2008-01-30: Networking


Charlotte_icon.gif Randall_icon.gif

Summary: A few days after the impromptu jaunt to the West Coast, Charlotte and Randall meet again and start getting properly acquainted.

Date It Happened: January 30, 2008


Oldcastle Pub and Restaurant

It is the epitome of Happy Hour here, which means a bunch of old townies are sitting around the bar, watching the game and telling stories of days of old. There are a few yuppies in suites, and a few other sorts that can't really fit into a group. Some bikers are playing pool; it's all very expected.

Charlotte enters, wearing what looks like a suite with a jacket-blazer thing over it. The dress is pink, the jacket black. She has a pea coat on, with a scarf and hat, and a gym bag is over her shoulder. She just got out of work and her self-defense classes, and decided to stop at a nearby place!

Randall arrives at the bar at about the same time, but for just the opposite reason: he needs to keep the rent paid, and while he's no guru of eclectic mixed drinks, he has the presence of mind needed to keep up with the sheer volume of customers on a busy night like tonight. He lets himself behind the counter and nods to the early-shift bartender, looking around to get an initial handle on the crowd.

Charlotte walks up to the bar, setting down her bag at her feet. There's nothing important in there. She doesn't recognize Randall at first, but instead just stands up on the foot-bar to wave at the tender, just like she did the first night. "Excuse me!" She calls, hoping someone heard while she undoes the button on her jacket and lets her hair down.

Oh, someone heard, all right. Randall finishes wiping his hands clean with a rag, eyes the customer in question— and, without missing a beat, turns and reaches for a bottle at the far bottom right of the display. And a can of Red Bull from common stores. "One crunk juice coming up," he announces.

Charlotte lifts her head from setting her bag down, her mouth open slightly to respond in a question. But she doesn't, she actually pauses with her mouth hanging open a bit. Uh. Uh. "…Hi." She says, a flush of red touching her cheeks. This is going to be awkward. It's quiet for a moment before she speaks again. "Hi." This one less unsure, but still unsure a-plenty.

Randall mixes up the whatever-it-is and sets it down, his own face visibly crimson despite the low-key lighting. There's nothing for it but to ask the question that's on his mind.

"Listen," he murmurs quietly, "after California, we didn't… did we? I think I lost a few hours somewhere after that, and—"

Charlotte teleported the man across a country, and his problem is the potential for sex? Of course, now that this dirty little thought has been put into her mind, the other woman flushes a bright crimson, to the point where she could be a light fixture herself. "We put you in a cab…" SHe says incrudulously. "That…that's what you're curious about?"

Visibly relieved, Randall shakes his head. "No, that's just what I was unsure about. Of course I'm curious about the other thing, but here and now isn't exactly a good time to discuss it, you know?" There are, after all, plenty of other customers who also want to consume mass quantities tonight, and in fact he's already pouring beers for a few of them as he talks.

Charlotte has to ask. "Why on earth would you have assumed that happened? We just met!" And she's hardly the woman to be jumping into bed with people, despite how she behaved that night. She behaved that night to defend Niki! After she slips out of the jacket, revealing a simp,e official cocktail dress with a high neck but a very fitting cut, she takes the drink and throws it back relatively quickly. Oh dear, this is going to be fun. "And one for yourself, darling." She says, motioning to the glass as she takes out a debit card.

Randall shakes his head. "Sorry, can't drink on my own shift. If you're still around after…" And shrugs as the next couple of drinks are passed down the bar. "I know, but— well, we'd just met, I don't know what you usually do when you go out drinking. Hell, I don't know what I usually do when I go out drinking that heavily." For the simple reason that he usually doesn't.

Charlotte shakes her head, chuckling softly, her cheeks slightly flushed still. "I don't go out much either myself, not like that. Niki needed a pick me up….oooch." She murmers, coughing a little. "What did you just give me?" She asks, flipping a hand through her hair and running her fingers through the strands for just a moment. "Yeesh, that's a kick." Another giggle, this one sported by dimples.

In response, Randall simply turns the bottle around to show the label, then heads over the other way and cranes an ear. "I think we're out of papaya, will orange do?" Subtext: why the heck are you ordering a paper umbrella drink in a place like this? "Oh, how is she, by the way? Did seem like she was going through some stuff."

Charlotte reaches out for the bottle, picking it up to examine the label. "Cognac." She reads, shaking her head. "That's strong. I'll have another." She giggles, dimpled again. "But just one more, I'm tired from my class." Yep, that's her excuse adn she's sticking to it. "She's alright…everyone goes through rough patches now again again." Niki more than others. "If you don't mind my saying…." She leans over the bar and murmers softly. "You seem really calm about…you know. Everything."

Randall does his best to keep his tone of voice neutral. He doesn't do that good a job, but there's enough crowd murmur that he doesn't need to. "I've seen— not that exact thing," he explains, "but a few things sort of in the ballpark, you know? I'd be a lot less calm if we hadn't made it back okay." They could have been stranded in Kansas. Or Kenya. Or embedded in the side of a rock face…

Charlotte would never get them stuck inside of a rock. But then again, she was rather intoxicated. "Don't worry….I'm really good at it." She waits, flipping a hand through her hair once more as she leans foreward. "I mean, you know, I'd been drinking, but still." She smiles, dimpled, again, her tongue peaking out just between her teeth. But she'll wait for him to get off before she talks about it any more. "So…your name was Randall, right? I never thanked you for jumping that guy in the bar, the one that was bothering me…that was brave."

Randall's memory of that part of the evening is a bit fuzzy, too— less because of the drinks, more because it went by so quickly anyway. "Uh, yeah, nothing to it," he mumbles. "I think you picked a good time to ditch the place— looked like it got uglier after we left."

Charlotte blushes softly. "Well to be perfectly honest, our leaving was sort of an accident. I just remember not wanting to be where we were right then. Still, I'm glad everybody's alright." She looks over her shoulder, grinning back at Randall. SHe's more comfortable now, just being playful and relaxed. After today and yesterday, she needs to relax a little bit. "Do you guys geta lot of fights in here?"

"Not in the couple days I've been working here, no." Randall looks around, gesturing toward some chairs nearby that look to have been recently patched back together and repainted. "Looks like it gets its fair share, though, the occasional fight just comes with the territory."

Charlotte finishes her second drink, sliding the empty glass away from her a bit. "Wow. You don't look like the kind of guy who fights much, but I guess looks can be deciving." She might have given him a little bit of a flirty look: well he is cute, and perhaps she spent too much time fake-flirting with him. Of course it's a shy look, adn one she clearly doesn't intend to be throwing around. It just happens like that. "New job, so you just started here?"

Randall shakes his head, drying off some glasses as the rush of clients slows down for a while. "I'm not— only when I get dragged into it. And yeah, earlier this week. Last place I worked, the boss turned out not to believe in sick days." Alas, the flirty looks are lost on him; conversational he can do, but actual merriment is not in the cards. At least not while he's on that side of the bar.

Charlotte was a waitress for 9 years, merriment can happen when working! Idly she fiddles with the empty glass, not usually the type to like to sit still. "Do you like it here? It seems like it would be really stressfull." She's really tap dancing around the whole 'hey, I can teleport' thing. And she's looking at him with a slightly surprised look. He's really calm about this.

The lack of merriment isn't so much because he's on the job, it's because his personal life is all honked up and he needs a few drinks to let go of that. Oh, and did we mention it's all honked up because of someone else's ability? So there's a reason for the non-excitedness on that front, too.

Not that Charlotte would know any of this, of course— so yeah, to her, his behavior must come off as pretty weird. "Wage slavery usually is, you know? But it comes and goes, and the good places appreciate you for it."

Charlotte shrugs a little. "I always rather enjoyed it. I spent nine years of my life waiting tables at little diners around the country. There could be some good times, but there could be some bad ones. LIke when a bunch of regulars in South Carolina would have pickle races down the windows…" She shakes her head, chuckling as she looks down. "And one of them poured creamer in my hair once. But they were good guys. I mean…for the sort who cheat on their wives and such."

Randall shakes his head. "Pickle races? Seriously? I guess cow tipping involves too much time and effort, huh." At the mention of infidelity, he bites his lip, still not quite emotionally recovered from what he was afraid of earlier.

Charlotte giggles more, dimples flashing at the man again. "Yeah, they'd take pickle slices and fling them agianst the window, so they'd slide down. The first one to fall on the floor one. Which was horrible if you were me and had to clean it all up." She tosses a hand through her hair again, messing it slightly. She's a little tipsy, the two drinks did their job well. "I think most of them were too old for cow tipping. They were just geezer jerks, really, took awhile of throwing things at them or 'accidently' spilling coffee to get them to stop touching my butt."

"Oh, I don't know," Randall says, "I think I would've just picked up the pickles and dropped them into their coffee on the next refill. Least you could do if they were getting grabby…" Speaking of, happy hour is getting busy again, and there's a rather grabby couple perched over by one corner of the bar. It's not call-the-cops time yet, but the situation bears watching.

Charlotte glances over and seeing the couple, she can't help but blush deeply in the cheek region. She glances away, her mouth still open as if she'd been about to talk but forgot her words. "Oh…I….I got them back. Little things, like pouring hot sauce all over their food, mixing tea and coffee. Little things like that." She glances up at him, but glances away, slightly embaressed by her rambunctious behavior. "Can I have another drink please?" The drink-comfort ratio is now starting to slip. She's more uncomfortable than tipsy.

Randall nods to Charlotte, heading over to pour a beer this time - hey, if she wanted to pick what she got, she would've said so - then heading over toward the couple. "Can I get you two anything?" he quips. "Beer, whiskey, Astroglide?" The couple's only response is a one-finger salute.

Charlotte sips her beer, making a little bit of a face as she's not really used to beer. But she'll drink it. She watches Randall go over to the other pair. "Get into another fight!" She hisses to Randall with a giggle, alcohol-induced blushing going on now.

Randall's only response to that is to pick up his dishrag and throw it at Charlotte. In the absence of any abilities that screw around with the laws of aerodynamics, it just flops uselessly onto the counter - but still, point made. Some other people, though, are less accepting of the PDA; Randall mouths a silent 'no, just don't' at them, motioning them toward the other end of the bar where there are still some seats open.

Charlotte laughs, picking up the towel and idly stroking it along the bar. "Come on, you could take the girl at least." And she means it totally in a non-sexual way. She's just messing with him. While he's still dealing with the PDA-ers, she sticks out her tongue at Randall.

Oh, Charlotte, you really shouldn't have said that. The guy finally does disengage, only to lean across the bar and shove Randall back a couple steps. "Don't even fuckin' think about it!" Randall just walks away, but mashes the silent alarm button in the process. Hey, maybe by the time any cops do show up, there'll actually be something for them to do.

When Randall comes back, there is Charlotte. Sitting with her beer. Shoulders hunched, head kind of low. Cheeks even more flushed once again, but there's an 'oops/shit eater' grin on her face as she looks over at Randall apologetically. "So customers like me make it worse, don't we." Hehe…heehe. "Sorry, Randall."

Randall waves a dismissive hand. "Oh, don't worry about it, at worst you're just a catalyst… pair like that, some kind of trouble was bound to come down, sooner or later." Just in case, he glances back to make sure the mop is handy.

Charlotte still looks apologetic. "Somehow I doubt I help. If it makes you feel any better I won't steal you to California tonight." Oh dear. Silly girl, and her three drinks. "And…this may be hard to believe, I've only ever been drunk twice in New York, and this is the second time. Not that I'm really drunk…" She's just buzzed. And chatty.

Randall looks skeptical at first, but then catches the qualifier. "How many times have you been drunk outside of New York?" Nine years waitressing out-of-state is a large window to raid the liquor supplies.

Charlotte gets a little defensive. "A couple. I'm 25, there's nothing wrong with drinking. You aren't the best bartender if you're trying to guilt your patrons into not drinking." She blushes heavily, glancing away. She hardly drinks at all, which is odd. TO be fair, she had an alcholic spurt in her past, but that goes hand in hand with her depression. Still, the girl goes quiet, fiddling with her beer. But at this point she's even afraid to drink it.

"Hey, I wasn't guilting you," says Randall, "just trying to fill in more of the picture." There's still that one big hole in the middle of things, though, until the conversation can be moved somewhere more private. Which won't be for at least another hour, yet.

Charlotte looks up, eyebrows raised. "So now your picture of me is that I'm a drunk? Well isn't that lovely. If I'm going to be a lush I may as well live up to it then." She finishes her beer and moves it aside. But she really, really doesn't want any more. Even though she should do it, just to show him up. "So why don't we fill in the picture of you then, Mr. Bartender?"

Randall nods, continuing to carry out the official duties of the job with the same sort of unconscious execution used by people driving to or from work on autopilot. "That's a pretty broad question, though— what do you want to know about?"

Charlotte shrugs. "Well you said you've a lot of different sort of jobs. What are you passionate about?" She asks, tossing her hair back out of her face while she taps the glass. She'll do it. Just to show him up, she'll do it. She can take it! "Most people follow their passions in their careers." She really is a little drunk and slightly loose-lipped, forgive her.

"Actually, that thing we're not talking about," he admits, lowering his voice again. "Things like that. If I'm not jumping all over it, it's just because I'm not sure where it fits in with everything else… But anyway, the day jobs are just to pay the bills." An impish grin. "There's not a lot of money in revenge."

Charlotte raises her eyebrows. "Revenge?" She asks. Suddenly this got a whole lot more interesting. "Revenge…and people like me? Lets fill that hole, shall we?" She taps her drink again, making sure he knows that she wants another just to prove him wrong.

Randall shakes his head. "Movie quote, don't worry about it." Remember your audience here, man. "Anyway, people like you, what you can do? I'm trying to figure out how that actually works. I think I'm in a pretty small minority, though." If only he knew who Charlotte's working for. And if only she knew which field of study he's approaching this from…

Charlotte has had enough liquor to mention something or other at this point. "Oh, I'm sure it's not that small of a minority. Randall, one last beer, please?" She can hold her own! You'll see! "Much smaller than you seem to think." She points out, wrestling a hand through her hair and fuzzing it up. She even hiccups. Oh dear.

Randall is happy to serve up one last round, as long as Charlotte is happy to pay for one last round. No moral lectures here! "Why, do you know someone else who's working on it?" She might, seeing as she has an ability herself, though most people in that category stick to the more down-to-earth question of what they're actually going to do with it.

She handed the man her credit card, so there must be no dilemma with that. She sips the beer. Chances are she won't finish it but still. It's for show. "Quite a few, actually. I've not been in town long but I've met some very interesting people."

Oh, now Randall is interested. Encountering abilities is intriguing enough on its own, but a whole network of theorists? It'd be his Holy Grail. Well, sort of. "I'd love to meet some of those people, then," he finally manages.

Charlotte can't help but grin. "I doubt that's such a good idea." She sips her beer again. "Can I have a glass of water now too please?" Really, she didn't want more booze. "After all, I still know so little about you."

Randall runs his fingers through his hair, mulling it over. "How about we get together later, then, I can go over some of what I've worked out so far? See if it's something that would fit with their work." Rinsing his hands off quickly, he goes to pour the glass of water, followed by another Jack-and-Coke apiece for the muggy couple. Who are still drawing periodic annoyed looks from the other customers.

Charlotte drinks the water, actually rather quickly. "If you'd like. To be perfectly honest I really don't know…well, I suppose it's not important." She takes another sip of water. "Listen, I'm sorry about all of this." She reaches for her blazer, slipping it on. "I realize how I must come off." She's sort of slipped back into herself now, if not slightly past tipsy.

Randall shakes his head. "Hey, no, don't worry about it. The fact you're even worried about that?" Hello, New York here, the standards of rudeness are orders of magnitude different. "And— yeah, if it doesn't go anywhere, then it doesn't. I'm used to people thinking I need to be working as a clock chime."

Charlotte buttons the blazer. "Perhaps this place might need to invest in an alarm clock." She jokes. "One with a coocoo or something cute like that." She suggests, clearly joking around. Or trying to. She's blushed now, clearly a little worried about her previous behavior.

Digging through his pockets, Randall eventually comes up with an old receipt, scrawling a number down on the back and offering it to Charlotte. "Cute, right," he echoes, sounding skeptical.

It's like talking to Mohinder Suresh all over again. She takes the number. "May I have my credit card please?" She asks with a little sigh, slipping into her pea coat as well.

"Oh, right, sorry!" Randall reaches for it, belatedly running it through the machine and handing it back. "Thanks. And tell Niki I said good luck with— whatever the rough patch is."

Charlotte takes the card, slinging her gym bag over her shoulder. "I will." Of course it will probably only add confusion to the situation, but that's just how some things are. As she turns away, her cheeks flush even deeper as some secret thought hits her.

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