, lifting her bags in indication. "Maybe I'll skip the magical yellow waffle truck today."

"No, no, no, no," Well, that was certainly one way to get Laurie to pay attention to her again, bringing a hand to her back in that way he best guides people exactly where he wants them. "This is a moving magical yellow waffle truck. One day there, next day— " *poof* is what his hands indicate when he flares them away from each other, fingers spread. "Really, go on, go up. It's your turn. Over here, please!" The last he raises his voice to attract the waffle-seller, who quite obligingly and suddenly turns away from whatever he was doing to stare right at Maggie, politely expectant. Simultaneously, Laurie attempts to maneuver the hesitant woman to the counter in the side of the vehicle while, as she possibly passes, slipping an arm through some of those bag handles she's got. Should she not relinquish them, well, the two may end up arm-in-arm which would serve his purpose in helping her with the weight anyway.

Maggie — clearly not used to being led anywhere, and accustomed to carrying her own things… well, on her own — is forced to shamble stiffly all the way to the truck, blinking blue eyes in bewilderment at the waffle-maker, not to be mistaken for a waffle-iron. Not so fast to relinquish her bag, she clings to it out of habit. "I— hello!" she chirps to the man in the waffle truck, her hesitant features brightening into a warm and courteous smile. Meanwhile, she actually surrenders her bag to Laurie with a ferocious rustle of plastic and sidesteps. "I'm told you have a Waffle of Massive Deliciousness." As soon as the words leave her mouth, she looks to Laurie. "That better be a real thing…"

Laurie appears deceptively comfortable with whatever happens, leading him to have to step up next to Maggie when she starts out stubborn about her shopping bags, and the smile on his face making it seem as though this is perfectly natural for them. The waffle-vender/maker/not-iron returns her smile ten-fold, as service workers are wont to doing when they aren't totally bitter on the inside, and glances knowingly between them. At least, what he thinks he knows about the two standing there, sharing bags and banter. Lowering his own voice conspiratorially, Laurie leans into her look. "Where have you found a waffle that wasn't massively delicious?"

It is also, however, a real thing. One that offers as many toppings as one may want to save those indecisive people from having to limit themselves, and all for only $7 — a dollar amount that mysteriously appears on the counter even before Maggie has even actually agreed to test this item.

"I think my repertoire is a little limited. But I guess you're right. It's kind of egotistical, though, for a waffle." Relieved to discover that the "delicious" moniker is attached to a real menu item, Maggie smiles all the more at the waffle-maker, still warm, even cheery, if tinged with a vaguely manic, over-the-top edge. She did, after all, see his knowing glances.

Her brows then arch upward at the $7. "You … really want me to eat this, don't you."

"We made it happen," Laurie explains cheerfully of the waffles' reputation, "Inviting them to be eaten for every meal in many restaurants. It's quite empowering." He remains either blissfully unaware, or aware, of the impression being made about them by this innocent waffle-observer. Watching her face, he chuckles a bit. "Do I? Perhaps I'm only manifesting the part of you that really wants you to eat this. Tell me one reason why you shouldn't and I'll tell you about the types of personalities that don't exhibit enough spontaneity in their lifestyles." The $7 is soon joined by another, this time as Laurie visibly slaps it down on the counter. He doesn't give an order, only loiters around long enough to be, unprompted, handed a waffle creation elaborately slathered in whipped cream, strawberries, and chocolate sauce. "Your call, Maggie Powers," he announces, drawing the berry-chocolate-cream-waffle to himself decisively.

Maggie stares, quite outright, at Laurie. She may be no stranger to that particular type of babble, but it seems out of place beside the magical waffle truck. "… Hey! I have spontaneity!" She doth protesteth too much. Blinking, again, at the monstrosity massive deliciousness Laurie has in hand, she turns back to the counter, her brows lowering in a determination too dramatic for waffles. "Okay!" She slides the remaining $7 closer to the waffle-maker. "How could I resist."


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