2007-09-20: Sudden Interest


Nathan_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Guest Starring:

Simon and Monty, Micah

Summary: Nathan has questions only Niki might be able to answer. Ask and you shall receive! … Sort of.

Date It Happened: September 20th, 2007

Sudden Interest

New York City

Outside of the reasonably prestigious elementary school, a silver car pulls up and purrs to a halt. It doesn't even crash into anything, despite the fact that Nathan is behind the wheel. And a shout out to New York, for choosing to rain on the day Nathan actually has time to do his wife a favour and pick the children up from school - he's even early (mostly because he misjudged what time school ends), but that only makes the drizzly weather even more inconvenient. An ad comes onto the radio - a Crane ad, and Nathan automatically reaches to switch it off for the time being. He doesn't get out of the car yet, craning his neck to see through the gates, towards the front of the school, so he knows when to either get out of the car, grab the spawn and go, or beep the car horn so they can make a run for it without Nathan needing to get rained upon.

A few cars up from the silver car is a black one, far less expensive and much more nondescript, several years older. It's been stationary for a few minutes, but now, as the drizzly rain fails to let up, the door opens to let the driver out: Niki Sanders. She's taken some effort to match her surroundings, the prestigious private school, to look the part of someone who can afford to send their kid here; and so, her trim grey dress pants and white wrap long-sleeved shirt are neat and elegant enough, and the delicate silver necklace that hangs in the V of her collar lends a graceful touch. Cringing somewhat at the moisture falling down on her, she runs a hand through her hair as she starts to stride past the front gates. There's a side entrance somewhere, she knows there is, with employees who might let her in to wait.

He doesn't immediately recognise Niki, gaze landing on her and dismissing her as yet another parent - it's the thought that she might be a teacher than causes Nathan to look again. Fate's an interesting thing, isn't it! He pauses, and then, acting on impulse, he gets out of the car, pulling his coat around him for some protection against the rain. Underneath is a business suit from the work day, his tie abandoned somewhere and shirt collar button opened. He probably looks less upper class than Niki does, but then again, he doesn't need to put on those appearances. "Niki," he calls out, once he's close enough to not shout.

The sound of the nearby car door opening doesn't get Niki's attention, but the voice does. Like a brick wall. She stops abruptly in her tracks, twisting to stare and gape, a deer in the headlights — in the rain, no less. Everything looks so bleak in this kind of slow, miserable rain. Shades of washed out grey. "…Nathan." The… greeting, if you can call it that, is hesitant, hard to read. She glances back at the school gates, putting the pieces together, remembering that there possibility of running into him here, after all.

This isn't ideal. It's raining, for one thing, and Nathan is here to pick up his kids, and they're standing on a sidewalk. But exchanged numbers from a year ago have long since been lost, so Nathan will take what he can get. "What're you doing here?" he hears himself asking. It's not quite a 'hi, how're you doing?', but it's as close as he gets in this situation.

Taking a walk in the rain beside a school for no reason, what does it look like? Such a sentiment may flash past her expression for a brief moment, but what Niki says is, "Picking up my son." There's a bit of a nervous smile and she wraps her arms about herself. "Your kids go here too, right?" She knows they do, she met his wife — but it's something to say while she waits expectantly for— well… that's to be determined.

"Yeah, they do," Nathan says, glancing back towards the main gate, but no life yet. There will be soon, though. "Listen, I have a few— damnit." It's just not practical to get soaked through while having a conversation, so Nathan takes the liberty of putting his hand on Niki's arm to steer her towards where there's some cover - not indoors, but where an outreaching of roof shields a decent patch of sidewalk from the constant drizzle. As for how suggestive it may look for Nathan to be skulking around with an attractive blonde? He doesn't give it too much thought - they are by a school, after all, it's not exactly pick up central. "I was hoping to run into you, actually, to talk to you about something. Now's probably not the time…"

Niki is steered without resistance out of the rain by Nathan, but she does find herself instinctively looking over her shoulder for— what? For anyone watching? His declaration comes as an obvious surprise, Niki's brows lifting high as she regards the politician with guarded curiosity. "Look, I dunno what you'd wanna talk to me for…"

Nathan's gaze also darts around a little to take in their surroundings, anyone nearby - but not out of paranoia, or a sense of public appearance. He just doesn't want to be interrupted. Niki's words earn a slight twist of a smirk from the Senator-hopeful, as he absently closes his coat further, folding his arms. "Because this is to do with something you know better than anyone," he says, watching her carefully. "I want to know about Jessica."

"You met Jessica, she was planning to kill you, remember?" This time, when Niki looks from side to side, up and down the street — which all but much empty, New Yorkers hiding from the rain — it's because she's distinctly uncomfortable all of a sudden. That is, more so. The hold on her own arms grows tighter, stiffer. Glancing back at Nathan with an evasive, hard-to-pin gaze, she loses the pseudo-hostility and asks, "What do you want to know?"

"Yeah I remember. That kind of thing stays with you," Nathan says, her hostility only met with stoicness and sarcasm, a combination that just works nine times out of ten. But when her challenge lets up, so does his, and he shifts his weight from foot to foot for a moment, trying to figure out the best way to approach the topic. "I want to know how it happened. When you found out it was happening." There's a flicker of something uncertain in his eyes, guarded expression faltering for a moment and he looks away, towards the school as if to check to see if the kids are out yet. "Whatever you can give me."

Niki's expression starts to soften, if only because she's studying Nathan's carefully. She opens her mouth to reply, only to hesitate and follow his gaze to the gates. She's frozen that way for a moment, the gears are practically visible turning in her head. "I'm guessing…" she turns back with a small, short-lived twist of a humourless smile. "…you have some reason— you're not just suddenly interested in how screwed up I am."

Guilty as charged. Nathan lifts his shoulders in a small shrug, not exactly apologetic, but confirming that yes, he has his reasons. He points out, "It's not really my business to be asking you about this stuff without a reason, is it? Look." He checks his pockets, withdrawing a slim and undoubtedly expensive black leather wallet, rifling through it. "If it's not something you want to talk about now, I can give you a number you can call and— whenever is better."

Is it something she wants to talk about at all? "Whatever this is about, I— I … want to help you," Niki ventures cautiously. "But…" she purses her lips into a frown, shifting from foot to foot. She tucks a strand of slightly damp blonde hair behind her ear and seems to switch tracks. "The sooner the better."

A business card is extracted - more private and direct contact details rather than the 'and this is the person you can talk to who will get you into with this secretary who can schedule you in on Tuesday' variety of card. Nathan holds on to it for a moment before offering it. "I'd really appreciate it," he says, after a moment. "If you're not doing anything tomorrow, is that soon enough?"

Niki takes the card, hair falling ahead as she looks down at it for more time than strictly necessary to read a bunch of numbers. "Tomorrow. Sure," she concedes as a bell sounds somewhere in the school building, sounding tinny and muffled. She has a smile for Nathan that's strangely apologetic, but at least it's sincere, more like herself. "…I should go wait for Micah. He doesn't know I'm back. I'll miss him if I don't hurry." Hesitate, hesitate, aaand… "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Then I won't keep you," Nathan says, with a small, if slightly awkward, smile back. Well that could have gone far worse. She could have said no. Nathan backs up a step, and waits for a moment, letting Niki move back towards the school, allowing distance to fall between them. Monty and Simon, upon seeing their father lingering just outside the grounds, go rushing past the woman to greet their father, who stops watching her leaving to kneel down and greet them.

After that certain distance has passed, Niki looks back once over her shoulder at the man and his two sons — blue eyes linger for just a few seconds before she heads into the school grounds now that they're open. She's soon greeted by a boy of her own, Micah, who runs in a rush to slam into her legs in a hug, exacting a bright smile.

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