2009-10-19: Maybe Later

Starring:

Elena_V4icon.pngNicholas_V4icon.png

Date: October 19, 2009

Summary:

Still waiting for word on Gene's whereabouts, Elena tries to get her life back in order in New York by injecting some much needed normalcy back into it. Good News: New neighbor is charming, hilarious, handsome and helpful. Bad News: IT'S A TRAP!


"Maybe Later"

Parkview Estates, Upper West Side

newneighbor.jpg

Trap? Or just a Good Samaritan? Elena meets her new neighbor, Nicholas "Nick" Drake.

Morning in New York. Not early morning though at least, just morning….before noon, when the traffic trickles off for that moment or two between the end of rush hour and the beginning of the lunch rush. Most people are going about their jobs in that time honored way that New Yorkers are allowed to go about their jobs.

…as jackasses…

In the more upscale places like Parkview it's a slightly more subtle form of it, but it's still there as people ignore each other. Concentrating on just what matters most to them and not caring about what matters to anyone else in the world. As long as they get out of the way in time and don't try to bother them. Some people though seem to buck the trend. Some people have decided to buck the trend…

…that’s because some people have doughnuts. And that makes the world all kinds of better.
This strange rebel is Nicholas Drake, who is actually cheerful, actually humming softly to himself as he pads up the stairs to his apartment. Smiling good morning to people as a cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and brightly colored sprinkles hangs from his mouth. His other hand full of a back of more of his prizes, and his other hand full of a leash that is attached to a big white dog that…well…he's either walking the dog or the dog is walking him. One of the two.

"Hey! Storm! Slow up would you?" He calls around the tasty prize pastry, voice muffled by the treat.

The dog pretends not to hear him.

When Nicholas manages to crest upwards from the stairs and reach the landing of the seventh floor, he would find a previously unoccupied condominium’s door wide open, and boxes littering the hallway. They are in all shapes and sizes, and mostly filled with books - plenty of books, some are even out of the boxes and stacked up against the wall. There are also art pieces propped up against one of the cardboard mountains, a pair of worn rollerblades, and a volleyball. Judging by the color of said rollerblades - black, trimmed with silver and purple, he could probably surmise that his new neighbor is most probably female.

Then again, this is New York.

If he peeks inside the doorway, or if Storm barges in the wide-open space, he would find it egregiously empty, nothing but a vast space and polished hardwood floors. There is a balcony, and the French double-doors are currently undraped. The smell of freshly applied paint and varnish is heavy. The only thing in the living room is a plush, red couch.

There is heavy thumping from the stairs behind him, the slender figure emerging, finally, on the landing and carrying a few more boxes of, in movers' lingo, the 'easy stuff'. Dark hair has been pulled up in a loose knot, tresses framing her face and her teeth depressing gently on her bottom lip as she tries to maneuver through the minefield of the seventh-floor hallway. CDs, this time. And plenty of DVDs. With the weight for one so petite, one would think that she'd have a bit of trouble, but maybe she's just stronger than she looks. Near-obsidian eyes fall on Nicholas…and his dog.

"Sorry," Elena tells him amicably, her smile faint but apologetic. "I'll clear out the hall as quickly as possible, I promise."

"Murphle."

Yes Nick. Great first observation there. Well done. However as his eyes quickly take in the fact that his new neighbor /is/ indeed a girl. He shakes his head a moment and reaches up to pluck the remains of the pastry from his mouth. Holding up the leash wrapped hand with a single finger upraised in the universal gesture of 'give me a second'. On that hand that is waves at her glitters a single piece of jewelry, a graduation ring. The tall man hurriedly chews and swallows before he flashes a grin up towards the woman. He obviously looks like he's just came back in from a walk, his hair tousled by the wind and the weather. He hardly looks like he's broken a sweat though so it couldn't have been a very long one.

"It's no problem, especially since I live right across the hall." He adds with a flash of a expressive smile as he maneuvers his way around the boxes. "Here let me put this monster up and I can even help." He adds after only a moment of a pause.

A moment that Storm takes to poke his head and then most of his body into Elena's new and unfinished apartment.

"Hey! Storm! Stop that, wrong room!"

"I— " The usual excuses are poised to leave out of her mouth. It really wasn't a problem, she could certainly take care of her stuff, she hasn't even given her name and her new (and surprisingly exceedingly attractive) neighbor was already offering to help her out. She would scratch the back of her head if she could, glancing up and down the hall and the mess she has made. Then again, with two people, this would go faster… and these boxes were fire hazards. This was New York and while she wasn't certain she was pretty sure she was breaking fire code.

So with that same apologetic smile, she nods. "…alright, if it's not much trouble," she tells him. "I do have a lot of stuff. Some of them are very girly stuff." She warns him, though amusement glints in her expression when she says it. "So if you break out in an allergic reaction, don't say I didn't warn you." This is when Storm makes his presence known by trying to nose into her pad, and she blinks. "He's cute," she tells Nicholas unabashedly. "I love big dogs…I was thinking of getting one but I never have the time to take care of a turtle, let alone a dog. You're a brave man." She grins, lifting her shoulders in a shrug. "He can go inside if he doesn't…you know. Chew on things."

She sets the boxes she has down on the side, a few DVDs rolling out and groaning softly when Legend of Drunken Master crashes into Bad Boys and Hudson Hawk. "Ugh… I don't remember bringing this much stuff with me," she laments, straightening up and blowing a lock of hair from her eyes. Sticking her hand out, she inclines her head. "I'm Elena, by the way. 707." She nods to the door. "Do you live here? You mentioned putting Storm away."

"See…I have an ulterior motive," Nick confides as he struggles with the curious puppy. "There is this lady down the hall, Murkowitz in 713…if she comes home at lunch and sees this then we'll all be able to hear her screeching about it for the next week. Helping you is self defense." His words are followed by an easy grin as he finally gets the puppy under control. "Sit you." And Storm thumps down on the floor but gives the most pitiful look up towards Nick and Elena for a moment as he does.

Wanna plaaaay.

"No trouble at all…and I have a sister, if I was allergic to girly stuff I'd be dead already. If I start feeling faint though I'll warn you." He adds with his own flash of amusement written easy to read in that smirk that clashes to his face. "…and thanks. He's hardly two years old, so he still thinks he's a puppy." He adds as she compliments him on the dog. "And brave or stupid, one of the two. Been told that before." A glance down at the dog then. "No chewing." He says with a mock-fierce look.

Storm lies down and puts both paws over his snout.

"…stop that!" A rich laugh from the man tinges the words before he shakes his head and takes him off the leash. With the energy of a puppy the big animal leaps into Elena's apartment and careens around the empty space.

"Never get him out now." He says as he turns the attention of his dark eyes on the woman and the boxes she has. "…yeah, stuff always seems to multiply when you are trying to move in. Name is Nick by the way…" He hooks a thumb over his shoulder. "…708." A pause again before he notes the DVDs that have fallen out. Pause. Blink. "…Bad Boys? Hudson Hawk?" Pause. "You /do/ have Hot Fuzz don't you?"

The first quip regarding the grande dame down the hall causes her to laugh. "I've not met her yet," Elena replies, an easier grin tugging over her mouth. "Do you recommend it?" There's a glance towards the door he is gesturing to, and what he says about his sister prompts another laugh. "Please do," she tells him, picking up another box and shuffling it against her hip. "I don't want to be responsible for you breaking out in hives or in shock. I'll grab you a beer or something to stem the tide if you can't take it anymore," she offers mock-solemnly.

Her brows lift in appreciation when Nick demonstrates just how well-trained the dog is, and after another free laugh is let loose from her mouth, a brow is cocked towards Nick at his direction. "….God, New York men!" she suddenly exclaims, laughing again as she turns away from him to snag the fallen DVDs and shoving them back in the box. "I bet you he's only that well-trained so you could score with…I don't know. The hordes of models that fly in to the city every year for Fashion Week! That was way too cute for words. Which means it's a trap."

When he angles a brow at her DVD collection, she looks left, and right, and then, once she realizes there's no one else looking or eavesdropping, lowers her voice. As if imparting some great secret. "Hot Fuzz," she replies seriously. "Is the only reason why I own a Peace Lily." She nods to the plant at the corner. "Come on, you can grab the big box." And with that, she follows Storm in her space.

"Oh you will. You will," Nick replies with a over-dramatic shake of his head. "Then you will wish you could forget her!" A shake of his head at that before he is reaching down to pluck up one of those boxes of books. A wince for just a second before he crouches down to add a second to that stack. "…let me guess. You have an entire box of encyclopedias in here somewhere." He grunts as he starts into the room. "Where you want em?" He adds as he takes his careful steps inside the threshold. "I'll take you up on that beer too after this."

A grunt as he smirks back over his shoulder as she laments the wily nature of New York men. "Actually…" He drawls. "…I was born in Ireland." He adds with a wink towards her. That just makes it worse now doesn't it? "And yes, I can do the accent. It just seems so cliché to do it all the time though." Looking around for a place to put it he rolls his eyes. "Oh yeah. You caught me. My dad raises these dogs just for the family to be able to hit on models. It's like his birthday gift to everyone." He deadpans. "Promise you won't tell anyone?"

"…I'm impressed," He says with a slow and sage nod at the sharing of the secret of the Peace Lily. "…I tend to kill most anything green."

She flashes him a toothy grin at the deadpan. "It's still a trap. All the more now with the Irish accent. My pseudo-uncle's Irish, so I know all about you lot." That may be an exaggeration, but Elena does it anyway, a mock-winsome smile cast in her lippy neighbor's direction before pivoting and entering the room. She moves further in, situating the box of DVDs close to the free-standing DVD cases that have yet to be brought in by the movers stopping by the next day to help her with the heavy lifting. But it looks like the young woman already knows where they are going.

"Not really. For the longest time Papa couldn't afford a set of silverware, let alone encyclopedias. Those are just…" She looks over her shoulder at him, squinting. "…I think you grabbed my old schoolbooks. I think I've kept every book I ever bought since I started school." Nerd. NERD. This was so not the sort of conversation she should be embarking with the hot, new neighbor, but Elena doesn't seem to mind revealing to Nicholas, and the entire world, that she wasn't exactly the coolest girl ever to get out of college. That was more Kitty's deal.

"They're pretty easy to take care of," she tells her companion, regarding the Peace Lily. "Just stick it in indirect light, and they make those glass bulbs now that automatically dispense the right amount of water once you stick it in the pot." She watches Storm as he frolics back and forth between rooms.

"How do you have the time?" she asks curiously. "Do you work from home or something?" His career might be lucrative enough for it… he was living in this building after all.

"Trap is such a /harsh/ word!" Nick counters, though there isn't an inch of denial in that voice of his. I mean, how /could/ he deny something like that. A big frolicsome puppy /is/ an awesome way to hit on chicks. A nice distraction too when it comes down to it. "Well if you already know all about my lot you know we can drink you out of house and home, so maybe you shouldn't have offered me a beer!" He follows as she pivots and those bright and inquisitive eyes of his drop down to follow her movements and motions as she walks. A smirk and ever so slight shake of the head…

…oh yes. /Such/ a nice apartment, such a nice new neighbor. Best assignment ever.

"Every book?" He replies as he glances at the box that he sets down under her direction. "I usually only keep the history ones." He adds with a flash of a smirk. "I think my mom would fly from LA to New York /just/ to kick my ass if I got rid of any." She would know too. She just would. She's a ninja like that.
"Besides that, I like the histories." He adds thoughtfully as he settles the boxes down and turns towards her again.

He pauses to watch the frolicking dog and just has to smile at the fool he is making of himself. Running one way, the pausing…sliiiiiiiding…pausing again, running the other way. Circling the couch, crashing into walls with a soft thump and in general enjoying himself. "Oh I just take him with me if I need to go anywhere, and I get up early so I have time to walk him." He smirks slightly. "I don't really work from home, just based in New York really. I travel a bit." He adds with a shrug. "Security consultant." He adds before a flash of a grin. "And what about you?"

"But that's what it is! It's definitely a trap," Elena points out, though at the lack of denial she could only smirk at him sideways, dark brows lifting upwards. She has spent too many years in New York surrounded by too many men not to know the tricks by now. At least Nicholas isn't denying it in the least. As Storm runs around, sniffs, and skids across her hardwood floors, she doesn't seem to pay much mind, letting the ginormous puppy have his fun as she starts moving back towards the hall, peering around cautiously for the old woman Nicholas has warned her about. When she finds none, she'll continue bringing more boxes inside. "As far as alcoholic beverages are concerned, you don't need to worry about my stock. I don't drink much, but I keep libations around for guests. I think I better keep the Jameson away from you though. I heard once that if you give the bottle to an Irishman you'll never get it back."

She glances over at him, missing the furtive look on his part. "Your mom?" she asks. "Why, is she a history professor or something?" Whoever Mrs. Nicholas's Mom is, she sounds like an Academic… and someone he sort-of fears given the mention of an ass-kicking. But she sets more boxes aside, in favor of dragging some of the smaller ones in, buckling down and getting to work despite the conversation - she can multitask, able to divide up what she needs to do with socializing.

"Security consultant?" she asks, glancing to the side at him. "For which company? I'm…well, nothing that lucrative. I write for the Post, I was just moved to its New York satellite office downtown."

"What if he's just bait?" Nick counters as he returns a smirk right back towards the woman. No though he doesn't deny it. Really how can he? She knows by now how guys work at times and Nick /is/ a guy. That much is obvious, even as he follows the woman back into the hall, braving the empty space and the possibility of the crazy old woman. "That lady doesn't usually get here till noon or a little later, maybe we have enough time to get this all put away by then." He adds in a mock whisper as he goes back for the biggest box out there. "Mmmm…well you will get the bottle back if that happens." Pause. "It'll be empty, but you will get the bottle back at least!"

"Archeologist." Nick confirms with a shake of his head. "So might as well be a history professor or something, her and dad live in LA." He adds with a smirk before he shakes his head. "As far away as possible." Though there isn't dislike or hate in his voice, more wry resignation.

"Eccentrics."

He adds after heartbeat worth of a pause before he starts working on the boxes as well. He /can/ walk and talk at the same time as well.

"At the moment I work for a firm called Green Dragon Watch. I'm sort of between contracts at the moment." He adds before he blinks. "Oh a writer then? For the Post. You have to be pretty good then."

"That's what I mean. The pair of you constitutes the trap," Elena points out, plunking a box on his outstretched hands and smiling at him matter-of-factly. And then? She starts piling on more things, another box on top of one, and another, and another. Nicholas seems to be a fit, athletic young man, he can handle the load! Right? Right. "Though thanks for the warning about the lady….I'll try and give her a wide-berth. She sounds like one of those that has a Chihuahua or something living in her purse." She rolls her eyes and gives him a look when he tells her about what he would do with her Jameson bottle. "Beer for you. You haven't earned the good stuff," she says with a sniff, picking up another load of boxes and heading back inside her condominium.

She listens to him with the attentiveness of one who paid a due amount of focus on facts for a living. Academic, eccentric parents who lived in Los Angeles. "So you were born Irish, but you moved to Los Angeles?" she wonders, glancing at him. "Then again if your mom was an archaeologist, she probably traveled around a lot." The boxes she carries jingles slightly - sounds like glassware, underneath the cover. Green Dragon Watch. "Sounds like a Triad outfit," she tells him with a grin. "Very…I don't know. 15th Century China."

She shakes her head at his last. "Me? I got a lucky break," she says. "I'd like to think I'm good but I've got a lot to learn. Have you always lived in New York?"

"I'll take that as a compliment," Nick shoots back towards the woman. "And I'd only be /that/ bad of a trap if I decided it was too hot in here and had to take my shirt off while doing all this heavy lifting." His comment laced with threads of amusement as he takes the box from her. Of course he might regret that quip when she starts stacking the leaning tower of cardboard in his outstretched arms. Knees bend and his shoulders bunch up as she piles more and more weight on him. "…this should at least earn the /bad/ whiskey." He groans as he starts to try to make his way back inside her apartment, he grunts and groans and makes a production of it…but he seems to be handling the weight well. Athletic and strong it looks like, keeps himself in shape. Back in the condo he starts looking around for a good place to put all of this stuff down.

"Moved all over the world. Dads a Zoologist, the pair of em never settled down until they retired." He says with a shake of his head as he starts to slowly lower his load down to the hardwood floor. A sigh of relief before he chuckles. "Yeah it does…supposed to be named for some Irish something or other, but I'm not paid to complain about the name." A chuckle before he turns to look back towards her, shaking out his arms just slightly from the work before heading out to refill on boxes.

"Well ya have to have at least a bit of talent or they would have fired you already." He says as he flexes his hands and reaches up to take the jacket he was wearing off. Just the jacket. "Not always, I moved around a lot too." A chuckle as he holds his hand up again, fingering the ring there for a moment. "West Point."

The brazen response causes Elena's jaw to drop, gaping at him in regards to shirtlessness on his part. "You…you…" she sputters, her cheeks coloring red bordering on purple. "Well thankfully we don't have to worry about that. Right? Right?!" Oh, Jesus Christ, just what did she let into her home?! She'd be offended if it wasn't so amusing….thankfully Nicholas doesn't sound serious. Still, at his groan, she can't help but laugh. "I don't know if I have bad whiskey," she tells him. "But I'll tell you what - I'll be a good neighbor and give you free reign over the supplies of my would-be bar once. Because you took pity on some poor girl who lives on your floor. Never say I take assistance for granted."

Two bodies are better than one, in this case, as boxes are moved into the condominium and several of them unpacked. Even as the space is littered with bits and pieces of two altogether unconnected lives, she glances at him occasionally every time he speaks, or she does, while shuffling away plastic, breaking down cardboard, or putting away more knick-knacks. At the very least she isn't trying to con him into helping him assemble boxes worth of Ikea furniture…. she can handle that, and despite everything, she's too nice and his acquaintance too new to start exploiting his good-natured offer to help out. So she settles for conversation, and moving boxes further in.

"That must be nice, I only started visiting other places across the pond recently," she tells him. "Spain was really my first major trip out of the United States. I don't really count Mexico since we have family there."

She grins, when he points out logically that she had to have some skill or she wouldn't remain hired. "That's true," she concedes. "But I'm new, and the youngest in the department. I have a lot to prove." She stands up from her crouched position, to help him move the rest of the boxes in. However when he wiggles the ring at her, she blinks. "West Point? Really?" she asks, grudgingly impressed. "I thought the people who went there were usually planning on making the military a career, though? Now you're in the private sector?" There are questions there, glimpsed from the dark, gold-flecked mirrors of her irises. Did he serve? When? He didn't look that much older than her. What happened that he quit? Did he get injured? Maybe his leg is a prosthetic?

The look he turns on the woman can be described as many thing. None of those things have /anything/ to do with innocent though. Teasing is the best description for the moment as Nick just watches her slowly loose her composure for a moment. Ah. /Almost/ purple. He'll take that. "Riiiiiiiiiiiight…" He drawls out towards her. The world almost lazy. "…just boxes, nothing really to worry about." A beat. A pause. "So when are you moving your furniture in again?" Again that rich and easy laugh before he shakes his head. "Good, bad whiskey is the cause of many evil things in the world…and don't tell me that. Cause if you tell me that I'll have to actually take you up on that offer and it might leave you with very little in the way of a bar!" He warns her with a wink. "…alright though. I /will/ keep that offer in mind. Drakes don't usually take that for granted either, help that is." Pause. "Or access to a booze supply."

He keeps his attention divided mostly between the items and the woman, though his eyes don't really stop moving. Flickering towards the dog and his play as he finds a discarded box to crawl into, to the woman taking items of importance to her at least. It's not in the manner of a criminal being shifty-eyed, but of a man who simply likes to be aware of things around him. Something drilled into him that it's almost impossible to suppress.

"Well mostly I was told to go where, it's what happens in the Army. Had a nice vacation in Spain once though." He adds before a slight shrug of his shoulders.
"Yeah really, former Captain." A Captain, company commander. "I just had a few differences in opinion with some higher ups. Decided to see what I could do in the private sector."

He pauses for a moment as he stands from the box he was working on, dusting his hands off before he rolls his head to fix the woman with a knowing gaze. "Alright lovely lady reporter. Come on. Go ahead and ask all those questions before you just explode."

There is a wadded piece of newspaper tossed at him from across the room, Elena giving him a flat look from where she's situated. "You're shameless." Which is, by far, the understatement of the century as far as she's concerned as she works on unpacking yet another box. "The heavy stuff comes in tomorrow but movers are taking care of those. It's not in me to cruelly sign on my Good Samaritan neighbor-type into heavy lifting within forty-eight hours of meeting him." Her smile is a touch wry, hooking upwards at the corner of her mouth. "And hey, that was not an open invitation to turn my bar into some kind of isolated draught-spot in New York City, by the way. Don't make me beat you with this bubblewrap roll." And she waves it at him in emphasis.

"A captain?" Elena wonders, looking up at him from where she's seated. "You've seen a lot of action, then?" Middle East, maybe? That's where most of it is these days, but part of her is afraid to ask - war was typically an unsavory topic, after all. However, at the mention of higher-ups, she winces. "Did you get booted?" she wonders. "Or did you just quit?"

When he calls her on the questions, she laughs, and points at him with the same bubblewrap roll. "That," she tells him. "Is a dangerous doorway to open towards reporters especially, my friend. You sure you want to go there?"

He takes that wadded piece of paper like a man! Right in the chest before he glances down at he as it rolls across the floor. "Hrmmm…well maybe I am." He adds after a cheerful moments thought. "But you haven’t thrown me out yet so I have a feeling you aren’t all that annoyed with it." He adds with a wink towards her before he sighs and shakes his head. "Guess I'll have to pass then, don't want to break this 48 your rule on abusing nice neighbors you have. If only we had met yesterday you could have used my help though right?" He winks towards her before shaking his head. "Naw, besides you said only once. Wouldn't want to overstep all these rules would I?" Pause. "I'll have to defend myself if you try…with…" He reaches into a box and withdraws a box of tinfoil. "This!"

En..garde?

No not really, but he chuckles lowly at the next question. "Oh a bit. Been a bit hot in the world past few years it has." He adds with a nod towards her, seemingly unbothered by the question. "Just didn't renew my tour, took a honorable discharge when it was all over." He adds lightly with a shrug.
He raises the tinfoil to mock-defend himself as he smirks towards the woman. "Would I have offered if I didn't? Gives me an excuse to stand here and be shameless in your condo some more."

"No, not really. You're helping me carry things, I think I can bear it for an hour or two more," Elena ripostes, an exaggeratedly toothy smile flashed at his direction before putting away another box she has just emptied. "Though I suppose if I did meet you yesterday, I guess I could use it." She rolls her eyes skywards as he banters back, a 'yeah yeah yeah' expression on her face until he whips out…. her roll of aluminum foil. She narrows her eyes at that. "Careful, amigo. Them's fighting words," she deadpans, brandishing the bubblewrap roll defensively in front of her.

En garde indeed.

"….we're dorks," she tells him with a laugh, standing up and dragging a box over to where he is. It sounds like they're full of kitchen stuff, considering all the pan handles sticking out of it. She sets the thing on the granite counter and tosses the lid to the side. "Do you miss it?" she asks, genuinely curious, angling her head upwards slightly as she meets his eyes. "Being out there? How long had it been since you left?"

When he raises the tinfoil again, she whaps at it with her bubblewrap roll, laughing when he smirks at her. "I know, but usually people regret giving me an opening like that."

"Indeed they are. I'll have you know I'm well trained in my chosen…foil…" Nick has to pause to look at the box for a moment before he just starts to chuckle. A low pleasant rumbling as he flashes the woman a smile full of white and even teeth. "I can't believe I just said that!" He says with the laughter ringing his his voice as he leans against the counter, holding himself up with one hand and shaking his head. "Yes. We are dorks. Huge ones. Not that I'm complaining."

A smirk then before he reaches down to open the box with the pans. A pause for a moment before he shakes lightly. "Well yes sometimes I do." He replies honestly enough as he taps the roll of tinfoil against his shoulder. "It was fun, interesting, not /usually/ boring, and I felt like I was helping people every so often. Just been about six months or so I've been out."

Then his own weapon gets thwacked by hers and he glances down at it before poking towards her shoulder with the roll. "Yeah well we just met so I didn't know any better, now I'm just curious if your brave enough to keep me around long enough to take advantage of the offer."

She's poked, tilting sideways as if it were made out of lead and not something light and insignificant. Elena lifts a hand to swat at the edge of his foil. "I can't believe you said that either. I mean, I can be a dork. A huge dork, but man," she points out, deadpanned and straight-laced all the while as she says it. Though when he says he's not complaining, she laughs. "I don't know, it seems pretty weird to me. I'm the fresh-out-of-college kid and you're….you were a captain in the armed forces. You have absolutely no room to be a dork," she points out simply, gesturing with her bubblewrap. Setting it aside, she moves around the counter to start packing away the pans now that he's opened the box. There is a lot of them. Either the woman hoards kitchenware, or she just likes cooking. It was, at this point. his guess.

"That's not too long," she wonders, ducking under the counter to start putting things away. "Well I'm glad you feel like you're making a difference while you're out there," she says, looking up at him from her crouched position in the floor, blowing a lock of hair from her eyes. "And it sounds like you've not been a civilian for very long. Is your present work interesting?"

When he confesses his curiosity, she laughs, rolling her head back. "Well, depends if you're just helping me move boxes in or if you're helping me unpack too," she tells him. "So is that the only reason why you quit? Because you butted heads with your superiors?"

"Yeah yeah yeah, just because I was an officer doesn't mean I can't be a dork too," Nick counters with a grin towards there before he sets the foil down and shakes his head. "I blame my parents. Dad one year sent me a dwarf caiman…he had named it Chompy." Pause. "That should tell you a lot about just how much of a dork my whole family might be." A glance down then at all the things in the box and he blinks. "…right, either you /really/ like to cook or you aren’t moving in here alone and I need to start looking over my shoulder for jealous boyfriends that will throw me out." He quips towards the woman as he reaches down to pick up a second box full of cooking things that he also places on the counter.

"Naw, not very long in the least," He says as he pulls the box open and grins. "Well it's good to make a difference, yeah though. The work is good enough…apart from a very annoying partner." He says with a shake of his head. "I think I'll live though."

"Eh I can help you unpack too, if you think you can survive being around me for a bit longer. That’s pretty much the only reason though, once you piss off a general your opportunities for advancement are kind of stuck."

"….you have a mini-croc called Chompy?" Elena repeats, disbelieving eyes fixing on him as he helps her unpack the pans. "….are you serious? I figure if it's a reptile, it can honestly live anywhere, but they allowed that in this complex? You must really make good money." The last is a touch dry - given her family's turn of fortunes, she's less biased against the rich these days, so her tone is more amused than anything. However as he glances down at the pans, she laughs and shrugs her shoulders. "I like cooking," she affirms, reaching in the same box, standing across the counter from him as she does. "I wanted to go to culinary school at one point, but then I went to college for other things." The boyfriend comment causes her to turn away, carrying the pans and slipping them under the counters. "And….no, no boyfriends. Boy friends, I have a lot of. Just… my last relationship ended a year ago."

And it's been all work ever since.

There is a pause at that, fingering a skillet absently. Whatever she's thinking though is masked by hair and the angle of her body as she's crouched on the ground, putting her things away still.

"I guess if you're helping me unpack, I owe you two beers," Elena jokes, looking up. "Thanks though, Nick. I really appreciate it."

"Dwarf caiman, he's /maybe/ as big as your hand. Full-grown." Nick replies with a smirk towards the woman. "Like I said, dad named him. When we were growning up we had a raccoon. Named Jailbait." A shake of his head. "Oh the stories I could tell of /that/ one." He says with a fond smile on his face. "And naw, not /all/ that good money." He adds with a wink. "But I'm not hurting at all." The dry tone is noted, but he just glides right on past it as he continues to unpack. "Well good, I'm going to be knocking on your door then sometimes. I'm not /bad/ at cooking, but I'm not great at it either."

Then she's turning away and he frowns slightly towards her and then shakes his head slightly. "Well it's good that I'm not going to be punched for helping. That’s happened before to me…" He adds before he flashes the girl a grin, dipping down just slightly so she might can see it though the waves of her hair. "Didn't mean to bring up old news, and you're not going to be attacked by some blonde thing in the hallway for this either."

The only blonde he knows at the moment is interested in just his boss.

"I haven’t been around New York for very long to be honest, haven’t gotten to make many friends." A wry smile then. "How bout a beer and dinner once you get everything unpacked?" he adds with a smirk. "I mean if you /do/ like to cook I just thought I'd offer myself as a willing and appreciative audience."

"….a raccoon. Named Jailbait," Elena replies slowly. "And your father named him too? He sounds like he's got…. quite the sense of humor." Though when he tells her what he does, she grins at him. "Well I'm glad you're not hurting at all, in any case. And hey! Look, I might've offered you some booze but not all the contents of my fridge!" Laughter is implied there, but there's a flash of apprehension at the last. She glances at the refrigerator, all the food inside. More than a single girl can pack into herself in a week before things go bad. She could always tell him she buys too much, maybe, chewing on her bottom lip absently.

However when he brings up old news, she opens her mouth, and closes it again. There's a bit of a shrug, putting the rest of the pans away. "Should I ask about said blonde thing?" she wonders. "I mean, if she's the violent sort and everything? I wouldn't want to cause any trouble."

She does incline her head when he mentions he hasn't been in New York long. "Well I have a feeling it won't take too long for you to make friends," she says. "If you're helping people move and telling people stories about your weird family pets." She would say more, but his following words cause her jaw to drop. "….did you just tell me to make you dinner after this?" she exclaims, tossing the entire bubblewrap roll at him. "You're brazen!"

"Whole family does," Nick confirms with a shake of his head and a rueful smile flickering to his face for a moment. Oh he hasn't seen the fridge yet, the inside. He doesn't even seem to notice the worried glance in its direction, as he was busy picking things out of the box for a moment even as she's laughing at him. "Well I don't want /all/ the contents of your fridge!" He calls, muffled slightly by the cabinet that he's setting stuff into. The laughter in his voice is easy enough to hear.

"Eh, there isn't said blonde thing. Just using a blonde as a example." He says cheerfully. "There isn't /any/ thing at all really. So there isn't any trouble to cause."

Pause.

"You know Storm is stuck in a box don't you?"

Indeed the big dog has half of that discarded box dangling from his midsection as he's crawled through it looks like.

"Well I can holy hope," He adds lightly as he stands up /just/ in time to get smacked by the bubblewrap roll. "I did not tell you to make me dinner! I just offered my expert tasting services! I've always heard that the cook always cooks better for people that appreciate it!" He says with that entirely disingenuous look on his face. He's just innocent see. "Just trying to be helpful!"

"Well good, because I need my fridge. I love my fridge," Elena replies, jerking it open as if in emphasis and peering into it, retrieving two bottles of Rollin' Rock. She tosses him one of the cold, green bottles - at the very least, she's fulfilling one promise at the present moment. "Well, that's good, but I only asked because you brought it up. I thought you were serious about crazy blondes in the building. You'd warn me if there were any hazardous persons around, right? With most of my stuff still in boxes and the furniture not here yet, I could easily move out before anything else happens."

It's clearly a joke, grinning faintly afterwards as she works the cap off the glass bottle and takes a gulp of the beer. When she sees the dog get into trouble, she blinks. "Wait… Storm! Get out of there!" she calls, setting her bottle down so she could go help the half-Husky, attempting to work the cardboard out of the big, fuzzy thing.

She hears him try to protest, and she stares at him some more. "Are you for real? Expert tasting services?!" She's laughing, despite herself, shaking her head and finally yanks the cardboard off Storm. "You fuzzy troublemaker," she chastises the dog lightly. To Nick, she chews on her bottom lip for a moment indecisively, and then sighs. "Well, I'd like to say I'll be happy to oblige you. I owe you for helping me move and unpack my stuff but I have to be out of here after this is done to go back to the office…" she says slowly, and for the most part, she looks genuinely apologetic. "And I won't be back until tomorrow night to get my stuff set up. Beer will have to do for now, if that's okay?"

Nice reflexes. A hand snaps up to catch the bottle in midair. "Like Jack Burton says, it's all in the wrist." He drawls towards her as he reaches down to pop the cap off the drink off before taking a short and easy pull on the foamy liquid. "Naw, the one at the end of the floor is the only crazy woman I know around here. I don't think there is much reason for you to run for the hills. I think you're good." He adds before he smirks towards her. "Well I guess I'm the only hazard around here…since you think I'm a trap and all."

He steps away from the counter then as he steps forwards and towards the altercation of woman and big dog. Storm seems perfectly happy to wriggle and shake and in general make life difficult for Elena to help, including attempting to lick her on the cheek. He looks entirely unabashed and unrepentant as she admonishes him too.

"You talking to me or the dog?" Nick says chuckle before he smirks. "Hey? It sounded good to me." He adds with a wink towards her. A pause then before he shakes his head lightly. "Ah just my luck then Elena. Just my luck…once again if I had met you yesterday I would have been good." A dramatic sigh before he nods. "More than okay Elena, more than okay." He recovers with a grin towards her. "Maybe later, after all you /are/ just across the hall now."

"Big Trouble in Little China. One of the classics," Elena replies, recognizing the quote and grinning at him faintly. The cardboard box put away, she walks over to take one of the other boxes. "And you're definitely a trap. You and Storm," she reiterates. "But I'm not complaining too much considering the help, I was able to unpack half my stuff already with your help. So if I sprung a trap, I sprung it my way." She drops a hand in passing to ruffle Storm's ears as she makes her way back to the kitchen, setting down a box full of other kitchenware. The supply, it seems, was endless.

"Better today than yesterday, I think," she tells him. "At least you caught me in a good mood. There was some deal with the movers yesterday about my bed and I was cranky all day afterwards. But yeah, just your luck…. but at least there's plenty of beer. At least I'm living up to my part of the earlier bargain."

With that, she hands him a stack of cookware, beaming at him. "But here! There's more, it's my favorite set…" It clearly was, considering the silver shine with the very girly, purple handles with the little stars. If he was going to break out in hives touching girly stuff, he might as well do so now. "So make yourself useful."

She pauses at his last, indecisive. In many ways, it was alien. Dinner. She hasn't really cooked for any man outside of her family circle since…

But the smile returns, a noncommittal shrug given as she eases past him, carrying her own load. "Yeah," she says, looking over her shoulder at him. "Maybe later."

"Got it in one," Nick replies towards the woman. A snort then as he takes another long pull of the beer in his hand, the crystalline droplets of condensation already beading on the outside of the glass. "Well if you did spring my trap, seems you did it without any harm didn't you?" He asks with a wink towards the woman as he watches the dog liiiiiiiiiiicks the hand that pets him. Pause. "Is your kitchen big enough for all of this stuff?" He asks incredulously.

"Well I'm glad I caught you on a good day," He returns towards her with a nod. "Then I'll take at least those two beers, and the rest of the things are entirely negotiable right?" He adds as he sets the drink down to go help once again. However as he notices the patterns on the items that she's handing towards him he blinks at it. Reaching behind himself he gropes a bit for the mighty foil that sits on the counter and plucks it up once again before gently poking at the purple handled set.

Poke. Poke. Poke.

The purple and the stars. They might get him.

"…seems safe…" He finally declares before reaching out with a teasing smirk coming to the fore and plucking up the items as he takes them back to the kitchen, throwing a mocking. "Yes 'ma’am, Elena 'ma’am." Over his shoulder as he does so at the ordering around he gets.

A smile, a shrug. That’s good enough, more than getting thrown out. After all he /did/ just basically invite himself over for dinner. "Excellent…"

Pause.

"…purple? With /stars/…can you get more girly? Well it could have unicorns on it too…"

"Unicorns?!" Elena almost sounds offended.

The course of the day spent unpacking is the same, thrown for a loop by a surprisingly charming stranger who didn't fear giving her crap. Then again, she could understand - six months out of a career he thought he was going to be in forever, just moved in to a new city. She could think of many ways why he would be so reluctant to do anything but socialize at every chance he got, to reinject himself in a normal, human society that didn't involve mines, and bombs, and things exploding. She couldn't help but wonder, deep down, whether he was adjusting as well as he seemed, though he certainly seems normal enough despite whatever trauma he would've faced overseas. She didn't know, she knew these were all conjectures… unfortunately there wasn't enough time to ask.

For today, at least.

Straightening up after all the boxes have been unpacked, she snags her jacket and checks her watch. Now was the time to kick him out, considering she has to leave… it was approaching three in the afternoon, and she had to make headway in the office still. "Just in time," she murmurs, shrugging it on and glancing at Nicholas. "Well, I better start heading out,"
she tells him, opening the door for herself, him, and the dog. "Again…. I can't thank you enough. Thanks for helping me move in, and the conversation. It was labor intensive but…. it wasn't so bad if the company is good." She leans her hip against the doorframe, crossing her arms over her chest. "I'm sure I'll see you around though if you're just across the hall."

Mine, bombs, things exploding, guns, knives, angry people trying to kill him…

…oh wait. It's New York. Almost like home.

However Nick just nods as he dusts his hands off as he stands and looks around the place. A strident whistle brings Storm to attention as he trots after the ex-army captain. For all the acting like a goober he does seem to be surprisingly well trained as he comes walking easily out of the apartment. He does seem to have adjusted easily, but there was so many questions that he didn't ask, and so many questions that she didn't ask that he could read in those dark eyes of hers.

…well he did give her an open invitation to do that didn't he?

But not today.

"Yeah, I need to get home and walk this monster." Nick replies as he nods once towards her. "I'm glad you think I'm good company." He adds with a chuckle towards her and a shake of his head. "I definitely think I like my new neighbor." He adds with a flash of a grin as he nods once towards her. "Oops, jacket." And he reaches sloooowly past her, leaning forwards to grab the item in question from the floor before throwing it over his shoulder. Again a wink. "Not gonna walk me home?" He asks before stepping out of her condo and all of the six or so feet to his as he pulls a jingling set of keys out of his pocket.

There is a little Celtic cross keychain that they all happen to be hanging on.

"I hope I see you around Elena, and your welcome for the help…" Just a flash of an honest smile, just for a second again. "…it's nice to meet someone new here." He adds with a nod as he fits his key into the lock and turns it with a click.

He leans forward, and she can't help but back up, her breath holding as he reaches around to grab his jacket and sling it against his shoulder, to stem the tide and do her best not to slug him, lashes half-closing over her eyes. It would be an expectant look, as if she were expecting him to lean in all the way…. if it weren't for the briefest flash of apprehension flying past her irises, he might think she would want it. But he's smarter than that, if he did, the consequences may very well have been regrettable by the way her fingers curl tightly on the edge of the nearest piece of furniture. So many have tried, to grab her, imprison her, or worse. The instinct to protect herself is still there, sharper than ever.

But he doesn't, and her shoulders relax subtly.

"I'll seeya," Elena replies in turn, lifting her hand and spreading her fingers in a wave, inwardly berating herself.

Was this what the last almost-three years reduced her to? An edgy porcupine unnecessarily bristling at others? What would've happened if he had leaned in closer? Perhaps even accidentally? Would she have lashed out and made his life a mortal hell for however long it took for her to calm down?

She watches him close the door, before she locks her own in turn, to turn and head out of the building and get to the office.

The door shuts behind him and his hand reaches down to ruffles Storm's ears. Nick's own condo is spartan really. A few personal touches, history books on the shelves. Roman and Greek and Celtic weapons in an artful array on one wall. A few pictures here and there. A case of metals in a subtle display on the bookshelf.

His eyes glance around the room once more before he just shakes his head slightly and dips into his pocket for a cellphone. A dialed number, a ring and then someone clicks on the other end. No words, just the hint of a reception.

"This is Drake," He says after a heartbeat where he can almost see that flash of apprehension in a pair of dark eyes flash into his vision. "Made contact. She doesn't suspect a thing. Get a team ready."

Then pushing off the wall he snaps the cellphone shut with a flick of his wrist as he starts to head towards the kitchen.

"So what do ya want today Storm? Leftovers again?" He asks casually as he disappears into the other room.

Life goes on. A new day, a new job.

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