2010-08-23: May the Froth Be With You

Starring:

Gene_V5icon.pngRandall_V5icon.png Portia_V5icon.pngCarrie_V5icon.png

Date: August 23, 2010

Summary:

If you strike me down, I shall become more powerfully awkward…


"May the Froth Be With You"

Starbucks, New York City

Currently, a man is seated in the corner of the Starbucks. Dressed in a short-sleeved white dress shirt without a tie along with some black slacks, the young man works on his computer. Three years ago, this would have been nothing irregular, as this young man always happened upon that spot. But times change, people change, and the spot was left open, other people taking the spot more and more as time went on. For almost a year, the man never returned to the spot, lost to other places far more impressive or important than a Starbucks. But now… The danger has seemingly past and despite all the changes, some things have returned to how they once were.

Gene is seated in his corner as he sips his chai tea, along with R2 (who is faithfully beside him). ….Better not mess with his seat.

As he walks in, Randall is navigating not so much by sight as by bumping into things slowly enough to avoid causing any damage. His attention is mostly on a sketchpad, jotting down a few unreadable scrawls—

—until he catches sight of the R2 unit. Hard to miss something that iconic, even going on peripheral vision alone. "Well, I knew Starbucks was a hive of scum and villainy, but this…"

The seventeen-year-old has her hands full. No, really. As Portia heads to the door a short time after Randall, she's lugging a guitar case and her usual messenger bag, currently which seems to be stuffed with books and papers. She manages to clear the doorway without too much of a hassle, peering around for a seat. She's much too distracted between what she's carrying and what she's trying to figure out how to order to notice Gene, R2, or Randall.

As the two people come in, each with their own matters to attend to, Gene takes not of them. The stare he gets from Randall is given a simple nod, hrmming to Portia before going back to his drink. He doesn't have his laptop as he used to, but a stack of papers, a title sheet revealing the simple reading material in question.

'Light Availability Effects on Conifer Seedling Morphology and Leaf Surface Wax Production'.

Okay, maybe not so simple.

Randall returns the nod in kind, then glances over at the mouthful of title sitting on the table. Ah yes, the college grind… he's about to leave him to it anyway when he hears the familiar thud of Portia's case bumping against the floor. "Oh, hey, lemme help you with that?" he offers, setting his own notepad down at an adjacent table and heading back closer to the entrance.

Giving a nod to Randall, Portia allows the guitar case to be taken as she moves to squeeze in towards a table, hanging the messenger bag on the back of a seat… which almost tips it over until the girl steadies it. She rubs her neck. "Sorry, kinda distracted." She scurries over to the counter, quickly, to order her drink.

While the young geek went back to reading soon enough, Portia's almost accident catches his attention as he follows her with his eyes. His brow come together somewhat as he seems to be in thought, a slight frown in concentration present as he takes the young woman and the man helping her to a lesser extent.

Randall winces, anticipating the chair tipping over, but too far away to do anything about it without hurting himself or the guitar. Probably both. Once Portia catches it in time, he relaxes a little, walking over to make sure it stays that way. "Another long day, huh?" he asks, continuing to watch. Her hands, mostly.

With coffee ordered, Portia stands to wait for it as she looks back to Randall. "Ah, yeah, been working on stuff. Placement auditions for Julliard are next week and I'm trying to make sure I really know my audition pieces, since I'm trying to actually place somewhere challenging in the classes. Piano, though, I'm thinking it's a lost cause and I'll place low. Just not as easy to find somewhere to practice all the time."

The …whatever Gene is reading is currently shuffled properly and placed on the side of his table as he continues to just watch the two as they talk. He doesn't seem close enough to listen, but that doesn't stop him from observing with a cool gaze.

"I thought so," says Randall, after propping the chair up against another one to keep it steadied. "Thought I saw a knot right about—" and waves his hand a few inches away from where she was rubbing earlier. Just far enough to seem not so much flirty as simply odd.

"Brush up on your Paganini," he continues. "And yeah, I tried piano just long enough to stay clear of it… it can do a lot, but then they always want you to do a lot at once. There's a reason it gets so many concertos…"

Portia's hand returns to the indicated place on her neck, rubbing gently. "Thanks." Her free hand gets her coffee before she moves back to the table, settling on her chair. "I'll try that. Kinda crazy having auditions and moving into the dorms about the same time. Finally have complete and total freedom. Well, mostly. Almost complete freedom." She states, coffee set on table before she shuffles through her bag. "Things kinda got crazy once my mom remarried, family-wise." A notebook is pulled out, coffee sipped, and then Portia lets out a heavy sigh.

The young man with the famed Star Wars Droid continues to drink his Chai Tea as he watches Randall and Portia talk to one another. Nothing to see here, just your average geeky people watcher with a working robot.

Randall inclines his head to Portia. "How you were able to get lost in the shuffle, huh?" Joining the line himself, he orders a cup of hot chocolate and a plate of pastry to go with it, looking back toward geek and droid and partner alike. That sigh— is she just continuing to work off tension from the same issues, or is there something else she hasn't brought up?

Settled on her chair, Portia can now, at least, focus on her surroundings. She glances around… and finally notices R2. And Gene. Hey, that's someone she's seen before! She offers a small wave, flipping open her notebook and scrounging in her bag for a pen. "Can't ever find anything in here." She mutters.

Gene does get up as Portia waves, seemingly getting ready to come over when suddenly he gets a phone call. Pulling out a rather odd looking variant of iPhone, the Geek God begins to speak into it. "Hey, John, what's up? …You're serious. No, I'll be right there, just make sure that we get the legal team in there. We worked out the contract, I don't want them weaseling out of it now. The issue of patent isn't going to be a big deal once they understand that it's not the same product but an improved product based on an inferior patent. …I'm confident in this, just keep them there." And with that, Gene is moving toward the door still taking over his gadget, flagged close behind by the droid who starts to follow without seemingly any cue from the man on the phone.

Carrie is wandering the city again. Perhaps she's looking for people to heal quietly, or perhaps just for something to do, someone to talk to, anything to get her out of an apartment that is swiftly becoming a cell for her. Stuck, stuck stuck. Carrie looks around the place and notices familiar faces. Griffin, R2D2, and oh, right, that one's her boyfriend. She listens to Gene's conversation a moment. "Excuse me, but is this the 'droid I was looking for?" She ignores her boyfriend for the moment.

Order partly in hand - the hot chocolate is backed up a minute while they refill the mixer - Randall heads back over to the table. Hello there, he knows that face pretty well. That expression on it, though, that's a little worrying. "That depends, are you Admiral Daala?" he offers, leaning against the back of a chair. Which sends Portia's messenger bag tipping toward the floor again - he only manages to catch it at the last second, and it looks like it did actually bump something this time. Crap.

With the messenger bag mishap, Portia only realizes quite what's going on because she hears Carrie's voice. Her gaze, however, is first on her coffee, which is narrowly caught as the messenger bag's decent almost tips the table. She gives Randall a sheepish smile, moving to take the bag from him now that he'd caught it and she gently moves it to a location under her seat where it won't cause any more disruptions. Her gaze then flickers towards the door.

A short break in the conversation allows Gene enough time to put the hand over the reciever to offer some soft words to Carrie. "Maybe another time," Gene offers absently to the woman, offering an apologetic smile before moving out the door, swiftly resuming his conversation as he moves toward the closest parking garage with his unusual company in tow. If Portia and Randall look out the window, they will notice the young man giving an semi-absent-minded wave as he passes the Starbucks by.

Carrie watches R2 and the guy with him leave, and looks back toward Randall and Portia. She looks down and away, as though her emotions are warring with each other again - this happens a lot - and finally orders a mocha, decaf, iced, and when it arrives, goes over to their table. "Mind if I join you? I wouldn't want to interrupt again." There's a certain amount of steel in her tone of voice though.

See? This is exactly what Randall feared was going to happen. Not that attempting to worry about it up front actually did any of them any good… Doing his best to plaster on a things-are-still-cool smile, he turns and shakes his head. "Sure, actually we just got here— I was still at work up until about half an hour ago."

"It's fine, I didn't even know Randall was here. I was working on audition pieces." Portia states, gesturing to the mess of papers coming out of her bag as well as the guitar, which is much more safely placed than her bag had been. "No intrusion."

Carrie sits down with her drink. "I know what you do takes time. Both of you. I know, right? It takes time and energy and love and passion for the work, and in the end we only hear the finished product. I get it." Easy enough for her to say, but it's obvious she chokes back the rest. Sips her coffee. Rubs the bridge of her nose. And doesn't add anything more.

Well, so much for playing it cool, then. Randall leans back in his chair, rubbing his eyes and saying nothing for the moment. He wants it all to work out - really he does - but there are only so many hours in the day, and he's increasingly worried that something's going to break. Maybe all of it, the way things have been going for him.

There's something else going on that Portia's missing at the moment. She leans into her coffee, sipping it as she draws a line of squiggles across the top of her notebook. "It's a lot of work and a lot of practice, but the music is what I do. It's who I am. I stick to it. Plus I'll be busier come two weeks… that's when classes start."

Carrie nods to what Portia says. "I do want to hear it when it's done, you know? You've both worked so hard on it already." Carrie sips her mocha, and tries to clobber the needy monkey inside her with a goodly sized wrench. She did, after all, encourage this. Vociferously. There may be a rodent involved in this scenario - that is, Randall may not have been strictly honest along the way somewhere, but if so Carrie either hasn't smelled it, or is ignoring it.

Randall hasn't lied about the situation with Carrie… not directly, at least. He hasn't really talked about it much to Portia since their last collective run-in, not that she would have wanted him to anyway. Letting them talk to each other seems like it might work… or it might blow up even more spectacularly, but he hasn't got any better ideas.

As far as Portia knows, things are still fairly okay. Last she really talked to Randall about it, things hadn't progressed into anywhere too messy. So really, Carrie's tense attitude is more confusing to the teen than anything. "Of course!" Portia states cheerfully, giving a smile towards Carrie. "You can be one of the first. It's only right."

Carrie smiles a moment. "Thanks." But the smile fades as fast as it got there, and perhaps it was never quite real at all. Carrie sighs and sets down her coffee. "Look, I'm trying not to be a drama queen here. I'm trying not to be all needy and teh boyfriendz must take carez of me. I'm doing my best here. I want the two of you to make this music thing work, but…" Carrie sighs and looks at her coffee. "Would you believe I had a paranoid streak before they took me to the funny farm?

And there's the other foot dropped. Not as bad as it might've been, but still. "If it helps any," Randall murmurs, "think about it this way— if we were doing anything besides working on music, do you think I'd be able to lie to you with a straight face?" Or Portia, for that matter. At least he doesn't think so. He'd never had occasion to consider the question…

Oh. Oh. Portia had thought this had been cleared up. The notebook in front of her is shut, pen capped, and she looks serious now. "I don't think you quite understand." She purses her lips for a moment. "I told him to quit. I told him I'd find another opportunity because I wasn't sure what he wanted, and I wanted to make sure it was just about music. He's sticking around because it is just about the music or I would have told him to forget about the deal." She frowns, still serious. "I don't think you're any sort of drama queen, and I can understand, considering…" Well, she doesn't finish that sentence. "I can assure you I'm not that kind of girl. Music's foremost in my life. You can even ask my social life."s

Carrie blinks and stares and shakes her head. "Oh, no no no. I didn't figure it was that. Well. Okay. I kinda wondered sometimes, but…" Carrie chews her lip and her hands fidget of their own accord. "It's more… I mean… It's more like… I lived pretty much on the street for a long time… after my parents died. And it's… hard to trust that anyone will come home, I guess. To me. So I didn't think the two of you were… doing anything immoral together, just… I guess I wonder where I fit in. If I fit in anymore."

"Hey. Hey. Wait up a minute." Randall leans over, taking Carrie's hand in one of his and placing the other on top. "I know we're still kind of working that out as we go - I mean there's this, and school" - for both of them - "and maybe the Carnival." Who seemed enthusiastic at first, but there was never any mention of a phone number. Would it come off as too pushy if they went back for another visit? "But you do fit in, you will fit in. I'm not just going to lose track of you, okay?"

"I feel like I'm eavesdropping in a conversation that's clearly not really relevant to me. I mean, no offense, but Randall's the one who needs to figure out what he wants out of life and the two of you need to figure out how you can still be in each other's." Portia neatly slips her notebook into her bag, followed by pen, and it's zipped and snapped accordingly. "And Randall, don't act like she has to 'fit in' relationships shouldn't 'fit in' to someone's life. You take your shit and you fit it in around her, you understand?" She gets to her feet, tugging the messenger bag over her head in preparation to leave.

Carrie looks up at Portia as she gets up to go. "I'd very much like to be your friend too. If there's time."

Randall slumps forward, meanwhile, continuing to ignore his drink. It's going to get cold at this rate. "I didn't mean it like that, okay?" Except… he kind of did. He was doing instinctive damage control— a bad sign in itself, but he's too close to the situation to see it clearly.

Portia smiles for a moment as she picks up her guitar case. The coffee sits, half-finished on the table. "Sure thing. I've got time." She states, glancing between her and Randall for a moment before she moves off towards the door.

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