2009-09-30: Close Encounters



Date: September 30, 2009


A night of new connections formed, old connections continued or renewed, near misses, and some things that defy classification.

"Close Encounters"

Oldcastle Pub and Restaurant, Lower Manhattan

Charlotte Corday only had to walk into the bar to get the job. Her amiable personality, dimpled cheeks and long list of experiences - including some random bout of Public Relations? - landed her the position. A few hours and the cooks loved her, as well as the tender. This gave her the trust of the juke box, which she now excersizes as she swings through the bar and resteraunt. Brandy, you're a fine girl. What a good wife you would be. But my life, my love, and my lady are the sea… it plays from the box, and Charlotte sings to it, spinning in her heeled loafers, black pants, little black apron, and pink button down. A notepad is in her breast pocket. At night ,when the bars close down, Brandy walks through a silent town and loves a man who'se not around. She still can hear him say….

"Hi!" Charlotte perks with her dimpled smile to a newly-entered customer, delivering a beer happily to an off-duty cop.

Emma pushes open the door. Well, she's an off-duty cop too.. sorta. She actually backs up a bit at the perky greeting, barely managing to stifle the reaction. She tilts her head, as if assessing something, then says in return, "Hello."

Charlotte's dimples never faulter as she greets Emma. "Hi, I'm Charlotte. Welcome, come on in and have a seat. Can I get you a menu?" She asks, but she doesn't wait for an answer. Already she is breezing between the tables without looking down, as though she'd been here all her life, to reach the menus and pluck one up. Truth of it all, most resteraunts have similar layouts. Been in enough, been in them all. "We have a meatloaf on special if you're interested."

With his own work shift to unwind from, and his SO busy multitasking halfway across town until late, Randall has instead chosen to duck down here and indulge a couple of other pursuits for a while. The obvious one is a musical performance together with Portia, out on the street near the front entrace of the bar; they've picked out Solveig's Song, with him doing a passable (if decidedly amateur) job on the cello, while she provides vocals. A handful of bills have been tossed into the open case next to his chair.

At the same time, a light show plays out in shades of bright purple and green. Alas, this facet of the performance only exists in his head.

Emma pauses a moment. She says, "Just coffee, please. Black coffee." She was told by some co-workers that this was a place they went, so.. she thought she should at least try socializing.

The door is open long enough for Charlotte to get a glance outside. She smiles, recognizing at least one form, and partially the other. "Coffee, sure thing," she murmers, stepping behind the bar and pouring the woman what she requests. "You know, I've never seen a woman drink her coffee straight black before. Seen it drank some fairly strange ways, mind you, but never just…black. There probably isn't a chocolate on this earth dark enough for you, is there?" She smiles sweetly to the woman. The problem with her smile is that it just radiates sincarity!

The girl outside is more than content to sing, accompanied by the cello near her. Portia, while singing, is up to her usual people-watching. There's no better way to have people to watch then to attract them straight to you, and just pure singing is something Portia rarely gets to do. Usually she's the one with the musical instrument. She gives a smile and a nod amidst song to a nearby observer as he drops a bill into the case on his way past them.

Bryan enters, looks around a moment, paying silent attention to every figure in the room, he then approaches the bar and leans upon it, awaiting the attendant.

Fel's just out for a drink afterwork, before he goes home. The wife let him know she and the kid'd be in Saint Petersburg for the moment - Mariska's determined not to have Sasha growing up speaking nothing but English, and Fel has uneasily concurred. So he's heading for the pub, dressed in one of his neat suits, though the music has him caught, pausing, to listen.

Even a person who hates beer just has to have one once in a while. Where better in NYC to get a beer than the Old Castle Pub, a little taste of classic Ireland right here in NYC in 2009. Of course, it might not be such a great place for Emily to go to, given what transpired less than a week ago, what with the heavy police presence in there. Ever the bold one, however, she decides that stepping out for a beer is necessary, even if she doesn't want a beer at all! She comes in off the street with a little bluster of wind, smoothing back her hair, straightening out her jacket, smoothing out the hem of her mid-thigh length blue dress, and slipping her handbag up higher onto her shoulder. She slides up to the farthest end of the bar, up onto a stool, sitting her bag at her feet, and waiting for the bartender, drink order already in mind. While she waits, she takes a look around, seeing if she can spot any of the few faces she's seen before.

As the pair of musicians outside the bar finishes up, Randall glances down at the case near his feet. "I could use a break," he says to Portia. "You feel like taking a break?" With the heel of one foot, he drags the case closer, as if nervous that someone might decide to take a penny instead of giving one - a likely story with such a strong police presence on display.

Portia glances down at the case as Randall shuts it, offering a bit of a nod to him before she looks over towards the doorway. "Yeah, a break could be nice. Refresh my throat a bit." She smiles. "Y'know.. thanks for doing this with me. I think I've been studying too hard lately, too."

Emma glances at the waitress, saying, "I.. never thought of that connection." thoughtfully. She takes the coffee, starting to drink it rapidly. The growing crowd seems to be making her uncomfortable.

Charlotte, ever the affectionate waitress, nods her head and reaches up to push a lock of chestnut back behind her ear. "Well if you'd like to explore that one a bit more, Michael, our chef, makes an excellent chocolate cake. Trust me," she nods to Emma, seeing a new body - Emily - at the end of the bar. She quickly makes her way down, picking up a roll of napkin/utensils and a menu as she goes. "Welcome to OldCastle. Can I get you started with a brew?" She's rather bouncy on her feet, but not overly perky.

Watching the musical show come to a close, Bryan notices the lady entering and then turns back to the bar as the bartender walks over to him.. "What'll you have?" The Bartender asks. The young man answers, "Just a rum and coke right now. Thanks." The bartender nods and takes off to take other orders.

Just before the case is shut, Fel drops a handful of dollar coins into it, the money scattering off the lining. He doesn't wait for acknowledgement, before he continues on into the pub.

The clicking of heels announces the brunette with light highlights coming onto the street. Her hair is swept back from the wind as she walks. Her eyes focused down on her cell phone. Wearing a jet black skirt and a dark red top, her eyebrows raise from whatever is on her screen. "Damn." She says as she slips the phone into her bag and looks up.

As she does, she sees spots her friend, younger sister. Portia. "Practicing for the Halloween party?" she says, grinning as she strides up to the pair of musicians. Kitty adjust her bag on her shoulder.

Emily looks away from the room and toward Charlotte long enough to give the woman her drink order. Looking right into Charlotte's eyes, almost creepily, straight-faced at first, but then breaking into a smile, she gives a nod. "Yes…and no. Drink, yes. Brew, no. I'll have a scotch, neat, even if this is an Irish pub. Make it a double if you like."

Charlotte nods easily to Emily with a dimpled smile, apparently unaffraid of the eye contact. "Sure thing," she says, having it poured in moments and returning to deliver it with a little coaster and everything. "No sweet tooths here tonight, from the looks of it, black coffee and scotch for the ladies'. I guess this really is a cop bar, hmm?" Charlotte asks, conversationally in earshot of both women as she begins to wipe clean the bar. "Guess a girl should feel fairly safe here."

Randall gives Felix a thumbs up and a silently-mouthed 'thanks', before scooping up the donations into a plastic bag and setting the cello in their place. "I know what you mean," he replies to Portia, "I've been stressing out myself trying to get a feel for the new place." Well, if he's going to accompany a teenager into a bar, at least he picked about the least suspicious place in town to go about it.

Fel settles in at the bar, taking off his glasses with a long, tired sigh, and wiping them clean with a scrap of napkin. And then he lifts a finger lazily at the bartender, to place an order for a jack and coke.

Bryan turns around where he can see the whole bar then smoothly takes a seat upon the barstool to his left. Silently pondering his new surroundings, New York City is a far hop from Haleyville, Alabama. Definitly nothing like he's used to. He tips the bartender for his drink as it comes to him, and takes a sip then, sighing, he sets it upon the bar.

When Charlotte brings the drink over, in a short, squat glass, Emily settles up. She makes no qualms about handing over a 20-dollar bill, folded into a V-shape long ways around her finger as she hands it to Charlotte. "Keep the change" she says, matter-of-factly, taking the glass in one hand, and spinning on the stool to watch the bar.

Emma gets her check, rising as she looks a little stiff, uncomfortable. But something.. or someone at the bar catches her eye. Too bad there's so many.. ugh.. people between her and this person. Well, that's what people who aren't lab rats are for. She turns, preparing to go to the door, leaving a tip.

Portia peers around as she heads inside, giving a bit of a nod to Randall. "Well, don't stress out. That doesn't help anyone. Music is a great stress relief.. even though sometimes that's what's causing the stress. Sometimes I confuse even myself." She states, grinning slightly.

WEll! She must not be that good of a waitress. IT's no matter - she's been in orphanages for too long. At least she needs to get back on track. Charlotte nods to both women, letting them be and taking the money, settling their bills.

Through the window she's able to see Randall and Portia as they come in. She smirks, immediatly moving to pour two Irish coffees for them, watching for wherever they might sit.

Emma. He knows her from work - doesn't he? Fel's nursing the jack and coke, and peering over at her in perplexity. Tentatively, he waves at her.

Ok.. the young CEO enters the bar as well and sits on one of the barstools. Not to far from Emily or Bryan. Her hair is ruffled and she looks at the menu. "Alrighty.. I'll have a tea. Yes please." She says to the bartender, who gives her a strange look. She came in.. for a tea?

Kitty's eyes travel around the place and she spots Felix, he receives a light grin and she waves a little.

Emma pauses in her very direct pat at the tentative wave. Being perceptive is, well, one of her job skills. She walks over toward the table, saying in her generally curiously even toned voice, "Good evening, Detective Ivanov." she glances once again toward the bar, her attention focused, probably to a creepy extent if noticed, on one figure seated there.

Bryan recognizes Emma as she makes her way towards the door, but he doesn't know her at least personally. And being the rookie of the force, he doesn't wanna make anyone think he's strange so, he pointedly says nothing.

"Agent Ivanov," Fel corrects, but his tone is very mild. HE lifts his glass to her in salute. "I'm ashamed to admit I don't recall your name, but I've seen you around HQ…."

Randall looks around the bar, ducking to one side for a moment as Emily passes by; he spots Charlotte first and the drinks second, nodding to Portia and heading over in that direction. "Hey! Haven't seen you in forever— kind of figured the old gig would've dried up a while back." That tends to happen when the entire place of business goes kablooie, yes.

Emma nods at the correction, saying, "Agent Ivanov." she doesn't look very surprised about her name. She says, "Spenser. I'm in the Forensics Lab." her voice gets just a touch lower, not that she's really the loud type. "I am currently working on the Tabla Restaurant case."

Charlotte smiles to Randall and Portia as she hands them the coffees. "On the house for old friends," she explains, and yes, she walks around the bar to give Randall a hug. Deal with it! "Yes, things did become rather complex at my old employer's….lots of drama." Best way to describe it.

Emily is at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to being recognized. Sure the tapes might've made it onto the news, but she's been watching regularly and seen nothing. Seems that it's still in internal review for the moment, before the police decides to do with it. When Emma looks over at her, she stares back, unflinching. The tech might know her, but she doesnt' know the tech. From the bar, Emily gives a wry, knowing smile, and finger waves to Emma, seeing how tense and nervous the woman is, waiting to see her reaction to that.

Felix winces a little at that. "How's that going? That sounded like a weird one. I'm not assigned to it," -yet-, his tone implies. "Spenser," he adds, as if committing that one to memory. "Glad to meet you."

Portia heads after Randall, moving to take a seat as she notes the two catching up. Well, she's not going to snoop. She's not invisible at the moment, after all! Glancing towards the rest of the pub, she slowly just seems to take everything in.

Emma's eyes narrow a touch, perhaps confusion, at Emily's weird wave. She turns back to the table, saying, "It has taken a rather different term. The officer may have been working with, or somehow coerced by another party." her voice kept low. She glances back toward the bar, "Who may be here." she notes, "We don't have anything conclusive, other than she escaped custody after a shoplifting attempt, however."

Bryan looks over to Emily, he doens't recognize her but from the glances he's getting from Emma's direction he feels that Emma definitly knows her. And it doesn't seem like their old friends. He then turns back to Emily, extending his right hand to her, "I don't believe we've met, my name's Bryan," he says with a smile.

By the way his brow ladders in confusion, that's bewildered Fel. "What….do you mean?" he wonders, more quietly. He glances around the bar a little, and then looks back to Emma for further explanation.

Randall is caught off guard by Charlotte's hug, but recovers after a second and returns it in kind. "Yeah, that's pretty much what I heard," he replies after drawing back agian. "There was some drama closer to here, too, but I think we're past it by now. I hope." With that, he reaches for his coffee and tries a sip. "Hey, this is pretty good, is that mint?"

Receiving her tea, Kitty takes a drink from her drink and she sets it on the bar. Her legs are crossed and she cracks her neck from side to side. The young woman draws idly with her finger on the bar.

The woman checks her phone again, receiving another text message. She grins and shakes her head.

Portia proceeds to sip from her own coffee, blinking a little at it after a moment. Good stuff. She proceeds to take another sip. "Good for the throat." She states, half to herself as she continues to observe the area. Oh, and there's Kitty. She proceeds to offer a wave… except it's not seen, as Kitty's looking at her texts. Then the girl gets the bright idea to text herself. She pulls out her phone, typing in a message before looking expectantly in Kitty's direction.

Emma pauses, "It would be difficult to explain without the tape." she says, thoughtfully. "The officer in the case, he picked up that woman.." she indicates, only with a glance, Emily at the bar, "for a shoplifting charge. It seems he left her cuffs deliberately loose, and she escaped right as he arrived at the restaurant, right before the.. incident."

It should be of no surprise that Cahrlotte is a hugger! She steps back, letting Randall go to his drink while she sets a hand easily on her hip and twists in a light motion while standing stationary. "It's an Irish Coffee," she explains with a dimpled grin. "Just don't drink it too fast, or you…well, you do remember how we met, right?" Drunken teleporting!

Felix lowers his voice, trying not to make it plain that half his attention's now on Emily. "But she wasn't present? How do we know that's her?"


Kitty blinks and snickers as she reads the text from Portia. Her response: Hey! I saw yu wit that guy, forgot his name, Randy or something? Sounded good out there.


Kit looks up towards Portia and winks.

Emma says, thoughtfully. "Actually, the time of the tape would indicate that she was in the car, at the parking lot, while he was.. in the restaurant. If the time is correct, she left just after.. his suicide." then she says, flatly, "She didn't make the slightest attempt to conceal her identity on the tape. The last thing she did before exiting the vehicle was.." she pauses, then finishes, "to blow a kiss toward the camera."

Randall nods to Charlotte, glancing down at his mug with newfound respect. "How could I forget Disneyland?" he answers, followed by another long-ish sip to cover up the poker face he doesn't have. He doesn't bat an eye at Portia's drink, though, unaware that it's the same type as his own.

Portia peers back over towards Kitty, sipping her coffee as she looks back down at her texts. She proceeds to text back before looking around again. Thanks. He's Randall. Short and sweet. And she refuses to use the atrocious abbreviations and numbers that are considered 'words' in texting nowadays. She does glance over at Randall and Charlotte. "Disneyland?"

Felix wonders, with perhaps excessive casualness, "They got her listed as a POI in that one? Maybe you should call in a couple of uniforms, have her brought in."

Caught in the moment, Charlotte turns to Portia with a smile. "We…met in Disneyland a few years back. Sort of re-connected here in New York," she explains as best she can, eyes dancing with amusement as she looks up at Randall. "Hey, take it easy on that stuff. I was serious."

Emily watches Emma closely, the really hush-hush conversation between her and Felix intriguing. The way Emma narrowed her eyes toward her, then promptly turned away to have that conversation is a really interesting reaction. Sipping from the glass of scotch, crossing her legs at the bar, and running a hand up and down the smooth skin, she keeps watchign intently.

Kit looks down at the text and replies: I'll come join? WHAT ARE YOU DRINKING?! The text is sent back fast and she looks at Portia with a raised eyebrow as she takes a sip from her tea.

Emma says, thoughtfully, "She should be. At the very least, she escaped custody while being taken in for a shoplifting charge." she notes quietly. She gets bumped by a patron, jerking away quickly. Her voice gets flatter as her discomfort increases. She says, "I should get back to the lab. If you want to look over the tapes, I'm sure you can get some kind of authorization. This.." she looks around and says, in supreme understatement, "Isn't my venue."

Bryan obvisouly being ignored, shrugs, retracts his hand, returns to his drink, and chugs another big sip.

Felix says, with a sigh that's almost regretful, "Local problem, not Federal. But I'll call it in. I'll talk to the higherups. Weirdness aside, that murder-suicide's still a local case. No such thing as the X-files," he adds, deadpan.

Emma looks a little confused, "I would suppose if they do not exist, then it isn't something I'm working on." she decides, apparently having no clue what that is. "Good evening, Agent Ivanov." she says, spinning on her heel as she walks away from the table, and toward the door with the closest thing she comes to a gracious farewell.

The girl blinks a little at the idea. "That's kinda cool. Disneyland's a fun place to meet people." Portia smiles. "Cool.. but random." She glances at her phone as it blinks, displaying the text message. She blinks, shaking her head a little at Kitty. Sure, you can come over. And it's coffee. Useful after singing for a while, too. She texts.

Eventually, as Emma leaves, Emily turns back to the bar, and looks at Bryan. "Sorry, I was looking at someone who seems to know me." She glances down to the outstretched hand, and decides it's time to go, but she wants to leave him with something to thank him for his attentions. "I'm Emily" she replies, with a pleasant but ultimately somewhat forced smile. Extending a hand to his, she takes a shakes once, lightly, with a loose grip around his fingers. With that same smile on her face, her eyes cloud over briefly. The smile on her lips grows as she stands up and heads for the door, not long after Emma, leaving a very…happy looking Bryan sitting on the stool next to where she was.

I was just teasing, Tia. You're a good girl- Kitty changes the girl to 'young woman' before sending it and getting up from her seat. She begins to make her way over to the people surrounding Portia.

Charlotte smiles looking over her shoulder as a bell sounds from the back. "Hey, I have to get this, but enjoy your coffee, alright? And stop by tomorrow afternoon, it's not so busy then." She gives Randall a kiss on the cheek and Portia a wave before she turns and scurries through the crowd toward the back.

Bryan sighs and kinda slumps slightly barely whispering out, behind his forced smile, "Nice to meet you…Emily." His blue eyes glaze over with happiness.


Kitty looks down at her phone and rolls her eyes. She looks towards Portia with a apologetic look. She types out on her phone. Something's wrong at work, see you soon. Love ya. she sends and waves before making her way out off the door. Damn old board of directors.

Felix rises lazily to pursue. But once he's gotten out the door, Emily's long since vanished into the wilds of the city. So it's a pair of mildly frustrated uniforms who end up dealing with an apologetic Felix.

Bryan suddenly straightens back up in his posture, his eyes quickly darting about, wondering about the feeling that just came overhim, strangely from the touch of Emily's hand. Once he calms down, he looks down at his watch, seeing what time it is, he stands, and leaves the tab for the drink next to glass for the bartender to pick up. He then stands give the bar room once glance around to everybody, and exits.

Randall smiles, a little too brightly, as the Irish coffee goes to work. Not as quickly as Emily's gig - but longer-lasting. "Random is the word for it, all right," he replies to Portia— he'll probably tell her the real story later, but not when there's all these random people around, it's not noisy enough to get away with that.

Mmm. Coffee. Portia likes coffee. And that warm sensation in her throat. Mm. Good coffee. "Yeah. Random meetings happen a lot with you, huh?" She can recall a few interesting meetings herself. Most of them involving her not being where she should have been. She checks her texts, glancing after Kitty, but shrugging a bit.

Randall's apartment

And so it goes, for another round. And another. Eventually, Randall decides it's time to head back to his apartment, by which time he's fuzzy-headed enough himself that he easily overlooks whatever mental condition Portia is in. It seems only natural to share a cab, as she's made no mention of having a ride of her own available.

For a girl unused to drinking much, there's plenty of fuzzy-headedness. She doesn't quite realize the cause of it, but Portia is still quite content and happy, so she's not thinking about the reason her brain is a little furry at the moment. Really, and she didn't have a ride, so it was convenient. "That was a relaxing evening.." She comments. Yeah, she's relaxed alright.

Randall nods, which becomes an adventure in itself as he feels out the extent of his fine muscle control. "Come on up for a bit? Still need to split the donations." He keeps one hand on the side of the taxi to steady himself as he goes to retrieve the cello case from the trunk.

Portia nods in response. Whoa. She glances over at him as he gets out, and she follows, making sure she's steady. "Kay. Sounds good to me. I think we did pretty good, too. People liked us." She rubs the back of her neck, looking at the cars that pass by before looking to Randall. "Lead the way!"

Which Randall does, a few steps at a time; the elevator hasn't worked properly since he first moved in, and he still has enough presence of mind not to try it now. "People liked you, mostly, I'm still pretty rusty." Meanwhile, the cab driver has already taken off, as they forgot to ask him to wait around.

"Oh, come on. You were really good! You know you were." Portia grins. "Besides.. isn't everything practice anyways? No one's ever perfect. We did make a good team, though!" She states, proudly. "More than I could've made on my own."

Randall doesn't answer right away, occupied with getting the door unlocked and the lights put back on. "Thanks. Guess you're right. Oh, uh, sorry about the clutter, I don't usually have anyone over."

This is one of the larger understatements of the evening - there are books stacked up in piles, and papers attached to strings hanging from the ceiling and spread out through all three dimensions, and a translucent whiteboard with writing on both sides - this is one reason he never invited Kory back here, because when her place is larger and easier to navigate, why not go there instead?

So the train of thought goes, when it's clear-headed. Tonight it isn't. At least the couch has managed to escape being commandeered as another staging area, sitting alone in all its Early American Garage Sale glory.

"Whoooah." Portia blinks, tilting her head to peer around at the place. Maybe the head tilting wasn't a good idea. She reaches up to flick at one of the papers on a string. "You know, if you weren't a good guy, someone would think you were totally a psycho killer with an apartment like this. Or a stalker. You'd be a nifty stalker.."

Randall flops down onto the couch, head thudding backward and knocking a few crumbs of drywall loose. There goes a bit more of the security deposit. "What do you mean?" he murmurs. "I can think of a lot of things to call a stalker, but 'nifty'… not really on the list."

Portia moves to sit down on the couch, sitting sideways to face him. "Well, I mean, you're kinda too cool to be a stalker.. but what I mean is.. you've got a very stalker-esque apartment." She scratches her head. "It's kinda hard to explain what I mean there, now that I think about it. Maybe nifty is the wrong word.."

Randall blinks a few times, trying to wrap his head around this… nope, not happening. "Well, anyway, it's not. I'm not. A stalker. Most of this stuff?" The sweep of one arm serves to point out some of the hanging papers. "Places, buildings. Groups of people. That sort of thing. I'm trying to figure out big patterns, things that could lead to big things… might never get there, but somebody's got to try, you know?"

"Yeah, but it just kinda makes you look crazy." Portia pauses. "Well, I mean, you /aren't/.. you're just not normal. Uh, and I mean that in a good way, you know." She leans her head back against the couch. "I think it's cool. You're doing something like that, and if there's a bigger picture, I'm sure you'll figure it out before anyone else does."

Whatever Randall says in response to that is mushmouthed badly enough that even he isn't quite sure what it was. Instead, taking a page out of Charlotte's playbook, he leans over to offer Portia a quick hug. Or it was intended as quick, anyway, but his consciousness is beginning to slip at the edges.

What was supposed to be a quick hug turns into a sort of hug-flop. Portia hugs back, giggling just slightly before murmuring. "You're comfy." Yeah, even if it was coffee.. it was /Irish/ coffee. Drowsiness is getting to her, perhaps.

Something about this is wrong. A part of Randall's brain knows this, but the alcohol has effectively separated his brain into chambers - the signals drop off somewhere in the middle, so while he doesn't move closer, he doesn't move further away, either. Within a few minutes, he's completely passed out, the inadvertent visitor still sprawled out sort-of on top of him.

Hey, at least they'll have something to distract them from their hangovers!

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