2008-01-19: Same Bar, New Job


Aileen_icon.gif George_icon.gif

Summary: Two workaholics catch up on old times and new.

Date It Happened: January 19, 2008

Same Bar, New Job

Fly By Night

There's usually only three places that Aileen can be found nowadays. The first was Mount Sinai Hospital, where she worked. The second was the Prestige Apartments, where she lived. The third was the Fly By Night Cocktail Bar, where she got drunk. At least, that was before she received a generous job offer and abruptly left her job at the hospital. Really, it was the best move she'd made in /months/. The money was good, the work was exciting, and she felt a lot more appreciated in her work than she did at the hospital. Things were looking up, at least.

Seated at the bar, Aileen's working on a dry martini at the moment, idly stirring the olive in the drink. While she seems to be quite content to sit there, alone, she does seem to be a little bored. Not much seems to be going on for her tonight.

Meanwhile, while George is working at the same office as he has been for a while, it can hardly be said to be the same job. There was holding the fort during Nathan's illness, then celebrating his unexpected win, then a bit more fort-holding when he bogged off to DC (not so unusual) without really explaining why (that was the unusual part). No wonder his personal life's grown more scattered lately. Upon wandering into the bar, he deliberately presses toward the middle of the largest crowd of people, instinctively feeding off the multitude of presences.

The people don't seem to bother Aileen much. She's a regular, given the proximity of her apartment to the bar, and more than that she's a dedicated people-watcher. Indeed, she hardly interacts, at least for the moment, sipping her drink as she watches the crowd, looking for something out of the ordinary. Life is boring sometimes, and she's hoping it picks up. Or at least there's some sort of drama to watch that she's /not/ involved in.

George drifts toward the bar proper as gaps in the crowd open up here and there, taking note of those nearby— but no, there's no one he particularly recognizes. Except… "If you're waiting for someone to pass out and need CPR," he calls out, switching direction and raising his voice that one extra notch that says I'm Trying to Get Someone's Attention, "it might take a while. New Year's Day was weeks ago."

Aileen looks up. Well, that's a surprise. Really, that is. The doctor looks up with a smile, glancing over towards George. "Oh, my life isn't /that/ boring. Though I wouldn't mind looking like a hero." She studies him for a very long moment. "It's been a long time. Months, I'd say."

"It has," George admits, reaching the bar and leaning sideways against it. "I've been busy— we both have, I assume. Seriously, how are things going with you?" Not that he'll understand the details of any complicated medical stuff, but broad outlines can still serve as something to talk about.

Aileen smiles as she looks back over at him, finishing off her drink. "Things are going well, actually. Did some traveling for a while, wrote some papers—won an award for one, actually, published it in a medical journal and everything. And I actually just quit my job " She grins. "Doesn't sound like me, does it?"

George arches a brow. "Awards are always good. This one event I helped run down in New Orleans got an award once, but all we got was a bonus that month." He pauses, waving down the bartender as he notices there's actually a bottle of cognac tucked away on the rack. "So you taking on a new one, or are they paying you enough to retire on now?"

Aileen grins at the idea. "I wouldn't retire. Life's interesting, but not /that/ interesting. Wouldn't know what to do with all the free time. I work, that's life." She rubs her neck a bit. "Ah, well, I did end up getting a new job. They actually are the reason I quit. They offered me a job, I couldn't really refuse. It's pretty interesting. They appreciate my talents, sought me out especially, and the pay is pretty good as well. Get to do more research work now, which is a change of pace. A nice one."

After pulling up a stool and settling down on it, George nods, one elbow resting casually against the edge of the bar top. "Well, it always comes down to people in the end, but I can understand wanting a break every now and then. So they're in the market for brain surgeons, huh?" Cue raised platforms and wall-mounted Big Switches.

Aileen chuckles, moving to order another martini. "It does. I still get to help people. The research going on is nice. It could possibly groundbreaking in a few months, and while I could sit there and operate on brains all day long and not get thanked for it, someone else can do it just fine while I use my talents to make it so we know more ways to help or even more that we /can/ help." She does laugh. "Neurology is not /all/ surgery."

George smirks. "And politics is not all ass-kissing," he replies, without missing a beat. "Anyway, I'll take your word for the details." He considers dragging out some of his own war stories from the office— but no, there's the big round glass with the little spendy bit of liquor. "What'd you do for New Year's, then," he asks after taking a careful sip, "were you still on the road?" Or in the air; she's originally from across the pond, after all.

Aileen winces at the suggestion. "Actually, no. I was here in town." She seems slightly embarrassed. "Actually, I sat at home alone with my own bottle of champagne and watched the ball drop on television." She leans, head on hands a little. "Not what I had ever anticipated doing in my life."

George bites his lip, carefully not mentioning where he was. And who was leaning up against him. It was just the one time, after all. "Well, at least things are picking up lately, right? That reminds me— Felix wanted you to call some time, see how you were doing. Although that was a few months ago, so who knows." He takes the napkin out from under his drink, patting his forehead; between the drink itself and the crowd around, he's sweating a little by now.

"Oh. God." Aileen takes a long swig of her drink, looking back over. "Felix can go to hell, for all I care. He's not really someone I care much to talk to anymore. Not after the shit he pulled." That calls for another swig of her drink. "I mean, I'm over what happened, mostly, but I don't think I can ever forgive him. Pretty angry, really."

George turns, leaning back against the counter. "I don't want to know, do I. I'd offer some ugly gossip but I haven't seen run into him myself since then." And that's all he has to say about that. "When's the new gig start?"

Aileen shakes her head a little. "I'd hope he's not in any new gossip. Lets just say, out of the blue I show up at his house, after he 'disappears' for a few days, only to find out there's this woman whom he has a kid with seven years ago, who is staying at his apartment now. Oh, yeah, and then he pretty much marries here right there. Like, same week or something quick like that. Never even said a word to me. If I hadn't been worried and shown up at his apartment, I probably wouldn't have even known he'd had a kid and gotten married." She rubs her temples. "Started about a week or so ago, actually." She glances over. "You don't have a secret wife and child, do you, George?"

George's expression grows increasingly sour as the story runs its course. "Sounds like something out of a movie— if you're one of the leads. Sucks you got stuck with the 'Woman in Bar #2' part." At the final comment, though, his lips quirk upward - and he covers up his left hand with my right. "Hell, is it really that obvious?"

That causes a warm smile. "Well, it's nice to know there's at least one decent guy left in the whole city." Aileen chuckles. "And one with a nice sense of humor. I forgot about that." She sips her drink. "At least you're quite attached to your work. That's sort of a relief. No one's allowed to be perfect."

"Yeah, great, I have problems." George rolls his eyes, finishes off the drink and sets it down, leaning an extra second against the bar before he regains a full measure of his balance. "It's good seeing you too, Aileen. Been too long. Just hope nobody's out snatching wallets this time, huh?"

Aileen swallows the rest of her drink, grinning a little bit back over at him. "They aren't bad problems. Same ones I have." She insists. Though the comment about wallets makes her laugh. "First time we met. I remember. Right here and everything. It really is good to see you again George. Guess not a lot has changed since then, has it?" She pauses. "I suppose some things have changed, though."

George nods slowly. "Some things have." Everything in the room is moving just a little bit slower, for one thing, and he rubs his eyes from trying to keep up with it all at once. "Were you planning on staying out much longer?"

Aileen shakes her head a little bit. "No.. I think I've had all I wanted." She pauses for a moment before moving to get up from her bar stool. "Want to walk? I'll try not to let us get mugged."

"Yeah, sure." George rises slowly to his feet; he doesn't stumble, but it never hurts to be careful at this stage of the evening. A handful of bills is set down to take care of the tab.

Aileen sets her own money down, reaching a hand to steady him. Well, that is as much as she can. The alcohol's gotten to her a bit, but it's not so bad as to unsteady her entirely. "We might have to be careful not to accidently mug ourselves." She teases.

George turns, caught off guard by the unexpected though slight contact. "Why, you got any strange urges I should know about?" he murmurs on the way out.

Midtowh East

Aileen can't help but smile. "No. No real urges like that. I was attempting a joke. Seems the only thing that has changed is my sense of humor getting worse." She glances around, keeping the hand lightly on his arm, just in case.

George shrugs. "I don't know… sometimes that sort of thing can come full circle and surprise you. Where are we headed, anyway?" That was left open, earlier; 'let's walk' covers a lot of potential ground.

"Yeah, life's funny when it does that." Aileen looks around for a moment. "We could wander a little.. or we could walk over to my place, it's not far.." She suggests before looking back to him. "Could catch up a little more."

"No, you've been at your place," replies George, "you said earlier. Wandering is good. What else is around here, besides five thousand shops I can't afford?" Turning the corner, he quickly ducks against the wall to dodge a bicyclist heading the other way down the curb. "Hey, the road is /over there/, all right?"

Aileen gives a little nod. "Wandering is good. And the shops aren't bad." She steps out of the way, glancing after the bicycle. "Not a whole lot.. I think most places probably aren't open now."

George nods, pointing down the street once he recovers his wits from nearly being run down. At. Fifteen miles per hour. By a guy in yellow spandex. "How about Times Square? Plenty open over there, and it's not nearly as crowded since—" Oh, wait, he wasn't going to bring that up. Well, too late for it now.

Aileen smiles a little at that, then offers a nod. "Times Square is alright." She peers at him curiously. "Uh.. I guess I shouldn't ask, huh?" She shakes her head a little bit, moving towards the square now.

"I went stag," he says, quickly glossing over any other details that may have played out afterward. Walking. Walking is good.

Times Square

Aileen seems.. well, it's hard to read her reaction to that. "Don't worry. Seems we both had.. well, less than ideal New Years experiences, hm?" She chuckles. "Sorry, I'm sure it wasn't so bad. You got to be in Times Square, though, that must have been nice."

George puts a hand up to his forehead, blocking out part of the neon glow - another side effect of Times Square staying open all night, the ads run all night too. "It was," he admits, "the crowd really started feeding off itself after a little while— during the ball drop, obviously, but before that too."

Aileen shakes her head a little bit, squinting at the ads for a moment before looking back over. "I guess it must have gotten pretty crazy. In some ways I wish I was out here instead. Would have beat drinking alone at home."

"Well, there's always next year, right? Assuming this new gig hasn't got you flying off to South Africa or something weird." The familiar red-and-yellow of the McDonald's logo is a bad match for George's skin tone. "There must've been a time when you weren't so eaten up by your work— what did you use to do back then?"

Aileen gives a nod. "Always next year." She laughs. "Really don't think I'll end up there. Looks like a lot of my work would be at the lab." She peers at him under the light, then walks further for a moment. "Oh, I used to go to college. And med school. Guess I kind of used to have more friends back then. Really easy to have a connection with people when you're in a dorm.. then when you come out here it's a little harder." She pauses for a moment. "You feeling okay..?"

George blinks. "Yeah, I'm fine, why?" The drink has started to burn off by now, and whatever he looks like, he doesn't sound in any kind of rough shape. "Anyway, with me, it was the other way round— the further away from home I got, the more people I connected with. But I think that was more to do with size than location. New York was more of a jump to have to deal with— you can't take much of anything for granted."

Aileen shakes her head a little. "Sorry. Doctor sense was tingling, I guess. Maybe I'm just paranoid these days." She nods a little. "There's a lot of stuff in New York. I think I'm just rusty at meeting people. Lost connection with a lot of people I went to college with… really, I just don't get out as much as I should. I think life needs to shake me up a bit. I'm too complacent."

"Maybe so," he replies, "but at least you're recognizing it. That's alw—"

But fate, it seems, is more interested in the sentence that came before that one, for it's at that moment that a passing driver loses control of the wheel and jumps up onto the curb. "Look out!" George calls out, ducking to one side and then reaching out to grab at Aileen's wrist, only to pull up just short. C'mon, doc, time to be quick on your feet!

The doctor is kind of lucky. Hearing the warning, Aileen stumbles forward, scrambling out of the way and moving to get as far onto the sidewalk as she can. Safely out of the way, she blinks for a long moment. "I need to stop saying things like that." She leans against the wall, letting out a long breath.

George watches the car until it lumbers back onto the road proper, then turns and nods. "Probably a good idea. Want to see what's in there?" he adds, pointing to the nearest open store front. It's not /completely unheard of/ for drunk drivers to actually crash into a building, but it's definitely less common.

Aileen gives a nod, slowly. "Yeah. I think that'll be good." She's a little shaken, but somehow it just makes her feel like their first meeting. They've always got something exciting happening.. and somehow, in spite of the terror.. it ends up being interesting. And she does feel more alive because of it. She follows him to the storefront, glancing around the street carefully to make sure nothing careens towards them at this point.

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