2007-07-02: Reading Material


McAlister_icon.gif Megan_icon.gif Benjamin_icon.gif

Summary: Seems like today's the day to be out in the park with a book!

Date It Happened: July 2nd, 2007

Reading Material

Central Park

It's late afternoon and while Central Park is quite a detour from his route home from work, Benjamin decided to take it anyway. Even if he just wants to collapse on his sofa, he's here. The park is relaxing, when there aren't crazy people approaching or attacking you. Or psychopaths with swords and guns. Thankfully, there are none, yet. The day still has several hours left, so there's always time for such mania. So far, he hasn't walked too far into the park. He's just here for a quick walk before he does the collapse at home thing.

And? There's a bench. Among all the footpaths and horsepaths and even the occasional road? There's one bench, right at the edge of Strawberry Fields where the woods sneak up close, that is a popular spot for at least one reader.

On that bench is settled an Ali, with stained jeans, wrinkled shirt. There's dirt on her face, her hands.. and a book in her lap. A most distinctive book, in fact.

"Activating Evolution" isn't exactly light reading.

Two bags are piled on the bench next to her - one backpack and a mesh thing that looks vaguely like a purse.

Normally, Benjamin isn't one to backtrack and check out someone else's reading materials. It's rude, it's nosy, but that's one title that gets him to doubletake. The man's steps slow, stop, he takes a few steps backwards to look again. Yup. That's what he thought that was. No. It's not light reading, and it's a tome that he has yet to fully complete. "… Interesting.. reading.. isn't that?" He tries to sound casual with his inquiry, but it doesn't really work. He's not good with starting small talk with strangers!

Blink. Blinkblink. Peeer.

Ali looks up, catching a paragraph with a dirty finger to hold her place, flashing a smile (if it's a bit confused) and a quick glance around the area (New York, after all) - "er. Yeah?" She shifts on the bench, back popping once with a wince - "I thought so, anyway. Better than I thought it'd be, considering where I picked it up." Self-consciously, she reaches up with her free hand to idly 'do something' with her hair (it does nothing at all).

"I never finished it," Benjamin says with an embarrassed shrug. "I keep trying, but a lot of it is over my head. I'm not very scientifically minded." Although it's kind of required reading for him now. "Sorry, didn't mean to intrude or anything.. it's just a weird title to see people reading out in the park like this."

"S'okay." Ali's slight smile widens. "I don't think anybody really reads stuff like this. They sort of look over it and use quotes at parties, or something." A pause, as she looks this fellow over. "You really need to dump the tie." A nod at the offending garment. "I mean, it's /nice/, but… it's a /tie/."

Benjamin laughs a little and rubs a hand against the back of his neck. "Yeaaaah.. something to quote to make you look smart. It's better than quoting the Times.. Tie? Oh!" He gives a brief and blank expression to McAlister before he moves his hand to fuss with the knot of his tie. "You think so?," he asks in a self-conscious manner. "I guess.. it's not all that important in the dress code in my job.." Come to think of it, he's not sure if he's held to a dress code now!

"All I know is?" Says the rather scruffy DJ, laughing then, "You shouldn't worry about the tie. I swear, have you /seen/ Wall street? It's like a power tie convention - like if they lose one, they lose their virility or something. So.." Curious - "How far have you gotten? In the book, I mean."

"….. You mean the movie? Gosh.. when did that come out, I think I saw it.." It's been /ages/. Benjamin stops fussing with his tie after the knot's been loosened. "I guess it's just a force of habit these days. I was an accountant for about twenty years." He grins a little at the joke, and the mental image he gets. "Oh! Uhm, I got about halfway through it. I need to finish it. Fascinating material though."

"Yeah. It is. And it takes serious liking for numbers to do that for twenty years - Christ. That's kinda impressive." Ali scoots over, shifting bags to make room - the self-consciousness remains, the book set carefully aside on an arm of that bench, for now. "Would you believe I found it in one of those spiritualist bookstores in the Village? I can't parse it - I mean, it's good stuff, but it's stuck in with all the crackpots that think Atlantis pyramids taught the Mayans how to fly on broomsticks. Wasn't what I went in for - but, I'm glad it turned out."

Benjamin laughs a little reservedly at that. "Well.. I just never thought of doing anything else. It was a good job, good pay, good benefits, great company." He's that kind of steady worker. When the bookstore is mentioned, he brightens some, "Oh, Enlightenment Books you mean? It's a nice shop, not really my usual kind of bookstore, but it's nice, and the owner is nice." Nice. Yeah. Nice. Good description! "Mmmm.. yeah. It's in there with those. Not sure how much truth is into any of that.." Non-specific. Yeah. Good way to go!

"Mayans and Atlantis?" Ali grins - "Well, there were Mayans. I don't really believe in Atlantis. The broomsticks and crystals? At this point, no idea. I'm - uh. Ali, by the way." Her knees are pulled up to her chest, at this point, and fully /half the bench/ is empty. Oh my. "And yeah - I think? I think she was the owner, anyway. She put up with me tracking mud in - that counts for something."

"Yeah, I meant Atlantis. I think I remember the Mayans from college history, but that was back in the Dark Ages." Benjamin says with a reserved grin. "Oh, where are my manners.. Hi Ali, I'm Benjamin.. and yeah, Cass is very nice, and pretty easy about that sort of thing. She's a good woman." And that drunk lout she's dating? So not deserving of her. Yet anyway. But it's not his business!

"What, the Dark Ages of the Early Eighties? Buried under the Bangles, leg warmers, and really big hair?" Ali teases, then - happy enough. "As long as you don't tell me you wore a pink shirt and white sport coats? We'll get along fine. I won't hold any of it against you." Her head tilts, and - yeah, again, she rubs at her cheek, clearing her throat once. "So how come you braved that book, out of all of 'em? The stuff on crystals is just as good at parties. Trust me."

Benjamin laughs more freely now. That's just funny. "Something like that. Big hair, frat parties.." If you can believe that this stiff in a suit ever cut loose. "Alright, I won't tell you about my wardrobe from those years." He shrugs off his suit jacket, amazing that he's tolerated it this long outside. The jacket is draped over his arm as he looks a little taken aback by the question. "It just looked interesting. I mean, genetics alone it's kind of fascinating.. like determining if two brown eyed parents have a blue eyed child, that kind of thing."

"Yeah, I guess." Ali allows that - "Frat parties? Which one?" Intrigued. "I dated a Pike, for a while. Pretty neat guy, for a pop-collar jock type." Still teasing, merrily - "Which frat, I mean. There's too many parties to remember." If you can believe this grubby park chick ever managed to date a frat boy. Go figure.

Benjamin looks a little embarrassed now. Okay a lot embarrassed! "It was a long time ago.. I uh, don't really want to get into it. It's a miracle I even remember the parties." Considering the alcohol intake, then the photographic AND biological evidence to said party existence. "I don't mean to pry.. but this is kinda bugging me. Your voice sounds a little familiar."

"Yeah?" Ali actually colors, slightly - and doesn't /quite/ look up at the fellow. "Maybe. I used to do the midnight shift on WNYU - "Midnight McAlister"." THere's no bitterness there, but there is resignation. And.. yes. The self-consciousness gets /worse/, if that's possible - apparently the choice is to face it head on, at least. "You probably flipped past it or something - I get that a lot."

"That was you!? Oh wow. I know your voice always sounds different on the radio or phone or something.. wow. You're a regular celebrity!" Benjamin says, his expression brightening. "No, no, I've had nights where I can't sleep so I turn on the radio, cause television doesn't have good programming that time of the night. I've heard your show!"

She brightens to mirror his own grin - "Yeah? I didn't figure I actually had any listeners, 'cept the late-night security staff and the guys at the donut place on forty-second. And.. I dunno that I'd go that far. Thanks, though - so.. you liked the show? Seriously?"

"Well yeah, it was entertaining. So you had listeners!" Benjamin says as he remains standing. "How come you don't think people liked the show?"

"Because it's.. you know. The shift when everybody's /asleep/." Ali winks. "And I was up against Stern for half of it. That's /seriously/ unfair competition. He's got, you know, /talent/." All of that worry seems to be forgotten, as she shifts, leaning forward - scruffy or not, there's obvious joy here. "Nothing like it, though. I can't believe … well. Okay, look, the only perk I ever got from the gig was free donuts. It's just neat to hear somebody be /excited/ about it, you know?"

"Not /everyone/," Benjamin points out. NYC never sleeps! "I never could get into Stern's show, it's not my kind of material. But I see what you mean about the competition." He grins about the donuts, "There you go. You had a side benefit. Look on the bright side. Are you still doing radio?"

And that? She looks down at herself, flushing again - visibly mildly embarrassed. "I hope?" A shrug. "I'll know in a couple days, right? Keep your fingers crossed - WYRK was supposed to pick up the show. They still might, if I luck out a little."

"Oh man… I hope you get back on the air!" Benjamin holds up a hand, crossing fingers for McAllister. "They'll have to put you back on." Why, he's not sure, but it's the thing to say!

"Yeah, well, they don't. But I can hope they're willing. Somebody's calling in a favor - " Ali smiles, thankful - "that means a lot, though. So .." Deflection! Riposte! "You said 'used' to be an accountant?"

"Good. There's no shame in calling in favors and having strings pulled." So long as they are from legitimate sources! Benjamin has no problem with this. "That's good to hear.. and yeah.. well I'm still an accountant.. Now I'm just consulting. It's different, but I was made a good offer." Amazing how easily the story comes to him, but there's a bitter taste left from the words.

McAlister offers, brightly, "Yeah? Pop always said that consulting was where the money was - not that he ever did. I think he had a thing against suits, to be really honest. Nothing wrong with getting ahead, though right? Hell of an offer, if you cut out of a career for it."

Benjamin smiles a little and shrugs his shoulders. "You could say that about it. Yeah." Not that he did any of it for himself. "It's more money than I expected, which was a bonus. So I'm throwing it into retirement funds, college for my daughter, and an account for my mother. Not that she knows about it yet. She'll hit me with her purse when she finds out."

"Careful. Check for bricks." The DJ points out - "That's not a bad thing. Sounds like you're set - and ain't nothin' wrong with finding decent work in this town. Not that I bet somebody like you's hurting for work, really." Curiously, she asks - "Daughter - how long you got 'till she's in school?"

"So you've met my mother then?" Benjamin quips with a laugh. Because yes, Mama Winters may have bricks in there. Just ask Lachlan. "I had planned on retiring with my firm, but this offer came up.. Oh she's already in school. I was already helping her a little, but now I can make sure she doesn't have to worry about tuition and books."

"She's lucky." Ali slowly stretches out. "Makes you a pretty good pop, if what I think matters." A wink - "That's pretty cool all around." Teasing, she adds, as she moves to stand - "If you get tired of some of that good luck? It'd be nice if you sent some my way."

Benjamin shuffles his weight from one foot to the other. He has a lot to make up for. "I just hope she realizes that…" He fights down the blanching that comes with the good luck statement. "I wouldn't call it good luck.. but.. I'll wish you luck all the same."

"Hey. Anything that keeps tuition paid and the bank account decent? It's good luck. It can't suck either, or you wouldn't have taken the job." Trust this woman to put a positive spin on things, even as she bends down to gather her pack, her purse. "What's anybody got, really, but family and what they /do/, right? As long as you're happy with both, you're pretty damn set."

Benjamin laughs, "Well… You have a point there.." Even if his feet were held to the fire on this. "You're right. You're very right." So far, this have been good. He hasn't any complaints yet about his new job. Of course he hasn't been asked to do anything untoward yet.. "Thanks for the positive perspective. Normally I try to stay positive about situations, but it was a big change." See that Ali is picking up things, and presuming she's leaving, he takes a step back. "It was a real pleasure meeting you Ali. I hope to hear you back on the radio soon."

"Here's hoping, right?" Ali snags the book - "Pleasure meeting you, too- " A bright, sunny smile - "I'm usually around the park, these days. But, hey - listen in on WYRK. You never know, right?"

Benjamin grins in return, "I'll do that.. and if I see you again I'll be sure to say hi." Another smile is made before he turns and makes his way on out of the park.

After all the excitement that she's had over the last couple of days, Megan is looking forward to a quiet day in the park. A book tucked under her arm, she walks down the sidewalk of one of the park's many entrances in hopes of finding a bench open in the shade.

Benjamin looks back over his shoulder in the direction McAlister disappeared in. He looks forward in time to skid to a stop, "M..Megan! H..Hi! Uh.. Look, I'm really sorry about the other day. I .. this is hard to explain and all, but when you fell asleep.. I may have.. okay I did have something to do with it and I didn't mean to. I wasn't aiming for you and I'm really sorry. I'm also sorry about the night in the bar." Stammering, flustered and red faced, he rattles off his apology to the poor woman.

Megan barely has time to register who it is that is talking to her before the apology rattles off at her. "O-oh!" Without any other real option, she stops and listens to Benjamin despite the fact that it's all confusing her. He thinks /he's/ the reason that she fell over in the subway? "Wh-when wha'?" There's no even real time for a greeting.

Benjamin doesn't mean to confuse! He's just.. flustered and nervous. Ducking his head a little, he mumbles an apology again. "So.. sorry.. I know your brother's a touchy guy and all and he'll probably want to beat my face in for even making eye contact with you after the other night."

"Lach's jus'…over-protective." An understatement of the year when talking about Lachlan. Megan seems just as nervous about this meeting as Benjamin and she hugs the book she came here to read to her chest. "He'll jus' deal with it. Tha' wasna yer fault."

"I understand that.. y'sure? I kinda feel like it was my fault." Benjamin admits, lowering his voice. He's trying to not /not/ say it's his fault out loud and in public. "And.. about the bar.. I'm sorry.. that was not a very good impression to make on you. I normally don't make a habit of drinking. In fact, that's the first time since college that I've gotten that drunk."

The two are kind of talking about two different subjects unawares. Megan is talking about Lachlan's assault and Benjamin is talking about his powers. "Couldna been yer fault. Lach seems ta think 'll die or somethin' if a boy even looks at me wrong. And tha' wasna the first time 've seen someone get tha' drunk." The memory of it brings a bit of a blush back to her cheeks. "Jus'…doesna matter, alright?"

"Alright. Doesn't matter. Phew.. I just.. felt bad for that.. and the subway." Benjamin is just in his own world in this conversation, ain't he? How cute. Or not so much. "So.. you're out here reading too? Not that I am, but seems like the thing to do today."

The subway, right. He was apologizing for something that happened on the subway. "Nah. s'alright. None of it was yer fault." None of it. Maybe making them feel sleepy, but not why Megan actually passed out. "Yeah. Was just lookin' for a quiet spot inna shade."

"Okay.. yeah.." Benjamin steps aside, giving Megan a wide berth if she wants to run from him. "Well.. There's plenty of that this time of day. Want me to walk to a spot?" What? Where did that come from!

There's no running, not yet. There's nothing for Megan to run away from. She's not scared of Benjamin, just slightly embarrassed at having fainted in front of him and for seeing him shirtless in the bar. "Walk to a spot?" The change in subjects obviously confused the poor girl. "Ye know one?"

"Sure.. this way.." Benjamin suggests as he's surprised this…she's talking to him! Heck. He's embarrassed he put her to sleep (so he thinks) and whipped off his shirt in front of her. "The good spots are towards the east part of the park."

"Right." Megan has yet to learn the little tricks with Central Park. Only that it's big and easy to get lost in. Why shouldn't she talk to Benjamin? She feels bad that Lachlan tried to beat him up on account of her. "Sorry 'bout wha' happened. Lach and all. Normally he's a good guy. He jus' gets a little crazy."

"I guess I can't blame him. I never had a sister, so.. and I guess he was within his right." Benjamin says as he leads Megan to some shady benches not too far into the park. She might have to run when the sun really goes down. Right? "I guess I didn't help.. and I didn't mean to imply anything about Cass."

Planning to be gone before the sun's down, the bench is the perfect shady place for her. Megan picks one and lowers herself onto one easily. "Nah, ye can blame him plenty. S'a righteous bastard who takes everything the wrong way." It's strange, his moral code. The very fact that he /has/ one, even. "S'just like a big dog who doesna know when to stop protecting."

Benjamin gives a nervous laugh at Megan's description. Wow. "… Okay.. that makes sense then.. I'll just avoid him if I see him again. Best way to just not have another incident with him, right? Cause I just kept making things worse.. anyway.. I'm talking too much and you wanted to read." He smiles at Megan and starts to walk off, only to stop and pull out a piece of paper and pen.. In a fit of bravery.. in case Lach never fell through.. he writes down his number and hands it out to Megan.. not unlike a nervous schoolboy asking a girl out for the fist time. "Here.. my number.. if you still wanted to get that cup of coffee.."

While normally shy and easy to make blush, she /did/ grow up with Lachlan. Some of that had to rub off somehow. "Nah, ye jus' gotta stand up ta him and he'll get it." Just like dogs, don't show your fear and they'll learn to respect something. Megan takes Benjamin's number and smiles. "Sure. That'd be nice." Reaching out for the pen and paper, she goes to write her own number down. "'S mine."

"Oh.. I'll.. try that sometime then." When Lach hasn't scared the pee out of Benjamin. He blinks in surprise at Megan as she takes the number. He can't be sure if she's being nice and playing along or what! When her number is offered, he reaches to take it. Where's the harm in getting together for a drink? She's a normal person, like her brother. There's no harm in fraternizing with normal people! "Thanks.. I.. I'll let you get to your reading. I'll call you later then."

Either way, Megan now has Benjamin's number. And may try to call him sometime. Or, he can try calling her. Either way, there is calling possible between the two of them. "Thanks. For the seat," she smiles at him, glad to be back to something like normal. "And 'd like that."

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