2008-01-24: Cold Snap


Kory_icon.gif Randall_icon.gif

Guest starring: Leslie_icon.gif Leslie, the geek of many names.

Summary: A triangle is the most stable geometric form there is — except when it's a romantic triangle.

Date It Happened: January 24, 2008

Cold Snap

Noodle Heaven, Lower Manhattan

In another of those little coincidences that people tend to view as meaningful, whether it really is or not - Randall more so than most - the weather is every bit as dreary today as his mood, enough so that he's come down ill from it. Three or four over-the-counter tablets later, he reaches the eye of the storm and decides to duck out for a sandwich, slipping into a plain black synthetic jacket as he heads down the street to the familiar corner dive.

Kory's between gigs, and it shows. She did a little girls' party earlier in the day and as such is wearing a lavender dress festooned with ribbons and lace. Her hair's done up and there's a tiara and a bit more makeup than she customarily wears. She dashes from the cab to the Noodle place, skirts lifted, under the shelter of golf umbrella done up to look like Spider-Man's face. Holding it, and smiling serenely, is Leslie — who this week is going by 'Javelin'. Or just 'Jav'.

"I have got to get something to eat before I head over to the Bank," Kory informs her companion. "Thanks for coming with me. It would've been a nightmare to try managing the subway in this weather in this outfit!"

By the time Kory arrives, Randall is just getting up to the front to place an order; but the place is quiet enough, and that voice is distinctive and well-known enough (and he has good hearing anyway) that it doesn't take long for him to pick it out of the background chatter and recognize it. Holding up one hand palm forward in a give-me-a-second gesture, he presses the other to the bridge of his nose, only to find that the pressure within his head only becomes worse afterward. Resigning himself to the situation, he orders sliced hot links on white bread and shuffles forward to make way for the man immediately behind him.

"Not a problem," 'Javelin' tells Kory, pausing a moment at the door to splash droplets off the umbrella before winding the strap around it to close it properly. He glances around for a moment, spotting an empty booth. "How about you grab the booth, and I'll get us something."

Kory considers the offer for a second, but shakes her head. "Nah, it's okay. It's hardly very crowded." And the place isn't filthy enough she's worried for her dress. "Besides, I need a minute to figure out what I want." She can see that distinctive curly hair as she approaches the line, but doesn't immediately recognize it; that hairdo is fairly common in this part of the city.

Randall waits until he gets over to the cash register, then glances over as he fishes out the cash to cover his order. Yup, that's her, all right. And—


She wouldn't, would she? He asked for four weeks to get his head together - yeah, it was kind of a dick move, but it was the only way he saw of avoiding a bigger one later - and here it's barely been two. He thought he knew her better than that, but then he thought that about her dream visitations, too…

No, it can't be. That's the headache talking. Leslie seems like he'll be a decent guy eventually, but he still has some growing up to do, and… she just wouldn't. They're just out as friends. Like Randall was just out as friends with those two women at the bar the other day; that was certainly innocent enough.

A little too quickly, he turns his head back again, keeping his own voice low as he picks up the tray and carries it toward a small table near the exit.

Kory is trying to remember where in the confection of chiffon she tucked her wallet, and so is looking down when Randall glances over. Ah — there it is. "Why," Kory asks, sulkily, as her eyes glance at the menu, "Do they call this place Noodle Heaven if there aren't any noodles?" Her eyes hit the bottom of the board, and this time she catches sight of Randall. She freezes, silent, and gestures 'Jav' to go ahead of her.

"Ha, good question," 'Jav' answers, allowing himself a faint chuckle. "It's been 'Noodle Heaven' with no noodles for as long as I can reme—" he cuts himself off, though, as stepping past Kory has given him a fine view of him. Her ex. The one who broke her heart. But Kory hasn't seen him, and growling and bristling at the other man would surely draw her attention to him. So he swallows the venom for the moment.

"Guess I'll get a brisket with mayo, lettuce and tomato," Kory says. And, a bit more quietly, "H'lo, Randall," since the motion of the line is going to bring her abreast of him in three, two, one…

Is it really too much to ask that they just overlook him and wander off on their respective merry ways? Clearly it is. "Kory," Randall answers back, his voice unintentionally thrown off as his nose flares up; he reaches over and grabs a handful of napkins, pressing them to his face.

"Thank you. For warning me about the truck." Yes, he remembered that dream, or enough of it at any rate. He just has to hope there wasn't some other crucial detail to it that slipped through his fingers.

Kory's of the mind that it would've been rude to have overtly ignored him. "You should get some soup," she offers, seeing he's clearly under the weather, for want of a better expression. And stay away from dairy. And get rest. And let me take care of you… But the additional thoughts go unspoken as she casts her eyes floorward. "Truck?" she asks, looking up to briefly meet his gaze. "I haven't been in touch, Randall. Didn't think that was in accord with your wishes." Endless November was one thing; he asked for this time, and she's giving it to him. Besides, Kory didn't appear as herself in his dream, so it's not precisely an untruth, nor precisely the truth.

'Javelin' narrows his eyes at Randall. "Hey, she's got a gig tonight. Howsabout you let her get a bite and move along so you don't give her your Martian Death Flu or whatever, huh? C'mon, Kore," he says, putting a slight odd emphasis on the latter syllable, and changing the way most people pronounce her name. "Let's get you fed so you can go change." He places a hand on her shoulder; not around it, in an intimate gesture, but a protective gesture nonetheless.

"You're probably right," Randall says, more or less automatically. The hot links are, at best, an amateur attempt at self-treatment. But then … this is exactly why he asked for this time in the first place. So easy to be charmed by the little things, and ignore the white elephant in the room until it blows up all at once.

Oh, that's right, he didn't actually see her in that dream. Could his subconscious have come up with that on its own? Either way, better say something to cover… no, not thinking clearly enough. Better just let the topic get lost in the shuffle. If (when!) he gets past this, he can ask her properly then.

Aaaaand there's the kid. Rival, because he clearly is that. Heedless of what it might do to his own self-image, Randall snaps back without thinking. "Hey, she talked to me first, Garnet. Or Jasper, or Pyrite, or have we looped back around to Topaz yet? Just…" Finally, he works up the self-control to rein it back in. "Just go," he adds, leaning heavily against the wall next to his seat.

"That's right," Kory says, glowering at 'Javelin', who takes a step back as Kory turns that look on him. She's usually so sweet. "I did. It's a free country. And…" And she'd like to at least try for friends with Randall if he finds he can't countenance the life she's chosen for herself. But she doesn't say that. "Thank you," she tells the old man, as he hands her her sandwich. She pauses, though, at Randall's booth, peering at him. "No fever; he's probably not contagious, Jav." Telling; she doesn't have that odd pause anymore, where she's had to remind herself not to call him 'Leslie' in front of other people. The nickname he prefers comes naturally.

Javelin smirks. "Took you all day to think that one up, didn't it?" he jibes, unflapped. Bigger guys with jock tendencies have said and done worse; that barely even nicks his awareness. "No wonder you bailed on her. You know you haven't got the wits to keep up with her." Implied? Like I do.

"Jav…!" Kory gasps, at the barb, nearly dropping her sandwich.

Actually, it's not original. And Leslie has no appreciation for the works of Samuel Delany. Nor does Randall remember it clearly enough through the haze of illness and anger, or he might remember what happened during Topaz.

"No, it's true, I don't," he says, addressing both parties more or less at once. "I admitted as much." Then, turning to face the man in particular: "Don't think you do. Know you do. You'll be in much worse shape than I am if you don't." And, even as he speaks, he's wrapping up the rest of the sandwich to take it outside with him; if they're not going to leave like he asked, then he'll do it for them.

Kory does drop the sandwich at this point. On Randall's table. "Okay, that's enough! Both of you, quit it!" She would drag her hands through her hair, except she's still dressed like a Disney Princess, and there's a tiara in the way. Oh, God — did he just imply he was stepping aside? "It wasn't what you think, Jav," she tells him, exasperation seeping into her tone. "There's more here than you think, and frankly, it's between Randall and me." She ventures a glance at Randall, emotions torn between worry and concern. How she feels is still worn on her puffy lavender sleeve.

'Javelin' blanches at Kory's outburst, but nods. "I'm sorry, Kore," he tells her. "Didn't mean to get so overprotective." He glances at Randall. And adds, sullenly, again, "Sorry. I just don't like seeing her go through this kind of thing. Kore, I'll get you a cup of tea to go with your sandwich." He steps toward the counter, intentionally taking his time picking something out for himself as well as ordering the promised tea.

The mounting pressure inside Randall's head has swung away from angry outbursts and back toward fatigue. "No, no, I'm done," he mumbles, still keeping that handful of napkins pressed to his face. Done with what, though?

"I… I'll see you in a couple weeks, Kory," he manages. Okay, so there's at least a chance that he was just talking about the argument. Speaking of, he lets the Geek of Many Colors wander off without further comment, and continues with his own dinner toward the exit, leaving Kory's where it was dropped.

"O-Okay," Kory says, reaching to pick up her sandwich. "Feel better." She has to bite her lip from offering more advice for remedying his cold. She picks up her own sandwich off the table and holds very still a minute, glancing between the door and her companion, whose company is no longer quite so agreeable.

At the condiment counter, Leslie smirks triumphantly as Randall trudges toward the door. A victory of sorts, at least to his mind.

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