2009-10-03: Sharp Words



Date: October 3, 2009


Having heard Kory's side of the story, Charlotte goes to confront Randall.

"Sharp Words"

Pawn Shop, Lower Manhattan

The pawn shop is uncrowded this afternoon, somewhere between the busier periods just after lunch and before dinner. There is a customer, but he's taking his good sweet time browsing through the CD rack, leaving Randall some free time to put away a box of slow-moving items and open up another one whose contents he hasn't gotten around to checking out yet. Behind the cash register is a college-age girl working her way through an English lit paper.

It's fortunate for Charlotte, then, that Randall is behind a shelf, because out of the corner of his eye he'll see a group of dust flakes slowly form - particles, actually, that quickly form into the shape of Charlotte Corday. She pauses a moment, wearing a tan jacket, jeans, sneakers, large celtic-knot earrings and a scarf as she looks around, always a bit dazed and confused while her internal compass sorts itself out.

Randall stops, hands still on the box lid, then shuts it again as he turns to see what's going on. After a moment's thought - glancing toward the entrance, which of course has distinctly failed to bell-clang in its usual fashion - he tears off a piece of cardboard flap and scribbles something down on it, passing it over to Charlotte. What do you do when you jaunt into a crowd?

Charlotte takes the cardboard, and reaches for the pen as she begins to scribble, "Usually I just…" But then she blinks, standing up and doing something rather uncharictaristic of herself - she slaps Randall, or rather, moves to, though he's able to dodge if he sees it coming in time.

He only manages to back up half a step, taking the slap as a glancing blow rather than an obvious hand-shaped red mark; it's still enough to knock him another step backward, which in turn knocks the mystery box to the ground, spilling some old magazines and receipts across the floor. "What was that for?" he blurts out, reaching up to rub the sting out of his cheek.

Charlotte peers around the side of the stacks, but no one seems to have noticed much of the noise. They just apepar ot assume Randall dropped something. "I'm sorry!" Charlotte hisses, fists at her sides as she jerks them to indicate her sorry is equal to her frustration. "But Kory's my friend," she continues to hiss. "I mean you are too but really, Randall? A sixteen year old girl?"

Oh, that. What version of the story did Kory tell her? Probably a barbed one, especially considering that slap. "I didn't sleep with her! Not— not figuratively." Randall crouches down and starts picking up the stuff, trying to keep his voice down. "Look, I wasn't gonna say anything till I calmed down, but… what did you give her to drink the other night? Because what she woke up with sure looked like a hangover."

She may be upset with him, she may have just slapped him, but Charlotte will still help him pick things up. She glances around, still whispering. "That was her? She didn't look 16!" It takes a moment for Charlotte to wrap her mind around that. "I gave her an Irish coffee. Maybe half a shot of Bailey's in it. My mom used to give me more whiskey than that for a toothache when I was a baby and I never had a hangover." She shakes her head, speaking in earnest. Because, well, doesn't she always? "Whatever gave her a hangover, she didn't get it from me. But that is not the point, Randall Kirkwood! 16!!!"

"I don't know, maybe she's a lightweight." And maybe he is, too. Randall shakes his head: "I told you, I didn't do it. She came up for a few minutes, she fell asleep on the couch, that's all. Next morning, Kory walks in— I understand why she'd think the worst." It hurts that she'd believe it, but that's another issue.

Charlotte arches backward, peering aroudn the corner slowly, very slowly. No one appears to be coming, so she falls straight forward again, speaking low. "Well you need to explain it to her! You guys have been together forever! Years! And I'm sure you still care about each other! Why would she think anything was going on if this little girl fell asleep on your couch?" While Charlotte doens't use the phrase 'little girl' to make Randall feel more dirty - she just calls it like she sees it - no doubt it might seem a bit…dirty.

With the box now packed back up again, Randall uses it as a makeshift chair, sighing as he leans back against the shelving. "We've been drifting apart for a year, Charlotte, maybe more… you weren't there to see it, but I was." No judgment in his tone; Pinehearst is in the past, and who knows how she spent the intervening time. "Literally, she's taken her life in a new direction and mine's basically gone the same way as before. It's not anyone's fault, it's just how it is."

Charlotte crouches in front of him, setting a hand on his knee. It's not a creepy hand, it's almost maternal - as if to say, it's okay, it'll be alright. There there. Pat pat. "I know it can go that way sometimes. I'm really sorry I wasn't here to help. If you and Kory are really sure that this way is the best way to go then I'll trust you both. But if you end up in bed with a 16 year old, Randall Kirkwood? What's the phrase. Gosh, I had an ex that used it all the time." She taps her chin, thoughtfully, then looks up at him brightly, dimples and all. "I will cut you."

Randall offers Charlotte a glassy smile. "I'll bear that in mind," he replies, rising to his feet again. Then, louder, for the benefit of the others in the building: "So! Can I get you anything? Cup of coffee, price list, Hanzo sword?"

"Sword? Why on earth would I need a - oh! To cut you!" Charlotte nods, knowingly, tapping Randall's chest. "That's even better. If you and someone undrage…well, you know, you know? I will buy a sword form you and cut you with it." She looks around, making sure no one is around to see her. She missed the whole purpose of his announcement of her presence. "Come by the pub later, bye!" And she starts to fizzle out.

Easy come, easy go! Shaking his head, Randall takes the cardboard note and stuffs it into his pocket to be disposed of later, then picks up the box and carries it out to the front, going over its contents so as to keep her distracted from the door's continued failure to jangle. And the other customer remains oblivious all on his own, squinting at the end of the display case. "Hey, ya got country here, but where's y'all's western section?"

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