2008-01-20: Getting There


Niki_icon.gif Logan_icon.gif

Summary: After hospitalizing his wife, Logan is a perfect gentleman and takes Niki to dinner.

Date It Happened: January 20th, 2008

Getting There

Charlotte's Flat


Sitting at the kitchen table in Charlotte's flat, which she now shares, Niki is alone. She's immaculate as she could make herself, as … nicely as she could think to dress, given the call she received earlier. She seems overdressed, all by herself: a black dress, sleeveless, simple, to the knee, sashed around her waist with sudden red. Her hair is pulled back into an elegant knot that does wonders in making her look worlds away from her former self, a swathe of blonde left loose to fall over half of her right brow, and paired with simple, natural, well-applied make-up, the effect is lovely.

The living room, with its myriad collection of ethnic art, lays open and empty behind her. It's been a strange twenty-four hours and she can't remember all of it, but she's made a good effort to put all of that behind her. It's been many hours since her forays into the world of alcohol and the adventures that followed, but only now, in these few minutes before 8 PM, does she have any kind of time to make good on her promise to herself: on the table in front of her is a folder. The pages exist between the manila are both thick and thin, photographs and paper. Maybe she'll have a few minutes to spare. Maybe he'll be late. She reaches for the corner of the folder.

Do you have to be punctual to be a politician? Presumably, it helps, and at least, this one seems to be. As soon as Niki's fingertips touch the folder inside, there's a sharp knock at the door, three in a row to be exact, and Logan steps back when he's done. His suit is black, along with his shirt, foregoing the tie but all the same, there seems to be a certain formality in his own dress code. Perhaps it's the expensive cut of the jacket, the also expensive masculine watch on his wrist. The only thing out of place for him arriving at this doorstep could, arguably, be his wedding ring. He's about as clean shaven and combed as ever, dressed immaculately as he's wont to do during the day, let alone such appointments.

It shouldn't be surprising when the knock comes on time, but Niki jumps all the same, immediately shutting her eyes and taking a moment to compose herself. Yeah, he's supposed to be there. Her hand flattens on the folder, and for a moment, she stares down at it once she opens her eyes - she could make a decision, right here, right now. Ignore the knocking, choose the contents of that folder — or open the door and delay her life for another day. Ultimately, knowing that there's someone relying on her right this second for … whatever reason, God knows, makes up her mind. Giving the folder a wistful, apologetic look, she curls her fingers away from it and makes her way to the door. "…Hey," comes her vaguely questioning hello once she opens it. Her own wedding ring is nowhere in sight.

Her presence gets a sweeping gaze before finally making eye contact, Logan casting her a mild smile. "Evening," he greets, stepping back. No intention to come in, just in case the place isn't empty. "You look fantastic." Now, his gaze skips over her bare shoulder, towards the otherwise empty interior of the generous apartment. The folder on the table might well be noted, before he brings his gaze back to her eyes. "I haven't stolen you away from anything important, have I?"

"… Thank you,' Niki answers. Modest tones, a humble smile; she glances down, then back, over her shoulder, following the gaze to the table and the folder she left behind. She hesitates in her response, which may well be the answer Logan was trying to find. Something important. "I was…" she looks back to him. "There's… a file on me. My life. Who I was." Another glance down, mascara'd lashes falling, her eyes settling, unseen, on the black high heels her feet have been slipped into. "Who I— used to be. …it's waited this long… where are we going?"

The smile fades, just a moment, at the news, but only slightly. "A life in a file," Logan says. His tone isn't harsh, or cold. At its best, it's neutral, perhaps soften by that curl of a smile. "I hope it's everything you hope it is." His head tilts a little, indicating her to follow. "Shall we? I figure, wherever we want. But I know a few places. You're not entirely a veteran of New York City, you know."

"I guess I'll find out," Niki says — her voice is distant, very nearly flat. She gives the apartment behind her another glance. "But, to be honest…" She reaches to open the closet near the door, jostling a cream-coloured, modernized trench coat off its hanger. "I'd rather find out who I am from someone who knows," she says to the man in the hall with a flash of a smile as she slides on the garment. A purse is swiped from a table near the door, small and black, and she's ready to go, stepping out, fishing a shiny, newly cut key from a pocket to lock the door.

For a moment, Logan even lets the smile he wears show in his eyes. Right answer. "I'd only be too happy to help," he says, with all the sincerity in the world. Playing the gentleman, he offers his arm to her, and once taken, begins to make for out. "So, hungry? Otherwise we can just go for drinks, I'm not gonna monopolise too much of your time. You have a lot of catching up to do. Thinking." Outside, there's a car, waiting for them - driver and all. It's expensive, sleek, and everything a politician's ride should be. "I mostly just wanted to get to know you again."

And Niki follows, taking the arm that's offered. It's hard to deny, offered so gentlemanly. The look she gives the door to the flat belies her hesitance, however; but her smile for Nathan — for Logan, unknowingly — is no less sincere. "I could go for something to eat," she says on the way down, out of the building.. "I've had enough to drink for a lifetime." Or, you know. a day, at least. "My roommate," is her only explanation of that. The waiting car isn't met with surprise, not really, but it's ever-so-slightly overwhelming, all the same. "Is this … anything like the first time we got to know each other?" she can't help but ask, blue eyes settling inquisitively on Logan as she prepares to get in the vehicle, stepping neatly off the curb in her heels.

Logan's head tilts to the side a little, and a glance towards the doors of the car, the tinted windows breaks the moment. As if their own reflection were enough to draw his eye. Smoothly, he moves away from her, opening up the door in offer. Another smile, other hand extending to help her inside. "Not yet," he says. "But getting there."

Colour Niki clueless. Then again, for all her crucial flaws in memory, she's not a stupid girl — who knows how much she reads into Logan's meanings, his body language? Considerably is the answer. And his answer brings about a curious look, not just curious about him, but about her, her life before, his insight, not suspecting for an instant that his motives could be anything but sincere. He also makes her smile — a bright white flash, charming, lingering even after its brightest moment has passed and she's ducked into the car. Getting there.

The car ride through Manhattan is predictable. Small comments here and there, the occasional and inevitable bout of awkward silence taken up by peering out the window. Somewhere in that time, Logan remembers, and he slips off his wedding ring. It's disappeared into his pocket by the time he's helping Niki out of the car, gentlemanly still if familiar.

The restaurant is an expensive one, one that likely needs a reservation, but the familiarity of his name gets them through the front door after a ten second wait, up winding stairs, and seated for two by a large window. A Japanese place, high class if not entirely formal, with a strongly Western bent all the same, although Logan does manage to drop a little bit of Japanese to the waiter who responds in kind, politely and brightly. Menus are handed out, Logan picks a wine, and they're left alone.

Having dinner.

"Champagne," Logan says, once wine has been poured, picking up his own glass and peering at it rather than her. "That would be one difference. We met in Las Vegas. You were employed by a friend of my family. I believe you've… met him already." Uncertainty, there, Linderman is meant to be dead. But. Details.

Champagne. Unaware of the deja vu, Niki quietly swirls the expensive drink around in its flute as she sits across from Logan. There's a certain amount of tension around her now that they're here. Subtle undercurrents. She glances around frequently, only to look up at her companion's face, smile that dazzling smile of hers, look away again. "Mister Linderman?" There's only a limited amount of "hims" Niki has met at Pinehearst. "He said we used to know each other. I didn't know I worked for him before, too. …Someone… last night, they said I worked at a bookstore. In the summer."

"Really," Logan says, with a slightly detached chuckle. "That's not setting the bar awful high. But I guess now that— well." He hesitates, as if trying to judge whether or not to give his opinion, although naturally he plans to no matter what. Gaze drops, a hand raises to scratch his neck a little, shifting the black, partially opened collar of his shirt. "Now that you've been given a second chance, you can cut out any kind of life for yourself."

Despite her dismissal of the thought of drinks earlier, Niki takes a sip out of the champagne flute. Afterward, she puts it down on the table, near the edge. Her gaze falls on it, the pale golden liquid, instead of Logan for a while. "I wanted to," she says — optimism that peaks and falls flat all in the same breath. "But … there're people waiting for me. People that— I don't know, but they know me." The woman's gaze skirts up to that of her dinner partner's. "I have a family."

The hand at his neck briefly dances up to rest beneath his chin in a slightly contemplative lean, regarding her for a moment. Then, Logan looks away, down to his menu without really reading it, though he does turn one of the Bible-thin pages absently. "We all have family," he says. "But not everyone has this kind of opportunity. I'm not saying you shouldn't visit those people from your past - I wouldn't be here if I believed that - but I guess it would be too easy for you to… cling to that. Instead of taking control."

Niki takes a cue from Logan and pays some measure of attention to the menu - not much, granted. "None of it seems real," she admits, her voice quiet, low. "I barely know who they are, you know, and I'm just supposed to…" She shakes her head, sitting up a bit straighter and setting the menu down. She swipes her hand along the blonde hair at her brow, down its length, just smiling dismissively. "It just seems like someone else's life." But her eyes lock on Logan — he's from her past, and he's here now, real.

There's some silence, broken up by the murmur of diners around them, the clink of cutlery, gentle strains of music from downstairs, and beyond that, the traffic of vibrant New York City. "I guess because in a way, it is," Logan says, in an almost apologetic tone. "I guess I should be honest with you…" His hand leaves the menu, navigates its way across the table smoothly to take hers. It's a friendly gesture rather than intimate, although the difference can be easily blurred. "I don't entirely want to be a chapter of your life closed off, which would make me a hypocrite, but I guess I'd also like to earn it."

"It— no, I…" Polite words stumble over one another in an attempt to— to what, reassure him? "You've been…" Niki gives her head a subtle shake. Her hand, underneath Logan's, does nothing to either escape or reciprocate either a friendly gesture or anything else. "Nothing but nice. I don't plan to cut you out. But if— " she stops and amends: "When … I look back, into my life before— I don't think everyone in it is going to understand," she says, fighting to find the right words and not quite getting there. Her expression takes a quizzical, curious nature as she regards Logan, now, searching his face, a faint smile on her lips. "Not like you."

After a moment, his hand withdraws, although he doesn't seem to take her lack of response badly, only moving that hand to pick up his glass and take a sip of crisp alcohol. Her search for whatever she wants to find doesn't yield much, save for the gentle smile he keeps for her, even if he has a habit of looking distant with his eyes, as if seeing something else entirely. "Well when you look back into your… into your prior circumstances," Logan says, turning the menu page back to its starting point, still mostly watching her, "I can be here for you. I want to do that much."

The distant look in Logan's eyes only serves to make Niki look a little deeper — as if wondering what he sees. The search is short-lived, in the long run, and she doesn't think anything of it, really. After a gracious smile, touched by her friend's — so she thinks — words, she picks up the menu again, tilting it up. Before looking down at it and its unfamiliar items, she offers a heartfelt: "Thank you, Nathan."

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