2007-04-14: Cousin's Caution


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Oliver drops by Eliana's with some Chinese and a bit of a lecture on the trials of dating too soon after a painful breakup. Jane shows up and they all have a bit of a jam session in Eliana's apartment.

Date It Happened: April 14th, 2007

Cousin's Caution

Eliana's Apartment

A late night of drinking, even light drinking, made for a very slow shift the next day. But once it's done, Eliana is happy to sit at home nursing the small yet nagging headache she has. She sits curled up on the couch with Maimonides, reading out of one of her many 'complete works' collections. According to the spine, this one belongs to the Wild Wilde. Eliana is still dressed in the jeans and t-shirt she wore to work, too tired to even change into more comfortable clothes.

Being not a huge drinker himself outside of some wine or mead now and again, Oliver didn't have much last night as the self-appointed Obligatory Sober Individual at the table. His shift at work has ended early thanks to a favor he pulled in from someone whose shift he's been covering the past week, and he decided it was time to pay a visit to Eliana for some Discussion. He comes not alone, however: he bears the gift of Chinese takeout. A bag bearing the insignia of Panda Express is tucked under one arm as he knocks quietly on the door of his cousin's apartment.

Few people come to visit Eliana nowadays, and so the knock at the door is boiled down to a small number of possibilities. Sydney, Oliver, Jane, or some sort of salesman/churchy who wants her to buy/believe in something. Eli bends her neck to give Mai a kiss on his head in apology before she moves him and stands, setting the book down on the couch. "Coming!" she calls as she makes her way across the apartment to the door, which she opens as soon as she gets there. Seeing Oliver, Eliana smiles and undoes the chain latch. The smell of Chinese does not go unnoticed by the cat, and with an excited and pleading meow, Mai is suddenly much more awake and trying to get through Eliana's legs and the door to placate her cousin for some tasty meat and noodles. Eliana laughs, stooping to pick up the cat as she swings the door open wider. "Hey, Oliver."

On the other side of the door, Oliver is beaming. "Hey," he responds, holding up the bag as he steps into the apartment. "I bring manna from Heaven — or Panda Express, at least, which is about as close as you can get this side of the Atlantic. Broccoli and chicken with white rice." The cat is given a snort of laughter and a grin, as well as an affectionate rub on the head. "I didn't forget you, Mai." He has some chicken to spare, at least. Then, his attention is back to Eli. "How you been? Fighting a hangover?"

Eliana's smile only grows as she leans against the door to close it as Oliver steps in. Maimonides wiggles and meows once he's petted, and jumping from Eli's arm, begins rubbing up against Oliver's legs. "You know me too well," Eliana remarks with a small sigh. "I can dish it out, but I sure as hell can't take it."

"Bit of food and some relaxing will clear that right up," Oliver chuckles as he heads for the kitchen to retrieve some plates, forks, and glasses. "You want something to drink? I didn't get anything from La Panda De Express, so we're stuck with whatever you've got on tap."

"Just a glass of water," Eliana says as she moves back toward the couch. Mai follows the food to the kitchen, jumping onto the counter to sniff at the cartons. Eliana, meanwhile, clears off the coffee table and couch to make for more comfortable eating.

Glasses of water all around, and Oliver soon returns to the living room after ruffling Mai's head, playfully pushing his face away from the cartons. Back off, kitty. He balances the plates expertly on one arm in the manner of an accomplished waiter or something of the like and carries a glass in each hand. One of these is passed off to Eliana so that he might free a hand to pick a plate off his arm and set it on the coffee table, followed by the other. Then, he takes a seat on the couch next to his cousin. "So," he sighs, his expression growing a little more serious, though the smile remains, "you have fun last night?"

Beaten back but not discouraged, Maimonides simply follows Oliver to the couch and jumps to sit next to Eliana, who reflexively pets him. He's here, and he's pretty, and he thinks that alone is enough to earn him his own share of take-out dinner. "It was nice to get out," Eliana answers before she takes a drink of water and picks up her fork. Eli's no idiot though - she knows what Oliver is getting at, and she'll avoid it as long as possible.

"Mm." Oliver nods a little, having already taken up his plate and partaken of a mouthful of mandarin chicken. Absently, he picks up a small bit of meat from his plate and offers it to Maimonides, but his gaze remains fixed on his cousin. "Nice to meet new people?" Just as Eliana will avoid it as long as possible, Oliver will avoid directly addressing it for as long as he can manage.

A smirk tugs at the corner of Eliana's mouth as she lifts a bit of chicken and broccoli to it. "It would have been," she says with a shrug, "if I had met anyone new." Maimonides lifts his forepaws to steady the meat-bearing utensil so that he can take his time licking and biting at it. Omnom.

Oliver's eyes narrow, but it remains in good humor. "You know what I meant," he states. Of course she does; she isn't stupid. The smirk and jovial nature soon fades again, however, and he grows quite solemn. "You should be more careful, Eli. You're in a really vulnerable state right now, and people li— " he cuts himself off before he can finish it, then changes his approach: "— some guys just don't care about that."

Eliana is silent for a few moments as she eats her food, giving Oliver just a bit of the cold shoulder. "I'm not going to go jump in the sack with the first man I see, Oliver, despite what Janie may think is best for me." Eliana's focus is on her food. It's tasty, even if it came with a lecture.

"I'm not saying you are," responds Oliver in a gentle tone, "I'm just saying … that guy last night, Eli. He's … similar to Jack, and right now you're susceptible to that sort of thing. I'm not saying you /shouldn't/ date again, and I'm definitely not saying you should steer clear of Irishmen, but this soon after all that … it's not healthy, and it could wind up hurting you a lot later on." And he definitely did not like the way Seamus was acting last night, but he keeps that to himself.

And with that, Eliana's appetite is gone. With a sigh she sinks back into the couch, allowing Maimonides to climb onto her lap and stretch his neck out to start eating her entree. "I know that, Oli," she says as she rubs a hand over her brow. "I mean, hell, if Grandma knew about all of this, she'd kick me over to the JCC without a second glance."

Eli's phone ringing cuts off any reply Oliver might make, as the young woman replaces Maimondies on the coffee table and rises to grab her phone off the bookshelf.
PHONE: You answer your phone, "Hello?"

PHONE: Jane says, "Eliana? Jane here. Big news!"

PHONE: Eliana is silent for a moment, but then the smile is evident in her voice. "Jane! Hey. What is it?"

Oliver's response is indeed cut off, and he simply goes silent and eats his food as Eli talks into her phone. He's listening, but he's not about to interrupt.

PHONE: Jane sounds enthused, elated. "I found a studio in Greenwich Village, it's a crazy kind of story, but there'll be contracts in a day or two!"

PHONE: Eliana says, "Wait, you got signed?" Eliana bends at the waist for a moment, then starts to pace around the apartment. "That's excellent! Congratulations!"

PHONE: Jane says, "Not yet, but it's coming up. I brought Anastasia and Amanda to the studio earlier, we met a drummer and spent a few hours there having a jam session. Have you heard of the Cutting Room, on 4th Street?"

PHONE: Eliana shakes her head, but she brings her free hand up to touch her lips, nervous with empathic excitement. "No, I haven't. But that's great that things are coming together for you."

PHONE: Jane says, "I can head your way and talk more, maybe work on songs or something. I… I was gushing hard yesterday when the pieces started to line up, y'know?"

PHONE: Eliana looks to Oliver as if to question him, then gives her attention to the phone conversation again. "I've got company, so let me check." Eliana covers the phone then and looks to Oliver once more. "You don't mind if a friend comes over to work on some music, do you?"

PHONE: Jane can be heard to wait patiently while this is checked out, it's noticeable by the silence from her end.

When he's glanced at, Oliver raises his eyebrows inquisitively, then shakes his head and smiles. "Not at all." As an afterthought, he adds, "Damn. I could have run home and gotten my keyboard."

PHONE: Eliana laughs as she continues to talk to her cousin. "She's got to get over here too, so why don't you run and get it? She only said she had a drummer, anyway."

That seems amenable to Oliver, who puts down his plate (pushing aside Maimonides if he attempts to get at it) and rising to his feet. "Sure, if I've got time. Back in a flash." And with that, he heads for the door.

PHONE: Eliana says, ""Come on over, Jane. Oli's going to get his keyboard so he can jam with you here. I'll see if I can whip something new up in the meantime.""

PHONE: Jane answers excitedly. "On the way, Eliana. See you soon."

PHONE: The phone call has been ended by the other person.

While Oliver is out retrieving his keyboard and Jane is on her way, Eliana sets to work. But writing a lyrical poem isn't as easy as eating what remains of Oliver's dinner, since her own has been demolished by a now very happy cat, and so she ends up doing the latter. There /is/ a moleskin on the couch next to her, but all that has been written on the open page has also been crossed out.

Just outside of Eliana's apartment building is a young man with short-cropped blonde hair and a rectangular case of some sort strapped to his back. He's occupying himself with the chaining of a bicycle to the rack made available there, and once he's secured the bike, he starts to head up the stairs toward the door just ahead of Jane and, spotting her just as he presses the button for Eliana's apartment, he offers her a friendly smile — and a quick glance at what she carries. Hmm. "You're Jane, right?" Just taking a chance there.

Upstairs, the buzzer sounds in Eliana's apartment, and Eliana pushes the button on her end to let her company through. It doesn't ring often, just as it didn't ring when Oliver came earlier. But, it's not the nicest of buildings, and people often let other slip through when they're on their way in or out. Or sometimes the door sticks. Such is life in 'less fresh' part of the Big Apple.

"That's me," the brunette confirms with a grin. Her pace stops when she reaches a spot just behind the man, to wait for admittance into the building. Jane's right hand extends. "Doctor Jane Forrest, Yale Law '06," she greets. "But Jane will do."

That hand is taken and given a firm jerk as they're buzzed through, and the man presses his back against the door to open it. "Oliver Pasternack, Noodle Heaven '07," he responds with a grin. "Oliver will do just fine." He holds the door open for Jane so that they might step through and head up to the apartment.

And in the guitarist goes, chuckling. "I like to throw the lawyer bit out there just to see the looks on the faces when they hear me play, sing, or both. It sounds like such a paradox, y'know?" Jane's heels tap across the floor as she walks along, headed for Eliana's door, and her brow furrows. "Didn't I see you before somewhere, maybe? Subway station…?" For her part, she may well have been seen or heard playing guitar at various spots around the city, solo. She stops just outside the door, but doesn't knock. No, she opts to announce her presence there by loosing a rich soprano voice in brief song. "We're runnin' with the shadows on the night, so baby take my hand, it'll be all right." The volume is, she believes, sufficient to carry through the door and identify herself.

"You might've!" Oliver responds as he follows alongside Jane. "I usually play a bit of sitar in subway stations on my off-time; I go by the name of 'Twist' around there, usually." Middle names are so fun. He halts outside Eliana's door and is about to knock when Jane announces them instead. Accordingly, the other performer applauds, grinning. "Wow."

Inside the door, Maimonides pauses in his after-meal grooming to meow, as if Eliana needed further intelligence that there are people outside her door. She merely shakes her head at the cat as she moves to open the door wide and let her two visitors in. "Hello, hello," she greets with a lazy smile.

First she takes a confident bow in the short time before the door opens, and on straightening offers "I've been known to play on the streets myself. It's the purest form of professional music, direct to the audience. If they like it, I get paid directly by them, if not I don't." And the door opens. "Eliana!" Jane steps forward and gushes, her voice rising almost to a squeal. "I went there to get session work, y'know, have a decent income, get my axe on some discs and build a reputation, James Page was a session guitarist when he started, and this Jaden Cain guy nearly runs me down!"

"Amen to that." Oliver's grin grows, and then he steps into the apartment after Jane, offering his cousin a brief pat on the back before he heads into the center of the living room to unpack his keyboard. His eyes go to the empty plates on the coffee table, then to the content cat on the couch. "Mai, you little thief," he snorts good-naturedly, not really ruffled by the fact that his food is now gone. He's listening to Jane's story, continuing to smile.

Eliana can't help but laugh as she watches Jane explode with excitement and closes the door behind them both. "Did he hear you in the park or something?" Who is Jaden Cain? But when Oliver insults Mai, Eliana has to leap to his defense with narrowed eyes and a smirk. "He isn't a thief. He's a /sage./ If he were thief, I'd have named him Yonkel."

"It was at a a party last week," Jane replies. "A little black dress charity kind of party, but instead of being a yawner it was… madness. Cain's an eccentric, and that might be an understatement. Anyway, after he plowed into a trash can we talked, he remembered hearing me, and came with me into the studio. Next thing I know he tells the receptionist he wants to buy the place, and gets all the top folks to come hear me."

Oliver snorts softly. "Then I guess he /sagely/ ate my food," he grunts, still grinning. Once Jane finishes her explanation, he lets out a low whistle, setting the keyboard on its stand and looking for somewhere to plug it in. "That's incredible. Not many people get breaks like that." It's probably a good thing Oliver doesn't keep up with the Wall Street Journal.

"That /is/ a lucky break," Eliana says after a short, impressed whistle. "If I had any wine in the house, I'd break it out to celebrate…but I'm sure you've already done that." Eliana moves forward, opening her arms to offer Jane a congratulatory hug.

She accepts and returns the hug, with excited gusto. Jane's arms encircle the pink haired author and tighten a bit. "I love New York," she gushes. "Recording studios, crazy software CEOs, tall buildings…" Her eyes widen and she steps back to pull the gear off her shoulders. The pack is opened and reached into, seconds later Jane produces a bottle of Dom. "I thought about that."

Eliana leans her head back with a little glass. "Well, only one glass. Some of still have Day Jobs." Eli winks before she moves to the kitchen to get glasses. It's not to say that Jane /doesn't/ have a day job, but what's a gentle joke amongst the creative?

Looking around for a corkscrew to open it with, Jane spots the cat and watches him for a moment, quietly wondering if the feline still hates her for hurting his ears that one time she visited. It's a quick moment of ponderance, though, she's soon looking at the hostess. "Is there a tool for this in your kitchen? I love my job, I do it wherever and whenever the mood strikes." She turns to Oliver, remarking "You know, Shea Stadium on opening day of Mets season is a good place to play and make money. Just… learn to play Take Me Out To The Ball Game on sitar."

"I'll keep that in mind," returns Oliver with a small nod, still smiling.

Eliana does, in fact, have a corkscrew, and the tool is soon produced from a drawer for Jane. Eliana pulls down three flutes and runs them under the tap in order to rinse off any dust they might have gathered in the cabinet. "Don't we all. I happen to have a strong desire to eat often, though."

The tool is taken and drilled into the cork, then pulled up steadily, moments later producing the anticipated pop! sound such things make when removed. Jane quickly places a glass under the resulting surge to catch it and not let any spill onto the floor. Glass One goes to the Hostess, Two to Oliver, and Three for herself. "So do I, Eliana," Jane shares. She doesn't mention that she made decent money playing on the street and for Jack, or that she has a trust fund to dip into when/if shortfalls come. It's not something she either hides or advertises.

Eliana takes her glass and smiles. Once Oliver has his, she lifts it into the air and clears her throat. "To studios, songs, and success. May we all have a taste of it." Clink! The bubbly serves to lighten spirits even further, as does the music that Oliver and Jane make on the fly. Eliana has nothing written, but that doesn't mean that the other two can't share the musical muse.

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