2007-08-24: Socially Slow - Part Deux

Starring:

Rudyard_icon.gif Daphne_icon.gif

Summary: Continuation of Socially Slow - Daphne and Rudyard go on a non-date. At Pizza Hut.

Date It Happened: 24 AUGUST 2007

Socially Slow - Part Deux


Pizza Hut

Rudyard waited for the specified timeframe.. he picked Daphne up.. only to have the woman go ahead and choose.. Pizza Hut of all places. Perhaps… if he doesn't completely cock this up, then there will be another chance with a nicer choice in venue. He did at least dress down when Daphne suggested Pizza Hut.. and he's a perfect gentlemen for her. Opening and holding doors.. he would pull out her seat for her, if they hadn't of chosen a corner booth away from people. For a little more privacy in conversation.

—-

While Rudy dressed Down, Daphne wore something just a little nicer than what she's usually seen in at the zoo. Nothing fancy; it's still casual, but at least her long hair is down and not in a messy ponytail. This old-fashioned stuff is… Weird, to say the least, and she's certainly not used to it at all. Granted, that's because she's used to opening her own doors and the like, but this isn't too uncomfortable. She could get used to it. She takes a seat next to Rudyard in the booth. Even if it's not a date, it's probably the first date-like meeting she's had in awhile. "So, we gonna talk about this this time?" she asks. It's kind of a joke, but last time he kind of just passed it off.

—-

"What.." an odd place for a date. Rudyard doesn't say that, but he's thinking it. "do you like on your pizza? I would recommend avoiding the sausage." Why? Because there's a tiny party going on with the sausage bin and you don't want the details. Clearing his throat, he looks around, even if it's as private as they can get here. Lowering his voice, he says, "We can.. considering we're clearly onto each other."

—-

It's easier to slip back into her accent while she's around Rudy, mostly because he doesn't try to speak all New-York-Like. She doesn't even realise she's doing it, actually. Leaning in closer, she shrugs. Daphne doesn't eat meat - usually - but for pizza, she'll make an exception. One little tiny one. For pepperoni. "Pepperoni, green peppers, black olives. You?" Voice lowering a little, she adds, "Well, I kinda figured it out when you brought me a bouquet of butterflies, Kipling." She smiles. "Pretty obvious." She hasn't really done too much to give herself away. Nothing definitive, anyway. "How'd it happen?"

—-

"That sounds fine." So long as it's nothing weird, pizza is pizza. Rudyard scratches at an ear, looking a little embarrassed. "Flowers.. the butterflies.. they wanted to join in." No really. "Cheerful little blighters they are." Clearing his throat again, he says, "What of you and your chattering squirrels?" There's a fortunate timing here by way of placing the order for the pizza and drinks.. he says nothing again until they're in the clear again. "How did what happen?"

—-

"I meant— " He's so shy. So, so shy. And considering the fact that she wasn't unpopular in school, she can guess why. Really, talking to bugs? It would have grossed her out before she learned of her own ability. "The butterflies were nice," is added as encouragement, just before she orders a Coke for herself. And pizza, of course.

"Couple years ago, my cat… Started talking to me. It was like pictures at first…? I guess that's what I'd call it. It kind started in dreams, then I realised it got worse when the cat was hungry, or wanted attention." It got worse from there. "Now? Everything talks. There, I went first." NOW YOU, in other words.

—-

"Oh.. I see.." Rudyard says, shifting just a little uncomfortably in his seat. "Well.. they.." Don't say something stupid.. "I'm glad you liked it." There. Good boy. The uncomfortableness doesn't go away.. as he's never confessed to anyone about what he can do.. when it started.. he clammed up. "I.. it was probably year 3 or so, primary school. I wasn't any older than eight." He shuts up as the drinks are brought over. Taking a drink of his coke, he waits until they're alone again before continuing. This is just stupid. Why is he doing this? Why can't this woman leave his head? "I noticed that I could hear the insects. During recess. Some classmates nicked a magnifying glass and were using it on ants. It wasn't pleasant." He doesn't go into details, because just saying it aloud even now feels silly. But it wasn't at the time.

—-

Fortunately for Rudyard, he's talking to one of the only people in the world who can really empathise. Really, she's twenty-five, and hearing animals die still bothers her. It gets her into trouble, too - at least, trouble happens in such cases. "That's what happened with the squirrel. And before that, I dunno… A month or two, some of the dogs at the zoo had pups. I— " She has to pause as someone walks by the table. Instead, she takes a sip from her coke. "…Heard one of them before she died. She was so confused. I took it out on one of the patrons. S'how I ended up sounding like I'm from Australia. I'm not." It doesn't seem like she thinks Rudyard's ability is weird at all. Sure, they're insects, but it's kinda cool. "Never could get the hang of hearing bugs, tho'. I think maybe they're outta my range."

—-

"I think.. that was about the time it was noticeable that I wasn't normal. My parents even dragged me off to a doctor because they thought I had autism." Rudyard's not readily shared that.. despite how stiff he seems on the outside.. maybe he is warming up to Daphne. Or maybe it's because they're both weird. They talk with animals. "I'm still sorry about that… the squirrel I mean." He's still perplexed about the origination of the Australian accent. Other powers, what? So he simply nods. "Maybe with time? Or it's different with insects, possibly due to structure, simplistic.." Catching himself before he drones on about the differences in the animal kingdom, he settles for drinking his coke.

—-

"My parents don't know. At all. I think about telling them sometimes, but they'd never get it, you know? I mean, I thought I was crazy when it happened. Someone who couldn't— I don't actually know where I got it from. Maybe they're like me, but I don't want to chance it." One would think that a girl wouldn't want to talk about insects around the dinner table…

But! But she latches on to that! "They are, that's the whole thing. Everything seems to have it's own language, but everything knows how to communicate. It's just… the way… I can have a conversation with a dog just fine, but snakes are more difficult. There's this octopus at the aquarium, though, that can chat all day." Even if it's just a mollusk, it's a really friggin' smart one. Capable of learning and complex tasks. Insects… exist. That's about all she's known them to do. "I wrote an essay about it once." A quiet chuckle follows. "Then I had to burn it. Woulda gotten me an A, though, I bet."

—-

"I never told anyone about what I can do.. Until you, obviously," Rudyard says, trying to not sound too uncomfortable. "As far as I know, no one else in my family is like me." Painfully normal, the lot of them. A smile creeps across his face as Daphne takes what he was going to say and runs with it. "Bees are quiet easy to speak with, tempermental.. wasps more so. Fleas, ticks, quite keen to latch onto what you tell them to. Butterflies, a bit airheaded, they like poetry and songs. Peter S. Beagle had that one right.. Spiders.. take more work. It's entertaining getting them to leave messages in their webs."

—-

Never told anyone? It was hell for her to live with a secret like she had for… Many, many months. "I wasn't going to tell anyone, then I — " She bites her lip before she says anything else. If Laurel wants to tell the guy she can make invisible walls, she should be the one to do it. "Well, a few people know now. Y'know, we're not the only ones. There's a lot of people out there who — it's not the same, but we're not the only ones." Lots of people with abilities. It's weird.

"You've got me scared of bees, you know," she says, muttering as the pizza is brought to the table. She goes on after the waitress walks away — Or, well. She starts to, then Rudyard mentions getting the spiders to leave messages in their webs. "Like Charlotte?" she asks. Who hasn't read Charlotte's Web? "You've done that? Really?"

—-

"I'm sorry about the bees.. you really shouldn't be afraid of them. Respect.. yes.. fear no." Rudyard says, working with that as the pizza arrives. He lets Daphne help herself first. "I suppose I just haven't been close enough to anyone to tell them that hello yes, I may be weird enough but it's about to get weirder. You're an exception.. since I thought I was the only person in the world who could do something like this. I'm starting to see that I'm not alone." He thinks about that for a few. Not the only person who can do strange things. It's.. weird yet comforting at the same time. Back to the Charlotte comment, he chuckles. "I tried that out in college on some drunken frat boys. It was hilarious."

—-

"Mmm, you weren't the one who had to pull a hundred stingers out of her face," she comments dryly. It wasn't near that many, but it gets the point across. She drags a piece of pizza onto her plate. This? Best pizza in the whole world, seriously. You cannot possibly get better than a slice of Pizza Hut pizza as far as she's concerned. "Well, I don't think you're weird because you can talk to bugs," she says with a smile. Actually, she thinks he's weird because he wears a suit to the zoo in the middle of summer. Because he's so horrendously proper. Because his name is Rudyard. While she's not going to name names just yet, she should probably think about introducing the guy to Laurel. She'll ask first, and only after she's sure Rudy isn't one of the bad guys. He… doesn't seem the type.

Drunk frat boys + Spider web with writing = hilarity, and so Daphne laughs. She's been to college, she's going to college now. She's seen these people in action. "Bet they flipped out."

—-

"Sorry," Rudyard mumbles, ducking his head a little as he takes another drink before helping himself to a slice. ".. oh.. that's some measure of relief then," he comments as to why she doesn't think he's weird. Maybe it's other things about him, like how he is using a knife and fork to eat his pizza. Oh he knows you pick it up to eat, but he's fussy that way. "They did. It was rather amusing. I was careful to not get carried away with the frequency of messages.. things like 'I saw what you did', or 'drink drink drink'.. I did have fun with 'call me' messages and telephone numbers though."

—-

Oops, went too far with the complaining. "…It's okay. You know why I dove into a colony full of bees now, though. You hear a kitten crying like that, you really don't have a choice." All's forgiven. Except when she needs to bring it up in the future for some odd reason, like 'GOD, SAVE ME FROM THE BEES, THEY'll STING MY FACE.' Or when she's mad at Rudyard for something. Or. Whatever. "And they never caught you, huh?" she asks, reaching over to remove Rudyard's knife and fork from his hand, pick up his slice of pizza, and hand it to him. "You wouldn't eat sushi with a fork. You don't eat pizza with a fork, either." She won't be picky if he insists, but… Jeez, he has to lighten up a little!

—-

"I understand.. I still want to make it up to you somehow." Rudyard says as he forks a bite of pizza into his mouth. "No. They never caught on. Who would have imagined such a thing to begin with? What the.." He blinks as Daphne takes the knife and fork from his hands. "I like eating it this way… and I can't say that I've had sushi before."

—-

"I haven't, either. Hard to eat something that you know can talk back," she says as she takes a big bite out of her pepperoni. Her charity only goes so far, and dropping pizza from the diet was just out. "But it's the principle of the thing. You eat that stuff with chopsticks or something— Like Chinese food. You can't even get a fork in some Chinese restaurants. So dig in. C'mon." Returning to her own pizza, she smiles, but also sets his knife and fork back down on the table in front of him.

—-

Rudyard has always eaten pizza with knife and fork.. this is just.. fine.. He'll humor the bloody woman. There's a moment of hesitation before he resumes eating his slice like a normal person. "I do see your point about eating what can talk back. I think I would have a difficult time of having ham if I just had a conversation with a pig."

—-

SEE? MUCH BETTER. "Not like I'm against it or anything," she says. Obviously, with the pepperoni. "Just seems kinda rude. 'Hi, love what you've done with your feathers. The coop is beautiful today. By the way, last week, I ate your brother for dinner— hope you don't mind.' Just not a good conversation, you know? I mean, I'd be offended." Again, while nomming on pizza with pepperoni on it. "For the record, I'm not gonna go causing a stampede in a slaughterhouse or anything. So you went to college, huh? Study bugs?"

—-

"They do. Definitely. It was my own decision, no one complained about it. I was having a turkey sandwich for dinner one day, and Raptor - she's my little parrot - was just sitting on the table there in front of me, and it just… Really seemed— ? You know?" LIKE THAT.

Aaah, PETA. Daphne chuckles, rolling her eyes. "You read in the paper about that dumbass animal rights group that liberated a rhinoceros in the zoo awhile back? They painted their warnings all over the walls. We all think it was some PETA club in the area, but they didn't say. A rhino, Kipling. They let a damn rhino run around the zoo. It could have killed someone. No, I'm not like that. A lot of the animals in the zoo are happy. They're fed all the time, they miss their freedom, but… they're happy."

Wow. He sounds… A lot like she did, actually. "That's what I did, too." There's a hint of kinship in her voice. Before she started talking to animals, she'd been seriously considering something in mathmatics, maybe. Chemistry, maybe pharmacy. "I mean, I guess it wasn't outright decided for me, but it seemed like a shame to waste." Going back to her pizza, she's quiet for a time before asking, "Hey, d'you want to do this again sometime?"

—-

Rudyard scrubs his hand over his face, laughing. "I did see that.. They haven't a bloody clue about what they're doing.. There's just.. they don't see where they're wrong about a good number of things. There's an order to life.. You can't just set a wild animal free and expect it to frolic with bunnies as if it were a Disney film. I'm glad to see you understand that. I mean, you would have to." And if she didn't before talking to animals.. Finishing off slice one and going for number two, he blinks.. So he hasn't botched this beyond repair? He looks surprised at the question. "I.. yes.. I would like that muchly."

—-

Like Rudy said before, Animals don't reason like people do. Humans are sentient, free thinkers by nature. They have a right to be free. Animals do, too. Animals have every right to be able to live their lives well, but if they're in captivity and well cared for, happy, there's no reason to disturb them. "They thought they were doing what was best for the animal. But they almost got it put to sleep." Which would have been incredibly sad. "It's okay now, just… really nervous."

Daphne isn't quite surprised when Rudyard says yes. It's still nice to hear, though, given that she and him didn't really get along before now. They've spent most of their dinner talking about animals, but now she's curious. "What made you decide to bring flowers? I mean, today of all days." Beat. "Not that I'm complaining, at all. I just thought you didn't— I mean, we didn't exactly hit it off."

—-

Rudyard chooses now to stuff more pizza into his mouth. Thus saving him from putting his foot into it. Sorry. Can't talk. Eating. Although there is a slight flush to his ears that might give him away.

—-

Wh— FINE. Okay, too personal for the first 'date.' Again, there's silence, this time somewhat more awkward than before as she concentrates on her own pizza, and the fascinating droplets of water on the side of her glass are fun to watch! Okay, new subject. "What kinds of movies do you like? You know, maybe for next time or whatever."

—-

Well.. no.. it wasn't a personal question.. but Rudyard thought it obvious why he would be giving her flowers. I guess not. "Uhm, I haven't been to the movies in awhile. I'm not even sure what would be playing. Comedies are good.. nothing too depressing I would think."

—-

That's obvious, but it's just… Why then, and… She's kind of confused. When you go from thinking someone doesn't really like you at all to finding them outside an office door with a bouquet of flowers, it's kind of hard to put the two extremes together and come out with… this. Smiling, Daphne sets the rest of her current slice down on her plate, and looks down at it— She's trying not to chuckle, really. "Okay, I'm gonna do my best to introduce you to the world. And I'll stop being so picky about the fact that you're pompous and British."

—-

"I'll apologize for coming across as pompous, but not as having the great United Kingdom as my place of birth," Rudyard says with a slight smile of teasing for Daphne. As to liking the woman.. he's as perplexed as she. Then again, it's not everyday you run into someone like yourself in certain ways, is it? "And.. I'm familiar enough with the world. Doesn't everyone go home after work and read, or watch the news?" Because that's what he does!

—-

Oh. God. She's got her work cut out for her, but… Strangely, she doesn't mind that. Not one bit. She'll request the check, resist looking at it 'cuz Rudyard would probably kill her, and then she pulls out her phone to text something to Laurel. "C'mon, I'm taking you to a movie. Right now." There's still time, and there's gotta be something awesome playing. Or… At least marginally entertaining. It is summer, after all. Hopefully he's done eating, and if he's not… there's always popcorn. Daphne stands, heading toward the register and looking back until he follows.

For the record, the text message says: "First of all, shut up. Second, his name is Rudyard. Call me later." …And then she turns the sound off on her phone.

—-

Rudyard just might up and stab Daphne. The date was his idea. He's paying for it. So there. "We're leaving? But we aren't finished eating.." Perplexed at the sudden impulse, he fishes enough cash from his wallet to cover the meal before following after Daphne. He doesn't question the texting, not in this day and age…

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