Date: June 11, 2010
Two very different days turn out to share some things in common by the end.
"Red vs. Blue"
Noodle Heaven, Lower East Side
Carrie sags at the table, her arms wrapped around herself, trying to cover every inch of exposed flesh that seemed like such a good idea when she got dressed this morning. But then, lots of things seemed like a good idea. Moving to NYC? Seemed like a good idea. Going to that club? Sure, seemed like a good idea. Let them take some pictures. Sign a model release. Sure. They offered cash after all. Every step along the way seemed like a good idea, and they were as good as their word about the cash but. But. And now, of course, she's here, waiting to meet up with one of only three people in the city she calls friends. Here. Where she's looking at the waitress with astonishment. "Whaddia mean you don't serve noodles?"
Meanwhile, the aforementioned friend - growing increasingly tired of the deliveryman gig, for much the same reasons he swore off driving a cab a few years earlier - is fresh off of dipping his toe into the white-collar end of the pool, in the form of data entry and filing for a company attempting to jump on the paperless-office bandwagon. Ironically, this involved him switching to a blue-collared shirt instead of his usual collection of T-shirts - along with a navy blue vest, and a necktie that should by all rights have died back when disco did. Against all odds, it works; Randall looks a good bit different than usual, but still recognizably himself, as he walks up toward the cashier. "Yeah, they get that one all the time," he offers, hands stuffed comfortably into his pockets. "The theory this month is that the owner's too cheap to pay to have the sign replaced."
Carrie looks over at Randall and sighs. "Okay. Umm…" She looks over the menu. "I'll order in a minute when my friend has had a chance to sit down." She says to the waitress. She relaxes a little at the familiar face. "Hi.
Randall nods to Carrie, heading over to an open booth - it's late enough in the shift that there are only a couple available - then turning to get a better look at her as he settles down on one side. "You're awfully… red today," he muses. "I hope there isn't a scarlet letter hanging around somewhere in there?"
Carrie blushes crimson. "I went to this club, right? It sounded like a classy kind of place, and I figured, wear a low cut dress, do a little cocktail waitressing, how bad can it be? They. um. They turned out to be a leather S&M club, and they talked me into… well. Paid me to do a quick audition and some photos.
Randall begins to wince at the mention of 'leather', only to pause and just rub his temples as she goes on— he was thinking it might have just turned out to be a biker bar. Maybe a Village People type— well, anyway. "Oh dear. I assume it wasn't anything too bad?" Otherwise she would have turned them down, presumably. Or else been a lot slower to talk about it.
Carrie says, "When they started getting out the whips and the clamps and stuff I told them no way, so we settled on them keeping the pictures they had and paying me about a quarter the usual. I'm probably going to be on their website." Carrie is blushing clear down to her boots. "So my boobs may be famous.""
In spite of himself, Randall grins a little as he shakes his head. "No kidding— that sort of thing can go worldwide. If they think to advertise it right." Okay, that's probably not the best thing to be suggesting right about now… "Still, there are worse ways to keep the bills paid, right? God help you if you ever had to be a fry cook, at least I've managed to dodge that one."
Carrie fights back a giggle and fails. "Fry cooking's that bad? I mean, they were really nice about it, and the place was like… beautiful. But they were like "if you don't see the beauty in this, it won't photograph well. Go put your clothes on." Carrie shrugs a little. "I just… wasn't really planning to make a living selling my body, you know? I mean, who'd pay?" Carrie looks at Randall and finally notices his change of attire. "So how was your day?"
The place? Who goes to a club like that and watches the scenery? There are some types of people that Randall will just never understand. Speaking of different types of people, though… "It was— all right, I guess. Got a job typing stuff up for a change, kind of mind-numbing by the end but I've dealt with worse. And I thought I smelled some office politics, but I'll probably be gone before I really get a feel for it."
Carrie nods a little. "That must really suck for someone who's. You know. Sensitive." What the causal listener would make of that, who knows? "So I hope I didn't screw things up between you and Griffin. I seem to be good at that right now."
A shrug. "Annoying, but it wasn't too hard to tune out. One thing about short-term work, everyone knows you don't really have a stake in anything." It's the next topic on the hit list that sets Randall back, sighing as he leans back. "Not really, but… well, I'm lucky I didn't mess it up myself. Not for lack of trying. It took a couple of months for us to feel each other out in the first place… and we're good enough friends now, I kind of forgot about it. Really should brought it up as soon as I met them."
Carrie nods. "I thought I was being weird being so secretive about it." Carrie leans back and rubs her eyes. "I dunno. Do you ever think about using what you do to earn a living? I mean… hire out as a psychic… investigator or something?"
Randall shakes his head. "You? No, you've got a better reason than just about any of us to be worried." He leans forward again, his concern instinctively peaked, even as he gestures vaguely with his hands. "And that's not a bad idea, but— I don't know how I would make it actually work. I can't locate kidnapped people or anything, and just reading people… well, so what? A regular PI would be smart enough to do that just by reading body language and stuff, and people would be all skeptical— I'd have to be better at it to get past that."
Carrie nods. "Yeah. Although there might be such a thing as being too good. I mean… psychics don't have a great reputation anyway, but they get paid." Carrie sighs a little and lets her hand drop to the table. Now, sometimes that happens when someone would like their hand held, and it's a subtle thing giving everyone plausible deniability. Carrie's not that subtle. Her hand somehow manages to hit the table halfway across the table from her body, narrowly missing the glasses of water. And the puppydog eyes? They could use work too.
The gesture catches Randall off guard— not because he wasn't thinking along the same lines, but because he was, only he was keeping it to himself because he's so used to people who keep their feelings to themselves. Or something. He's just a couple of steps behind with everyone these days, huh? Well, he takes the hint quickly enough… and, with a faint smile, slides his own hand forward across the table until it meets hers.
Carrie smiles a little, looking down. "You'd tell me if Griffin was your boyfriend or something, right?" She squeezes the hand that touches hers, trying to resolve, if only Randall could sense it, with her experiences at the club. "I mean… I keep running into that, where the cute guys… like other cute guys. And don't get me wrong, one of those guys is my bestest shopping buddy now.
"Wait, what?" says Randall, even as his hand instinctively squeezes back of its own accord. "No, I'm not— I mean, it's not like that." Not a boy, for one thing, though he's been careful to leave that detail unspecified. Replace 'boy' with 'girl', now… well, the idea had crossed his mind a time or two, but that's all, really. And then he registers what else Carrie implied, and it's his turn to go all red-faced for a second. Well, now.
Carrie blushes at Randall's reaction and looks down. "I would like to meet Griffin sometime, if he's okay with that. I'd like to meet as many of us as I can. And um. Assuming I get work and have a schedule and it works out… I'd like to spend more time with you. Okay?
"I think he will be… eventually. He gets that I trust you, he just needs to get to know you well enough that he trusts you." Randall continues to play along with the misunderstanding - hopefully it'll help the real 'Griffin' to fly under Carrie's radar all the more effectively. "And… yeah, I'd like that." The hands do a whole lot of not moving anywhere in particular. He'll remember such things as menus and orders eventually, but one of the clerks might have to come over and prod them a bit first.