2008-07-30: Crossed Paths

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif Sophie_icon.gif Jamie_icon.gif Merrick_icon.gif Nicolai_icon.gif James_icon.gif George_icon.gif Sierra_icon.gif

Summary: Several people with a web of connections cross paths — or almost cross paths — in Central Park.

Date It Happened: July 30th, 2008

Crossed Paths


Central Park

New York City

Evening is starting to settle over the city, but the end of July fights against it. Darkness is kept at bay, but it'll fall before long. It's well-lit here at this entrance to Central Park, though, where a vendor is closing up his cart for the day and people stroll along the wide sidewalk under the cover of the trees in the middle of NYC. At least one resident of the nearby Deveaux Building is heading into the park — the jean-and-pink-tank top-clad Niki, who happens to be all by herself and somewhat aimless. Sometimes she just has to get out of there.

Sophie doesn't get the luxury, very often, of such cool clothes lately. She is trying to take advantage of lighter, looser clothing, though, with tight cuffs and gloves. She looks a little odd, as she decides to venture forth anyway as dusk approaches with its slightly cooler temperatures. Maybe just a quiet walk in the park is in order.

The young scientist has decided to take a stroll through the park after his work out in the pool. Merrick is walking through the park already his wet hair hanging like a loose cotton shirt on his head. His gym bag over his shoulder. His iPod ear phones are in his ears as he hums softly to himself walking along the path…

Normally, you'd find boys climbing trees, but apparently Jamie doesn't agree with that stereotype. She's actually pretty high up in a tree right near where the others are walking. This doesn't last long, though. There's a snap as a branch she was holding falls, followed by her. She grabs another lower branch on the way down, enough to slow her fall so she lands relatively safely on the grass below, though ending up sitting rather than standing like she'd probably prefer. She looks to have scraped her hands up a bit, but doesn't whimper or complain, though, just picking herself back up with a big grin on her face. She's wearing a one-piece swimsuit with shorts overtop.

Niki isn't far into the park before she turns to look back out into the urban jungle. It's in this turnaround that she spots Sophie. More than anything, it's the off-season clothes that catches her eye, so much that she misses another (less) familiar face: Merrick. "Sophie?" she calls out gently from just several feet away, only to swing her head around — with a sudden swish of her blonde ponytail — to the nearby tree and what's falling out of it. She's instantly concerned, but starts to smile at Jamie when the girl starts to grin.

Sophie turns at the sound of her name, then gasps at the falling child, automatically starting to dart toward her. There's a sigh of relief and a chuckle at Jamie. "You will scare me out of whatever growth I'd have left, you know."

As he blinks, Merrick has a very good memory and knows Niki's face instantly. He moves to dart behind a tree as he leans out to see what is going on with her and the people she seems to know.

Jamie looks at her hands a moment on standing up, examining the scrapes, but then she hears Sophie's voice, and looks up. She gives a bright smile, waving, and giggles at her words. She says, though, "Sorry." Seeing the woman standing near Sophie, she waves to her too, stranger though she is. "Hi."

Niki heads on closer to Sophie and Jamie, tucking her hands into the back pockets of her light grey-tinged jeans. She's still smiling, but there's a hesitant edge to her lips, a worried sparkle and crease to her eyes. "…Hi yourself," she says to the younger of the two first with a laugh in her voice, her smile brightening in that moment before she focuses on Sophie. "I heard you got hurt— you know, when…" she conveniently trails off with a glance out of the park, picking back up quietly with concern, "…everything went down. How are you?"

Amongst the comers and goers it'd be pretty easy to overlook the man who goes by the name of James. He's settled upon a benchseat along one of the myriad paths that line the way up and down past this fountain and that. At first glance there'd be little to remark upon him. Just another older man, passing the time, leaning forwards a bit with his hands before him and fingers interlaced. The image would be complete if he even had a bag of bread to feed to the pigeons. He doesn't.

Sophie still looks, well, a touch sunburned. Her hair is measurably shorter if you knew its original length, too. She says, a touch softer, "Well, better than I was. I never was, well, electrocuted before. I don't think I'll want to repeat it."

Generally, Sergeant Yoskalov patrolled the most dangerous sections of the city, but today he had been assigned a new area. Central Park. Not having to drive his patrol car, Nicolai found himself enjoying the relaxing atmosphere as he casually strolled through the entrance. Despite his lax demeanor, his posture is still very militaristic in nature, and his jaw tightened in seriousness. Only difference between his general hardass self and now, he's whistling.. in the tune of some unspoken cadence.

Merrick leans leans against the tree, as he runs a hand through his wet hair. He whispers, "Grow a pair mate…she forgot who you were…she is a blonde after all." Merrick pushes himself off the tree as he adjusts his gym bag and begins to walk towards the group on his way to the exit.

Jamie, while Sophie and Niki are talking, though she obviously listens, moves to the branch that fell out of the tree with her. She tests the weight, but on apparently finding it too heavy, she leaves it where it is and steps back to the adults. She asks Niki curiously, "You know about what happened?"

"…Yeah…" Niki replies under her breath to both Jamie and Sophie. She can't keep from wincing. "It's, um. It's good to know you're alright." She looks down, away from the once-electrocuted woman, glancing off to the side to notice the NYPD officer. Her poise stiffens on reflex, but it's someone else who catches her attention in earnest. Confused, at first, as if she's not entirely sure she's got the right guy, Niki holds a hand up to her present company and jogs toward the incoming Merrick. "I thought that was you."

The once confident Scientist, eyes widen like a deer in the head lights of a Mack Truck as Niki begins to jog towards him. He stops walking and looks left and right as if the beautiful blonde woman was speaking to him. He swallows hard and looks down at his toes, "I never did say thank you for the help. I am sorry about your car. I can pay for it if you wish."

Meanwhile, from another direction, George alternately listens to and squints at his cell phone. Alas, some things never change. "—yessir, maintaining policy as best we can until further notice. —nosir, I don't know who'll be running for the seat, we'll let you know as soon as we know." He turns to Sierra, mouthing a voiceless 'sorry' to her.
You paged George with '…I'm struck by a thought! It's possible that George would either A) recognize Niki from the time she was working for Nathan/Logan (she did go to his office sometimes) or B) he'd recognize Tracy from the political world.'

Straightening up from his seat upon the bench, James cocks an eyebrow in the direction of Niki and Merrick. His jaw sets for a moment, considering, then his gaze slides slowly back over the way towards various other individuals. He gains his feet slowly, dusting his hands off with a slap or two. His jacket is adjusted, then his hands are jammed into the pockets as he starts the casual walk along the way, his stride easy.

Sierra wraps her arm around George and smiles. It's work, she knows. She'd like to have him stop just a little bit, but these days it would be worthless to try to stop it, really. "It's okay, mon cherie." She murmurs softly to him as she gazes back out to the path. She's always liked this park, despite it being overplayed. It's a good amount of green space though, with plenty beautiful flowers. It's a great place to just relax and spend time with people you like and/or care about.
Spotting Sophie first, Nicolai slows down, "Good evening miss." Shifting his weight to his right foot, the police officer takes his time to glance at every one around, nodding once in what appears to be a friendly gesture. Seing that there was no one waving a gun around, Nicolai returns his attention to Sophie. "So. I spoke with a friend. Nothing.. sorry. But.. I've got my eye open."

Sophie turns toward the voice, curious a moment. Then enlightenment strikes and she nods, "Thank you for trying, sir.. officer?" not quite sure of the title. "I'm pretty sure, at least, he won't go there again. I mean, he was surrounded right off. I would guess he has to realize that isn't a smart place to go back."

Jamie hasn't noticed Sierra's approach yet, her attention on those near her. When Niki goes off to talk to the man, she looks up to Sophie and says, "How does she know what happened? Was she there too?" Then the cop approaches Sophie, so she quiets quickly about that subject and gives him another cheerful, "Hi."

"My— " Surprised, Niki breaks into an easy smile now that she's come to a stop in front of the not-quite-stranger, Merrick. "No, it's fine. It's not like I paid for the car anyway." It takes her a second to realize how that sounded — like maybe she stole it, which actually isn't the case … this time — and she's about to wave it off and explain when she's distracted by the cop talking to Sophie, and the man heading in her and Merrick's general direction, but— probably coincidences. Maybe. Okay, so probably not, in her considerable experience, but she goes back to reassuring Merrick. "…Really, don't worry about it. I swear I'm not chasing you down."

The apples in Merrick's cheeks turn a few shades darker he nods slowly his voice drops in a near whisper, "Sorry I am a little edgy since I crossed paths with the FBI over at that building." He points in the direction of Deveaux. "I am worried everyone is after me. Long story…"

George rests his free hand on Sierra's shoulder. "Well, we've made some real progress on that bill," he says into the phone, "but there's also a—" at which point he cuts off, peering at the display and then putting it back in his pocket. Must have lost signal. Oh well, back to the park and… hang on. Familiar face, over there. "Ms. Strauss, isn't it?" he calls out to the woman he thinks he recognizes.

It's just a coincidence really that it's in that moment when James wanders up. His smile is easy as he starts to step around the young couple of Niki and Merrick. There's a faint tip of his head, the slight tilt of an invisible cap, and without a word he continues on his way. He makes his way down the sidewalk with that same easy step and with little ado.

Nicolai nods. "He probably won't.. but there's no telling." He nods securely before nodding towards Jamie. "Good evening miss." With a, what could pass as a smile, quirk of his thin lips, the man speaks gruffly, "Anyways, if you come across something, let me know…" Lowering the tone of his voice, Nico continues, ".. I'll keep it off the books."

Sophie nods solemnly and she says, "I thank you, officer." softly, "I probably won't find out anything, but I will if I do." and manages sincerity.

Sierra smiles softly. When the phone abruptly ends, she looks at him confused. Even more so when he calls out to someone and looks toward the woman he seems to know.

Niki is taken aback by Merrick's paranoid admission — she's lost for words, at first, just staring at him before she manages to reply. "Are you talking about the Deveaux Building?" she glances across the street warily … and then at James. She barely has time for a polite (if vague and distracted) smile. "I… I don't think you're in any trouble," she says to Merrick. Meanwhile, the calling out of 'Ms. Strauss' in a unfamiliar voice goes totally unacknowledged. "What were you doing there…? Don't tell me you live there too." Seriously, don't. She'll just move out faster if everyone she's ever met winds up in that building.

Merrick blinks and shakes his head. He runs a hand through his drying hair. "No…hard to explain. I was lost and went into the cafe to ask for directions. When this woman and bloody wall of a man comes barking about locking the building down. She was looking for something called Pinehearst or worked for it. It happened so fast…he partner was kind of a bad bloke doing things to people."

From the direction he's walking now, it's clearer that George is indeed trying to address Niki - but now he's close enough to get an idea that the conversation with the others is already throwing her for a loop. Time for networking later, then. Returning his attention to Sierra: "So, uh, besides all that, what's the hot story this week?"

Jamie just beams at being called 'miss'. Especially with no 'little' in front of it. She looks up to Sophie and back to Nicolai curiously, and asks of them both with open curiosity, "What're you talking about?"

Sierra looks toward the woman that George was wanting to get the attention of. She gazes between her and him before she giggles lightly. "Oh, what could be a hotter story?" She sighs. "Well, the people of Queens are aching to know what about the global warming and all that. It's quite the intriguing subject, don't you know?"

The blonde cringes a tiny bit. "It sounds like you were in the wrong place at the wrong time." There's friendly reassurance in Niki's voice — and something a lot like apology. But never mind that. "You seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time a lot." She smiles and starts to turn back the way she came, though she doesn't actually make any steps to move just yet. "Anyway, I just wanted to say hi."

Merrick nods and says, "Yeah the story of my life." He looks towards the direction and says, "Ummm do you know the little girl?" Merrick asks softly, "I saw her the day I was…well in that building." He motions his head to Jamie.

Jamie, when she gets no answer to her question, just shrugs and says, "I gotta go anyway. Bye." With another wave, she turns and runs off.

Niki looks over to Jamie and Sophie and has to shake her head. "Never saw her before today," she says, even though she starts to head in that direction. "Take care, alright?," she tells Merrick, sincere despite barely knowing him. Approaching Sophie, she reaches out to touch the woman's sleeved arm lightly, not wanting to interrupt anything. "I heard— you have a message for me? Whenever you're up for it. Kory has my number." With that, Niki starts to saunter out of the park — walking right past George and Sierra.

Merrick nods slowly and gives the woman a slight wave, "Cheers." Merrick decides to take another path to steer away from the group and turns on his heel and begins to walk in the other direction in a hurried pace.

George nods to Sierra. "Big water-cooler topic, that one, everyone's got an opinion. Sometimes two." He tries to wave down 'Tracy' again, but to no avail— oh well, there'll be another opportunity soon enough. "Speaking of heat, I found a new Indian place if you want to check it out some time."

Sierra smiles and nods slightly. "Exactly! So, we at the Paper think that people might like reading a little bit more about it." She watches the other woman walk right past them. She lets out a little 'hmmm' but shrugs it off. She looks back to George. "A brand new Indian place? Oui, I'd like to check that out. I quite enjoy testing out new places."

Sophie watches the others leave. She checks carefully around herself, and seeing nobody near, she takes her gloves off with some relief, and care. She wipes sweaty hands on her pants, and sits under one of the trees.

George leans over and murmurs something in Sierra's ear as they continue on their way. Somewhere en route, he catches sight of Sophie, the earlier crowd having since broken ranks. "Little hot weather for gloves, isn't it?" he offers.

Sierra leans lightly against George as they walk, smiling softly.

Sophie quickly grabs them, as if having them in her hands is the same as 'on'. "Umm.. well, skin condition. I find its best to keep them covered most of the time." she offers. She's /technically/ kind of being honest, so only manages to sound a little less than honest.

George nods to Sophie, thinking back. Where does he know her from? Oh, right, back when he and Sierra were just starting to get friendly… and Sophie abruptly ran off, spouting off about something that might or might not be a telepathic vision. Too bad you can't just come right out and ask about such things. "Must be awful around the middle of the day," he says out loud, sticking to the safe topic.

Sierra shakes her head. "That is quite unfortunate." She states. "Is there nothing that doctors can do or some way you can lessen it?" She enquires of Sophie.

Sophie pauses, taking a breath, and tries to give a game smile. "No.. hasn't so far. But its alright. I'm.. I'm getting used to it."

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