2007-05-14: Savior Petrelli Gets Freebies


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Summary: Elena and Nathan meet again when she is covering for a friend at the old Starbucks in where she used to work. On behalf of New York, she thanks the former congressman for saving the city by doing the only thing she can do to show appreciation - give him free coffee and cake.

Date It Happened: May 14, 2007

Savior Petrelli Gets Freebies

Starbucks, Lower Manhattan, New York

Samantha was, once again, skipping work. And while Elena's TECHNICALLY quit Starbucks to work for EvoSoft's media relations department, she decides today, she'll don the old apron and work her shift. Just for today. The manager looks rather happy to see her, and has said in no uncertain terms that she could come back any time, considering she spent the last three or four years working in this very branch. Surprisingly, today is rather quiet. The afternoon rush seems to have passed, at the very least.

Dressed in a black tanktop and a pair of hip-hugging jeans, she has the apron off, since it looks like she's got at the very least an hour or two's worth of respite. The shop is quiet, and as much as she hated to admit it, she missed the smell of freshly brewed coffee and baked goods. It was warmer, more comfortable than the professional, corporate offices of the Cain building downtown. Sneakers squeak a bit on the hardwood floors. Having finished wiping down the counter, she's got her elbows on the serving side of the counter, her cats eye glasses perched on her nose. She's reading what looks to be a large tome. The cover reads 'General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry: Structures of Life'

Definitely not freshman year material.

Late afternoon, and Nathan still isn't feeling entirely human. Ideally, he would have liked to sleep until high noon, but there's no rest for the wicked, is there? At least now, as he pushes open the door, he doesn't look like hell. In his usual ensemble of a suit and tie - a tie that is actually not eye-stabbingly bright, just a mute teal - he looks like one of the many businessmen that make quick stops at cafes to pick up their sustenance for the day in the form of pipingly hot coffee. Admittedly, this will have been his fouth.

Making his way to the counter, Nathan is focusing on opening his wallet - real leather and all - and leafing through the change he has. "Can I get a medium—" Oh, fuckit, this is Starbucks, isn't it? With a sigh, he looks up at the menu boards above the counter to double-check their extra special terminology - though not before he recognises Elena behind the counter, raising an eyebrow. "Didn't see you there."

"Hm?" Elena looks up, prying her eyes away from her book. Seeing who just spoke, she blinks. "….Mr. Petrelli," she says, saying his name like a greeting, closing the text book. "Sorry, I….nobody's come in for a while, so…." She pulls away from the counter, before she could babble on about how she's not even technically -hired- here anymore, and is just covering for a friend. She moves to the register, and flashes him a tentative smile. "What are you having? And it's okay to say medium, I can translate between English and Frappuchinotalianese or whatever the hell they're passing it off these days."

This is the part where Nathan would reflect on how small New York City is, and how he keeps running into everyone and their mothers. But you know what? It's started to become normal. So he skips /right/ over that part, glancing at the text book that Elena had been reading, catching enough of the title, and tilting his head towards it. "It's a good sign if that's the typical reading material of our baristas," he adds, before returning his attention to the menu board. Sort of a backhanded compliment there, although doubtful by the sound of it that he actually intended it to be backhanded.

Besides, this is reasonably awkward - first and last time he met Elena was during a dire 'save the world or at least one person' situation, wherein they both played superhero, as they would well remember. And here they are, randomly meeting in a chain coffee store with generic music playing in the background, and he's trying to decide if he wants something fancier than a latte. Probably not. He'd be content with a direct IV of java. "Then we'll go with a medium latte," he says.

"Oh well, you're out of luck if you think I'm going to be a barrista forever, Mr. Petrelli," Elena says with a laugh, taking the backhanded compliment with good grace. "I'm just filling in for a friend of mine. I worked here through high school, and then I quit sometime in March to work in EvoSoft's media relations department." She steams the milk, and bustles around the back to make him his latte. "I'm pre-med," she explains further, seeing his eyes drift to the book. "At NYU. I just finished my first year." Which means she's on summer vacation, which means that her reading the huge text is a huge indication that she? Is a giant freaking nerd.

If there was any awkwardness, Elena…..ignores it, or doesn't acknowledge it in any way. The easygoing girl pours in the espresso shot, and pours the milk in carefully in the medium cup. Like a well oiled machine, she's worked here for so long she goes through the motions without even thinking about it, despite the fact that she quit the job two months ago or so. "Working late today?" she asks. "Or are you headed home?" She sets the cup in front of her, as well as a slice of warm banana loaf that she carefully packs in a paper bag. She sets both items in front of him, and smiles. "On the house."

Nodding along with the news that she's only temping, that she's a NYU pre-med student and such forth, Nathan seems distantly approving, although really, it doesn't change his perception of her about whether or not she works for Starbucks all her life or goes on to win Nobel prizes, because either way, she's at least half the reason he could rescue his wife. There may be a lack of awkwardness due to Elena's laid back attitude, but as for Nathan, he's unsure exactly if he's meant to /thank/ her or just let it be or… what? "A little of both," Nathan answers, distractedly, as he decides on exactly how to— wait those are two things she's putting down. He has a bank note halfway out his wallet when she tells him it's a freebie, and, rather than forcing cash on her, he instead nods once with a hint of a bemused smile. "Thanks," he says, which was the wrong thanks he had intended, but nevermind. "What for?"

"….I figured one of us grateful people of New York City should at least show you some sign of gratitude," Elena says truthfully, after a pause. She isn't even sure if Nathan wants to be reminded of the event, but damn it, he's getting it anyway. She presses foward. "I heard from your brother that if it wasn't for you, all of us wouldn't be here right now. Even if the rest of the city doesn't know it. I do, though, I mean, I know it's just coffee and cake, but I figured no one's….really thanked you for what you did last year. So, thank you, Mr. Petrelli. Seriously." She quirks a small smile. "If anyone else knew I'm sure they'd be grateful too." So she doesn't know the whole story, about how Nathan was ready to just let their part of the world blow up. But the point was he DIDN'T. He DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT. That, and HUGGING A NUKE after telling him he loved him took some huge brass ones.

And Peter /would/ tell it that way, wouldn't he? Leaving out the details of betrayal, about what Nathan had been prepared to do otherwise. That he didn't end up doing, which is why he now has a free latte and banana loaf. /Totally worth it/.

Well actually it is a bit. Even if Nathan has an entirely different interpretation of what went down in his head, there's something assuring about the fact that it doesn't have to be remembered that way. The bank note - $10 - he was originally going to use is taken out anyway, and dropped into the tips jar on the counter. If they don't have one and Nathan's player is being a foreign weirdo again, then— whatever. Today, they have a goddamn tips jar. "That would be for Heidi," he says, pocketing his wallet, picking up the paper bag and cup. "And you—" Don't have to thank me? Ah, screw it. She's allowed, and so is he. "Well it's appreciated." He steps back from the counter, improvising a wave of departure by lifting his coffee a bit.

"I'm glad you were able to get her back. Heidi's awesome," Elena says to Nathan with a small smile. "She was still a little achy when I last saw her, which wasn't too long ago, around a couple of days ago. But she seems to be bouncing back. And thank you very much for the tip." And yes, there IS a tip jar for Starbucks today. It feels sort of….well. She wouldn't take money for something like that, but the gesture is appreciated all the same. But when the former congressman-future senator tips his cup in an impromptu wave, she lifts her own to wave back with a hint of a smile. She won't keep him for long, even as she watches him leave whenever he steps out the door. Once he's gone, she starts cleaning up, wiping down the counters yet again. She'll go back to her book in a minute, but there's a small smile on her face as she does.

As angsty as she was in the last few days, the moods don't really last for too long.

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