2010-03-22: Noodle Incident



Date: March 22, 2010


Cat and Bunny are still around.

"Noodle Incident"

Noodle Heaven, Lower East Side

It's a night like any other at Noodle Heaven: A grumpy middle-aged man in a brown windbreaker, arguing with the cashier about how they should serve noodles if they're going to have a name like that. A trio of SUNY students in the corner, looking up from their hearts game to insist that it's meant to signify brain food, and that in any case that's how they're approaching it. And half a dozen people lined up, not really caring as long as they get to place an order some time within the next five minutes.

Meanwhile, in the back, there's a separate murmur of background chatter from the kitchen staff, dominated by a man and a woman arguing with each other in two different Eastern European languages. The dishwasher - dark hair shaved close, shoulders hunched - is assumed to be related to at least one of them, even though he's barely said a word all night; he does nothing to disabuse anyone of this notion.

Portia is fond of noodles. She's always been fond of noodles. That was the one thing she was always craving while she was studying in Paris, and there were many times she had cursed the idea of not studying in Italy, Japan, or China, where noodles were prevalent. But one thing Paris did have… was great bakeries. Hence why Portia found herself headed into the noodle shop for the famous cheesesteak on a baguette. That and she's been in need of some sort of greasy/takeout sort of food as opposed to having whatever leftovers were at home. She slips in, waiting at the end of the line.

Like clockwork, these two. First the raised voices, then the shaking of fists accompanied by what sounds like an insult against someone's mother, then a quick motion of the arm as the woman picks up an empty pan as if to throw it at the man's head. Randall ducks, just in case this is the one time she does hurl it through the air after all, and glances out through the double doors…

That face. He'd know it anywhere - and he's had few enough people he can really talk to, lately. Wiping the residual soap off his hands and motioning toward the restroom down the hall, he cuts into the front of the building, but then changes directions and heads for the tables instead, picking up a couple of abandoned plates and glasses along the way.

Making her order shortly after the others in front of her, Portia heads to a table, guitar absent for once as she simply has a small stack of books under an arm. The food is carefully set down, and it isn't until she's fully settled at her table that she notices the familiar face. She smiles.

The smile is returned, if faintly; as random as the pawn shop gig was, Randall had ended up feeling at home there over the months, until he was forcibly shaken out of it. Maybe he'll go back, even, if and when the scare situation finally clears; meanwhile, it's been back to the old habit of finding a new job every few weeks. It helps knowing which ones don't have a problem with paying cash under the table.

"Of all the sandwich joints in all the towns in all the world," he murmurs, lowering himself into the opposite seat, "she walks into mine. Do your parents know what you're up to?" Despite the radical change in hairstyle, it's still unmistakably him - he's staring at an empty patch six inches past her ear, rather than directly at her. Must be seeing things again.

"They never know what I'm up to anymore." Portia smiles, not seeming to have a problem with that. She's gotten good at handling her parents and all her extra-curricular activities keep her 'too busy to be in trouble' anyways. "I'm just always out." She notes his odd look, glancing at her shoulder without moving her head, just to make sure there isn't a spider or something before she looks back at him. "Funny seeing you here. And the hair.. that's new."

"It had to be," he answers. "No one's looking for a guy with this cut."

Leaning forward, Randall reaches a hand out, as if to touch the nothingness. "All that glitters," he muses. "I've still never seen anything quite like it, you know. —You're okay, right? Staying off certain people's radar?" Being able to turn invisible must come in handy when it comes to that sort of thing.

"No one ever bugs me. I'm untouchable." Portia prides herself on, although there might be a hint of displeasure hiding in there somewhere. She watches his hand for a moment, a little concerned, before looking back to Randall's face. She's confused as to what his whole situation is, but for the moment, she keeps quiet, the concern still touching her features.

Randall purses his lips, thinking back. Did they ever discuss this? He doesn't think so… they promised to get back in touch after that run-in at the park, but they never did follow up on it. She must be right about the always-out thing. "They're chasing people like us. You saw that video that went around late last year, right? Well, it's true— they came after me and Jade at the shop, it's a miracle we got out of there in one piece."

Well, that's definitely cause to worry. "So it's not just a rumor then." Portia muses, rubbing her arm a bit, sandwich half-forgotten. "And that's why you cut your hair and are here, now." She puts two and two together. "Are you okay? What about Jade?"

"Yeah, we're all right. Not good, but… all right. Been staying with some friends." Which, on the off chance that someone is still snooping on him after all, should avoid giving away anything really useful. Randall gestures idly with his hands as he continues. "And places like this… they don't ask a lot of questions when they're short a hand or two. Speaking of, I need to get back there before too long— but now you know where to find me." For now, at least.

"Oh, yeah." Portia nods, glancing back around at the building, as if remembering only now where she was. "Okay.. I'll try and keep in touch. I should let you work." She glances back down, picking up her sandwich.

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