2007-11-26: Fancy Meeting You Here

Starring:

Michael_icon.gif Aspen_icon.gif

Summary: Two colleagues run into each other in an unlikely place and, even more unlikely, share the same space for more than two minutes.

Date It Happened: November 26th, 2007

Fancy Meeting You Here


Fly By Night Cocktail Bar

New York City

Snippets of conversation, music, and general chatter fill the Fly By Night cocktail bar, and although there's quite a few people in the bar, the ambient noise is low enough that people are still able to hold their own conversations without having to yell. Michael is currently sitting at the bar between two empty seats; not because no one wants to be around him, it just so happens there's a seat vacant on either side. Finally able to get the bartender's attention, he orders a Long Island icea tea, laying the cash (plus tip!) down on the bar when the drink arrives. He sips at it, eyes looking forward but onfocused on the various drinks and mixers behind the bar.

Classy bar … well, classy enough to pass: check. Prototypical little black dress: check. High heels to match: check. Perfect hair: always. That's a given. Entirely, and currently blissfully unaware of a certain Michael Vessley's presence anywhere in the vicinity, Aspen St. James winds her way through the crowd. She doesn't exactly look like she's having the time of her life, and she's notably alone, but the fact that she's leaving on a mission tomorrow being in a place such as the Fly By Night when not on assignment can only suggest one thing. One earth-shattering, mind-blowing fact. She might actually have a social life. She wouldn't be a very good agent if she wasn't perceptive enough to the back of Michael's head, but she's headed several stools down from him. Besides, what would he be doing at a place like this, anyway? A small clutch purse is slammed on the bar as her sharp British accent tries to get the bartender's attention. "A martini, please? Extra olives. Hello, are you listening to me? Hello?"

It's somewhat a boring night for Michael. After all, both seats empty on either side don't exactly provide you with any guys (or girls!) to talk to. So, he continues to sip at his Long Island iced tea, mulling over the various alcohols in front of him, considering if he should try any. He's pretty simple in what he orders for the most part, usually taking his Long Island icea tea. It is his favorite drink, after all.

Of course, the night is about to get much more exciting. Any confrontation between Michael and Aspen is never good, considering their past. So when he hears that sharp British accent trying to get the attention of the bartender, and especially when he hears her order, his head snaps in her direction, spotting her down the bar. "Ahn," he says to himself, shaking his head. Aspen St. James. May as well make contact now. "'Tender," he says, immediately grabbing the bartender's attention (after all, he tipped rather well). "Martini. Extra olives." The order is quick; drinks in hands, Michael stands from his spot, making his way down the bar so he can set her drink in front of her. "Aspen," he says simply.

Aspen is nothing short of horrified - and incredulous. Don't forget incredulous. The moment she hears Michael's voice calling out, her head whips around, a few waves of soft brown hair flying over one shoulder, as much as it's able, in its elegant pins. She stares wide-eyed and more offended than she has a right to be, considering he's well, he's doing her a favour, isn't he? The world is ending. When he approaches, Aspen looks down at the drink, up at Michael, down at the— well, you get the jist. This goes on for a few moments before her cool demeanour settles back in. She simply takes the martini glass by the stem and arches an eyebrow. "Michael."

"I see," he says, taking the liberty to seat himself on the empty stool next to her. He doesn't explain what he means by what he said, but Aspen is sharp enough to probably pick up on the fact that she's still UPTIGHT AS EVER. "Go out drinking often the night before?" he inquires, failing to specify exactly what the night is before, but there could be listening ears here, and the less information they give out the better.

Aspen spends a moment standing alone,, primly holding her martini in front of her and simmering quietly. "No," she answers as she, ohgodwhat, sits down in the stool beside Michael. She sets the martini on the bar, almost exactly where it sat after it was presented to her unexpectedly, and goes about plucking the skewer with its extra olives from the rim. She looks over at Michael, eyebrow once again arched. "Why, do you?"

"Pretty much always," comes the response from Michael, before taking another drink (a much longer one than usual) from his iced tea. "Never know what's going to happen. For all I know, I might not come back from this one. It's the same with any other." He takes another drink, and then sets it down on the bar, eyes moving back to Aspen. "So what brings you out tonight, then?"

Aspen seems to find some interest in that answer, or at least Michael manages to surprise her just a little; she tips her head up, eyeing him with a curious glint. Granted, she's looking down her nose at him in the same second.. "How glum." She looks back to her martini, toying with the olives. "I do occasionally have a life, you know."

Shrugging, Michael sips at his drink again. "It's the truth. Of course, I always hope that I come back, and so far I have. You just never know anymore." He looks up at her again, and this time it's his turn for surprise. "That may be true, surprisingly enough, but you're really the last person I would expect to

"Well," Aspen begins and … doesn't finish, as it turns out. She just sits there and toys with her drink until she finally lifts the glass to her lips and sips. Stoic as always, and perhaps a little sullen if one were to investigate closely enough, she avoids looking at Michael. "Ready for tomorrow, then?"

"Ready as I'll ever be," the man responds, sipping at his own drink as well. He falls silent after that, eyes focused on his drink aside from the occasional glance in Aspen's direction. who seems to be avoiding looking at him. "What about you?" he finally says, turning his eyes in her direction again, and keeping them there.

"Always," Aspen replies succinctly, her signature self-satisfied smirk curving her lips as she returns Michael's look this time. Watching him all the while with her calmly criticizing gaze, she plucks an olive off its tiny spike with a couple of white teeth and, after it's gone, adds, "Hope you're not afraid of the dark. I hear there might be caves involved this trip."

"Caves I can handle," Michael says, finishing off his Long Island icea tea. He signals the bartender for a refill, already sliding the cash needed onto the bar. "Dark is nothing. It's more—" Well, Michael doesn't really need to finish that sentence, because there aren't going to be any aliens on this trip. Nope. Better not be, anyway. He just calmly takes his refilled drink and takes another sip (okay, more of a long, deep drink, really) and pretends he didn't even pause right in the middle of a sentence.

Oh, there will be no mysterious stopping in the middle of a sentence on Aspen's watch. She leans over the bar on her arms, somehow managing not to mar her posture overly much while doing so. She smirks over at Michael. "Hmmmm?" she queries slyly, arching both brows this time, probing. …No alien innuendo intended. "More what? What is the mighty Michael Vessley afraid of, hmm? You can tell me."

"Not a thing," comes the quick and easy response, almost as if it was prepared. (And it was.) "Doing what I do, you can't be afraid of much." He takes another drink of his iced tea, a nice big one, and shakes his head. "And even if there was, telling you would be a pretty big mistake, I might think. You might want to… use it against me."

Michael is absolutely right, of course, but from this moment on Aspen has made her childish mission to find out and do just that. "I wouldn't do that," is what she says out-loud, however, feigning insult with a hand fluttering to her collarbone. "Don't you think withholding such sensitive information might jeopardize our mission, should we run into this theoretical fear of yours, hm? What is it, then? Cats? Bats? Snakes?"

"No, no, none of that," Michael says, spinning his glass around in his hand. "Even if I /did/ have a fear, theoretically, trust me, we wouldn't run into it on the mission." If they did, it's no mission he wants a part of. "So it's nothing, really. Of course, like I said, I'm not afraid of anything anyway, so it's a moot point."

"Mhmm, of course it is. Entirely moot," Aspen says without a lick of belief. She'll find out. Someday. She'll find out. She sips neatly from her martini glass, nearly draining it, and lifts one shoulder in a seemingly careless shrug. "Long as it doesn't keep you up at night. So this is what you do every time, then — sit and drink and hope against death."

"It's not so bad, really. I get to go out, have a nice drink, and focus my thoughts on what's coming. It helps." While his fear /may/ keep him up at night, it's very rare anymore that it does. This, of course, he will never tell Aspen. "What made you come out tonight, then? If not the mission— just a girl's— well, /girl/ night out?"

Oh, great. Conversation. Conversation that turns around and leads to questions as conversation is wont to do. "Something like that," she answers curtly, taking another drink. Oh look, her glass is empty! What a wonderful distraction. Aspen starts waving at the bartender, luring him over so that she may say, "Another please, less ham-handed on the gin, hm?"

"Mmhmm," Michael responds, taking another sip of his drink and setting it down. He watches as Aspen gets the man's attention and her glass is re-filled, but he doesn't seem to have much to say or add to the conversation at this point. Quite frankly, he's rather surprised they haven't started yelling at each other or flipping one another off at this point.

And as such, in lieu of yelling, the torture known as the Awkward Silence starts to hang over the pair. Aspen doesn't seem to have anything more to say on the subject, nor any other, because she proceeds to stare straight ahead — sometimes into her martini. "…thrilling… as this is," she pipes up eventually, "I'm just going to…" Take her purse and drink and leave, it looks like — at least leave the vicinity of Michael, since she still has her martini.

Michael doesn't say anything at first as Aspen begins to get up, but simply raises a hand in a two finger half salute— it's more of a wave, really. "Have fun," he finally says, taking another sip of his drink as the woman departs.

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