Date: May 8, 2010
Brayden and Aedan surprise Tori at her apartment when they come by to invite her to join their gang. Again.
Tori's Apartment, Morningside Heights
Tori's Morningside Heights apartment is a quiet and industrious and slightly messy place this morning — Devon is off doing whatever it is smoke monsters do, in order to give her the quiet refuge she needs to work on a paper for one of her courses. The coffee table is littered with books and scholarly journals, coffee cups, crumpled up paper, pens and highlighters and an empty pizza box. The scent of cigarette smoke lingers everywhere in the small apartment, yet there's no ashtray to be seen.
Curled up on the couch in her usual cut-off sweats and a camisole tank, Tori types away on her laptop, a pencil clenched between her teeth. The topic seems to be Kiss of the Spiderwoman and M. Butterfly, two plays in pastel-colored paperbacks set on the tray beside the laptop.
Two casually dressed men tread towards the entrance to Tori's apartment. The first wears a grey beanie on his head, has a goatee and a jovial way about him. The second, somewhat more nervous and hesitant about this, quips, "I'm not sure she'd be game. I mean she left Cork for a reason, right?"
The first shakes his head, "So did ya." Beat. "Which reminds me, Brayden, did ya ever end up findin' yerself?"
"Uh." Brayden's gaze shifts, "The only version I found of myself was at the bottom of a bottle." He shoots Aedan an easy smile before Aedan knocks on Tori's door. He waits, smile ready.
The knock on the door gets a curious glance from the young woman on the couch - Devon doesn't knock, nor usually even open the door but simply slides under in his incorporeal form — lazy. She sets the tray down on the coffee table, wincing as she knocks over cold coffee. "Hold on!" she calls as she hurries in bare feet for paper towels to mop up the mess. Leaving the paper towels to soak up the coffee, wincing as she pulls out a memo pad of indigo ink now blurring with coffee stains, she sighs with exasperation and heads to the door.
After a quick peek through the peephole, she sees who is on the other side, dropping the now empty mug she still holds onto the floor where it clatters but doesn't break. The door is opened quickly and her dark eyes dart from Nathan, who she thought was dead, to Aedan, who she hasn't seen in almost a year. She flings herself into Nate's arms for a hug. "I thought you were dead," she says accusingly, before realizing such things shouldn't be said in an apartment building corridor, and tugs him inside by the sleeve. Next she turns to Aedan and gives him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "What in the world brings you two here, alive and … in New York and alive?"
"Hey kid," Brayden returns the hug, but seems somewhat confused. "I told you I was coming to the States — I'm not dead, just you know, trying to find myself and all." He issues her an easy smile as he is pulled into the apartment. "Hope we weren't interrupting anything important or anything — " he continues to smile, showing off his bright dimples. Yet something in his eyes is closing to questions as he looks around the apartment like he's never been here before. "Nice digs," he muses.
That is pretty much not the reaction Aedan was expecting. His eyebrows furrow. "Bray, I told ya, ye shoulda looked 'er up when ye got here," as he hugs Tori. "How is? This one has been a real piece of work not lookin' ye up! I told 'im ye'd want to see us! Aye told 'im that ye'd want te join 'our team. I said — din't I say, Bray! I say-ed!"
"What are you on about—" Tori begins, before her brows furrow in confusion and then some form of understanding. Maybe. Clearly he's lost his memories again. Is Aedan trying to play polite and not draw attention to it, or does Aedan not know? She looks from one man to the other, chewing her lip thoughtfully.
She gathers herself and nods to the couch. "Sit down. Want some coffee? Beer? I don't have any Guinness or Bass, I'm sorry to say — that shit's expensive here, so all I have is Corona of all things." She gives a shake of her head. She doesn't drink the stuff. "What do you mean, join your team?" Her eyes go from Nathan/Brayden to Aedan, narrowing a little, trying to assess what he knows or doesn't.
Brayden whistles as he continues to glance around the apartment on his amble over to the couch. For a few moments he wrinkles his nose as if trying to remember something and finally answers. "I've have a coffee — don't care for Corona. Kinda of woman-ish." He smiles again with a broad, toothy grin.
"Yeah — team." Aedan settles next to Brayden — a good foot distance between them. Can't seem too tight and all that. "Aye'll take that beer, darlin'," he winks and shoots Tori a sly half-smile. "See we're buildin' up jobs 'ere in New York — th boss want'd us ta build new resources an' we need more crew we cin trust — "
Tori's brow wrinkles more but she pads into the kitchenette to gather the drinks, fixing Brayden's coffee the way he drank it in Cork, then opening a bottle of beer for Aedan. She heads back to the living room to hand them each their respective drinks, then sits on the coffee table facing both of them.
"I might be able to help out, but… Brayden, it might be safer if you didn't work here in New York, if you're trying to keep a low profile and all that, don't you think?" she says softly, watching his eyes for an indication he knows what she's talking about. Or maybe Nathan really did die and this is a clone. Or maybe it was always a clone. Her head is reeling with the possibilities. "Not that it's not great to see you. Both of you." She smiles at Aedan — who doesn't like a winking and grinning Irishman?
"I have a schedule to keep though, so it'll have to be when I don't have class," she adds. "What sort of jobs you got lined up?"
Brayden accepts the sugar and cream-laced coffee and takes a long sip. It's very very sweet. Very very sweet. A stark change from Nathan's black coffee. He swallows and smiiiiles. His eyebrows furrow as he tilts his head at her, "Low profile? That's weird. I haven't found anyone here I know so far, I figure, I'm totally fine." He reaches into his jacket and pulls out a whistle he's been whittling, "This one's for you. I've been working on it the last month or so."
"Yer in skool? Lookit ya! Always was the smart one, eh Bray?" he winks again. Then he takes a long swig of beer from the bottle and swallows. Not his favourite, but it's beer. "A bit 'o this a bit 'o that. Some smugglin' some deals; takin' names, kickin' asses." He chuckles at this particular phrase, "Ye see we've 'ad some troubles with some unsav'ory types — "
It was much easier talking with an amnesiac she hadn't known in the past than one she knows should know more than he does. Tori picks up her own cup of coffee, set aside earlier (not the one she spilled) and takes a sobering swallow, her eyes flitting nervously from Brayden's to Aedan's. Should she tell Brayden what he's forgotten? "The last month?" she echoes, and she sighs, setting down the cup again.
"I'm not much for kicking asses — you know that, Aedan. If I ever hurt anyone back in Cork it was by sheer luck that one of my flailing limbs managed to do some damage. But I can help with the other stuff, most likely. But are you sure this is a good idea?" Her eyes slide from Aedan to Brayden and back — universal sign language for, 'can't you tell he's nuts?'
"Well the orders come from above, luv," Aedan winks and takes another swig of beer. "Well rely 'o us fellas fer the kickin' asses. Aye cin hook ya up wit smugglin' jobs. 'n ye cin meet Ellie — she's new on the crew — " he leans back in his seat and finishes his bottle of beer in one last swig. "Right, Bray?"
Forcing another easy smile, Brayden nods. "Yeah, we just take the work and try to stay alive," he places the whistle-shaped train on Tori's coffee table beside Tori. "And we don't question the orders from above. You know the boss, always giving orders from the top without us asking too many questions — but man, the payout is always worth it — " His grin broadens.
Tori picks up the whistle and turns it over in her hands, frowning down at it a little. In some ways, it feels good to have Brayden back, Aedan with him, but part of her worries for what he's left behind. His kids, for one. "I … might have someone else who might be useful to us… If you trust me to bring in another," she muses quietly. "He'll fit in bloody well with an Irishy name even," she adds with a smirk. After all, they have the New Yorker with a fake Irish name, and herself, a Brit with an Irish last name.
Brayden arches a single skeptical eyebrow at bringing someone else into the fold, but Aedan, the middle-management type nods and beams, "'O course ye cin bring a friend! As long as he likes and cin 'old 'is liquor." Yup, always a concern of the Irish. "'N the Irish name'll serve 'im well. They go far fer all people. Just lookit me 'n Bray 'ere."
"I'll have to run it by him. He might be trying to be more legit. In fact, not sure what he'll think of me in the little club, so it's a bit touchy, but … You know. Grad school's expensive." She can't tell if they're both really good with their poker faces or if Aedan really doesn't know who Brayden is. "Who're the unsavories? I mean… besides you two hooligans."
"Excellent!" Aedan chirps with a big smile. Yup, he's pleased as punch that Tori has accepted this little offer. "Well there we go, Bray! This'll be a wonderful thing! All we need is Caitlin 'n it's a party." He stares at Brayden as he says it, expecting some reaction.
Brayden oddly doesn't react, instead he shrugs and smirks, "Well there's more of me to go around this time for the ladies~" He flips up the collar of his signature plaid shirt and nods smugly. He frowns contemplatively, but only for a moment before he's smirking again, "Takahashis. The boss has a real problem with them too. Turf issues." He shrugs. "Nothing to worry about. He'll figure it out." Maybe.
Tori chuckles a little at Brayden's machoism. Oh, sure, now he's single and doesn't remember he has a daughter her age, now that there is a Devon in the picture. The Brit picks up her mug of coffee and takes another swallow. "Taahashi. Well." She sets down the mug and picks up a pad of paper that //doesn't have coffee spilled all over it, and a green pen to scrawl her number twice. She tears the paper off, then tears it in half, giving one to each. "I have a feeling you've lost my phone numbers," she says dryly to Brayden. "Though I'm not sure how you figured out where to find me."
"Oh, aye did that, luv. A bribe here, a chat there, it all works out," Aedan winks again. "But Bray here din't think it'd be worth our time. Ye cin take that up wit 'im latah," and another wink. Yup, Aedan is a flirty one. Of course, Tori should know this by now. It's his modus operandi. "Ye need ta meet Ellie — she's a god-send. Aye cin't explain 'ow amazin' she is — "
Brayden finishes his cup of coffee and sets the mug on the coffee table now. "You know how it goes, every woman he meets is the love of Aedan's life. He's tough on the outside to get them and then soft like … butter that's been out on the counter for days and days once he's got them in his sights." He chuckles at this imagery. "A phone number or two would be good — "
"But give it ta me, luv! Bray doesn't believe in cellphones. Somethin' about trackin' or somethin'."
Brayde's cheeks flush a little.
"Lucky girl," Tori says with a fond grin for Aedan. It's hard not to like him. Brayden's flushing gets a narrow-eyed glance from Tori, who just arches a brow. "That phone number should be safe," she says with a nod toward the slips of paper Aedan just took. "After all, Cody gave me the phone it matches."
"Oh Cody's the fellow you mentioned?" Brayden squints. "Makes sense he'd want to keep you safe, kid." The smile on his face grows as he places his hands on his knees and rises from the couch. "Aedan get up. We have things to do, remember?"
Aedan nods as he sets his bottle on the coffee table and stuffs the phone number in his pocket. "We'll be in touch, luv. Talk to yer fella. Find out if ya 're both interested 'n we'll 'ave ye back workin' in no time." He winks again as he moves towards the door.
"It was nice seeing you. Both. Alive. And in New York," Tori mutters a bit as she stands up to get out of their way and walk them to the door. "Stay safe. And keep a low profile. You might want to grow a beard or something," she adds to Brayden as he heads out the door.