2008-02-20: Exotic Tales


Charlotte_icon.gif Ndugu_icon.gif

Summary: Ndugu feels alone in New York, and a late night visit reveals more about the mysterious man than previously understood.

Date It Happened: February 20th, 2008

Exotic Tales

Charlotte's Flat

Evening has come, and Charlotte's life has gotten much less complicated of late. Of course, she has some visits to pay but otherwise, her work with the orphanage has kept her busy. Not even any jobs as an agent lately. Life is calmer, though she still worries for Niki, she's out of the loop. Perhaps ignorance is bliss.
On her lap sits a book, a large book, the sort with prints in it. She sits back, wearing stripped flannel pants and a tank top, hair braided in a ponytail as she breathes in her cup of tea, opening the book to the first picture: the Birth of Venus. She runs ehr fingers over it, and doesn't even bother to read the text. She just admires, before flipping to the next. A Titian.

Ndugu turns his collar down as he steps out of the cold and into the more sheltered space of Charlotte's doorstop, lifting his hand to drum his knuckles against it - knock knock knock.

Pages turn. More priceless peices of artwork are shown from that time period - copies all, of course, printed in a book for people to sit at home and fawn over in the dark of the night. So much beauty in the world, and such a night to sit undisturbed.
For she is undisturbed. Poor Ndugu will not realize it perhaps, but this is an apartment: this whole giant building does not to Charlotte belong. He'll have to press the button labeled CORDAY to find Charlotta.

Ndugu is silently glad that nobody spotted his display of ignorance about the function of apartment buildings. When no reply comes, he turns his attention to the row of buttons and traces his finger along it until he sees a familiar name. He pushes the button with experimentally.

Charlotte hears the buzz, a little surprised. No one's buzzed here…ever. Ohmigosh! Her first visitor! Dropping the book down cautiously on the sofa, Charlotte stands and her bare feet 'twinkle-toe' their way to the intercom. She presses a button, leans her lips down close. "Hello?" This is such fun already!

"Miss Corday," Ndugu asks of the intercom, although there is little about his tone that seems like a question. He pauses a moment before he speaks again, letting Charlotte in on who her first visitor actually is, "Ndugu."

Charlotte can't help but blink. Of all the gin joints…."Hold on, let me buzz you in." That's what she's supposed to do, right? She fiddles, finally deciding on a button. She presses it, and the door will buzz for Ndugu, unlocked to allow him in. "Just come on up."

Making note of which apartment is Charlotte's, Ndugu steps into the building and moves towards the elevator. A short ride later he is on Miss Corday's level, knocking on the door yet again and waiting patiently.

She opens the door, chain swinging aside. Apparently she didn't have it done up. Ndugu is greeted with a smiling, albiet makeup-less face of Miss Corday. "Ndugu, hi. Come on in." She steps back, allowing him access into her apartment. "Here, let me find a hanger for your coat too…I wasn't expecting any visitors tonight, I'm sorry I'm so….casual." Pajamas!

Ndugu pauses when he notices just how casual Charlotte is, halfway through the action of removing his coat before he stops and looks … uncertain. Probably for the first time in his life, "I can come back at another time if you'd prefer?"

Charlotte takes his coat from him, shaking her head with a polite smile. "Of course not. I'm not doing anything anyway. Come on in, have a seat. Can I get you some tea? I have a pot made." If Ndugu looks around, he'll see the decor is from all over the world, prints of famous renissance paintings and everything of the like. "Just having an easy night…haven't had one of those in awhile and it's…." Good? Bad? "Different."

"Alright," Ndugu agrees, letting Charlotte take the coat and looking for a seat to sit on. The offer of tea gets a slight nod from him as he takes a look around, absorbing everything, "Yes, please."

Charlotte has the cutest little Moroccan tea set too! She's always wanted to use it, and now's a visitor, and a chance to do so. Her dimples are almost explosive at the opportunity, and she comes bustling out with a little teapot, ceramic with almost henna-esque drawings of palms and tear drops decorating. The little cups are the same, and there's a little dish with honey. She sets it out on the coffee table, allowing Ndugu to make up his tea as he sees fit. "How did you even know where I was?" Charlotte asks, though there's no malice in her voice. Simply curious.

Ndugu doesn't admit that he's followed Charlotte a few times due to his not knowing anyone else in the City. Instead, he goes with, "I asked someone at the facility. They were able to look it up for me." He holds off the tea for the moment, "I'm sorry if it is an intrustion."

Charlotte nods, smiling as she sits back with her own mug. "It's not, not at all. You're the first visitor I've had since I came to New York." A soft shrug is given. "It's kinda nice. Doing what we do for Pinehearst can be slow at times I'm told, but when it hits, it'll hit hard." She slurps her own tea before setting the mug on the floor, pulling her feet up to sit indian style. If she's dressed casual, damn it she's going to behave casual. "How are you finding New York, do you like it alright?"

"It is much like I expected it to be," Ndugu says with a nod, leaning forward to make himself a cup of tea which he carries back with him, "Although the attitudes of the people seem less like they're described in the press."

Charlotte chuckles softly. "Not all Americans are like New Yorkers. Perhaps I should introduce you to some Texans sometimes, they're real characters." She wiggles her toes as she sips her tea again, happily. "Did you hear about the orphanage Pinehearst is opening in the Congo?" She asks. "It's going to be helpful, I think. Although I'll have to find a new place to hide from the world, now being at your village is just another extension of work…" She chuckles.

"Yes, I have been meaning to talk to you about that," Ndugu says, his expression appearing as stern as ever despite what he says next, "I owe you a great debt of gratitude."

Charlotte smiles, tilting her head to teh side a little, one bit of hair falling from her braid and resting on her cheek. "Anyone would have done what we did, Ndugu. You don't owe me anything."

"Yes, I do," Ndugu says, looking down for a moment - talking like this is not exactly natural for him, "Very few care what happens in my counter. Even fewer care what happens in the jungle away from the journalists. I owe you much."

Charlotte tilts her doe-brown gaze downward to her tea. "When I came to New York and worked for Pinehearst, I learned…about a lot of bad things that people with abilities do. But…the things that happened to your people, Ndugu. Whatever people with abilities do, people are just worse. It's not…not right. Whatever I can do to help, always."

"I am glad to hear that," Ndugu answers with a nod, "Thank you, Miss Corday." He finishes off his tea, setting the cup down to one side and leaning back in the chair, "I am glad that you found our village."

"Call me Charlotte. Charlotta, whatever it is you prefer." After all, having seen someone kill a man - seems like a first name basis sort of thing. "I'm glad I did too. Have to thank Pinehearst for that." She pauses a moment. "We do some good things, ya know. With Pinehearst. I think you'll like it." She turns her eyes back up to him, giving him a little smile.

Ndugu lifts his eyes to look at Charlotte once again, nodding his head as he takes in everything she's said, "I will thank them. But I will thank you first, Charlotta. There is no escaping that." He looks right into her eyes for a brief moment after speaking.

Charlotte catches his eyes, blushing just a shade at his gratitude - she's still semi-used to being a waitress, gratitude for a cup of coffee was all she was used to. But she senses he's really meaning it. "You're welcome, Ndugu. I was happy to do it." No, she was happy to plan it and have it done. She almost peed herself during the doing of it.

Ndugu nods his head, perhaps unsure of what to say now. He continues to look down at his hands, clasping them tightly before him and waiting for … nothing.

Charlotte will not let a conversation die, not so easily. "Ndugu, if it's alright can I ask….why were you so anxious to get away from the village after we went to the rebel camps? We could have stayed, a couple of days even so you could have said goodbye but you wanted to leave right away."

"I am not sure if you wish to know that, Charlotta," Ndugu points out, pressing his palms together in front of him, "You would think less of me."

Charlotte sits back in the chair, looking down at her tea as her fingers nimbly move along the rim. "I saw…what happened to that man on the truck." She explains, not knowing if he was aware she'd been watching him. "I was in the shed, where the children were, and I stuck my head out and I saw. Does it…have anything to do with that?" She flips her hair back, turning her eyes back to him for just a second, but then back down - she doesn't want him to feel pressured.

Ndugu looks stern for a moment, as though he has no intention of answering. But then, as if by some sort of miracle, his expressions visibly softens and he lifts his eyes to Charlotte's, "What do you know of my gift?"

Charlotte shakes her head, glancing away as she accesses her memory. "Um, from what the file said, it said something about..overwriting memories. Like…you could make me think you and I had been on a ferris wheel before, even though we never had. Is that right?" Unfortanatly, Ndugu's files were more skimpy than most. Being in hiding and in Africa sort of hurt their fact-finding missions.

"In essence, yes," Ndugu answers with a nod, "The man in the truck … I gave him memories that nobody would want. Terrible memories. He could not stand what he suddenly remembered and it destroyed his mind. You should know this about me, Charlotta - I do not regret it. I have known a hundred men just like him and all were fiends … irreperably so."

Charlotte shakes her head as she listens, pushing that rogue bit of hair back behind her ear. "I…I can't imagine what sort of memories it would take for men like that to…." Die. In essence he died, after all. "But…you did what you had to, to make sure they'd never hurt the children again. It's understandable, even forgivable I think. But you were still afraid to stay at the village. Do they…know?"

"I was not afraid," Ndugu argues suddenly, squaring his shoulders but keeping his tone level - not wanting to yell at Charlotte, "They know of my gifty. Or, at least, they knew something of it. But to use it is a temptation I avoid. I do not regret my gift but I feel it must be used wisely. If my people learned it was so easily used they would wish me to to use it more often. They cannot rely on gifts."

Charlotte shakes her head. "I didn't mean it like, not to imply…I'm sorry, that's not what I meant. I can understand how tempting it is to use it for…everything. Goodness knows I use mine every time I need to walk more than a block." She gives Ndugu an apologetic look. "I'll walk when it's warmer, I just don't like the cold." It's a good defense. "What's it like when you're in someone's mind to create thoughts and stuff? Can you see their old memories?

"I do not remember their memories," Ndugu explains, and it is quite obvious that this is not something he usually discusses, "It is more like what is already there becomes paint and I am the artist. I have an idea of what I want and then I create something. But afterwards I do not remember what was there."

Charlotte nods softly. "I suppose that's good, some peoples' memories might be pretty disturbing." She sets her mug down. "I'm sorry to bring all this up, Ndugu, I didn't mean to…I was just curious." She wants to ask more, but bites her lower lip instead. "Well, I hope your time in New York won't be as crazy as mine has been…it can be pretty fun when it's calm."

"I feel I can speak to you, Charlotta," Ndugu murmurs, locking eyes with her once again, "You may ask me whatever you wish … I only ask that you tell no one else."

Charlotte shakes her head. "I won't, Ndugu. I don't have many people I'd tell anyway, and Pinehearst…it's sort of a need to know thing that they have going on there." And Charlotte tends to know a lot more than she needs to. "I won't ask you anything else, at least not now. Maybe some other time." A smile escapes her. "I'm really glad you decided to come with us."

"As am I." Ndugu nods his head shortly, leaning forward slightly in his chair to look at Charlotte. And then? A … faint … smile. "Although perhaps next time I should call so I do not catch you in your pyjamas?"

Charlotte can't help but giggle, rocking back and forth as she still sits indian-style. "Sure. Call or come by, pajamas or no. You're always welcome." She explains. "Do you want me to give me a ride back to…wherever you're staying? It'll only take a second. I'm fast like that." As far as teleporters go, she's slow, but as far as those people with shoes that get their wear and tear, she's like lightning.

"Thats okay." Ndugu shakes his head, standing up and taking the question as a request to leave - he's amiable though. He did just drop in, after all. Who knows what plans he has ruined by just turning up, "I can walk."

Charlotte stands up with him, walking him to the door. "Are you sure? It's cold out." She gets his coat for him as well, nice new fancy coat! "Lets get lunch tomorrow or something. To be honest, I haven't had a chance to see New York really since moving here. Maybe we can stumble around a bit, get lost, all that." See, she's not kicking him out. She's just tired!

"Very well," Ndugu agrees, taking the coat and slipping it on at the door, "I will see you then." And he makes his way outside, towards the elevator.

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