2007-02-28: Two Lawyers And A Barista


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Summary: Jane runs across the hostage she saw in Central Park, she and Elena converse. Xander turns up and briefs Miss Gomez on developments in her mother's case.

Date It Happened: February 28th, 2007

Two Lawyers and a Barista

Starbucks, Lower Manhattan

It was early. VERY early. 6:00 am early.

But Elena is wide awake, thanks to a shot of Espresso to her system. Her Starbucks was, at the moment, empty. The early-bird crowd had already shot through the doors already, and the 9:00 rush isn't until for a couple of hours. It was odd how working at a coffeehouse gave one a general impression as to how the lives of every day New Yorkers started, if one bothered to notice, but Elena liked her job even if she gets sick of coffee easily these days. While there is a lull, in her shift before she takes off for college classes, she has her MP3 player attached to her ears as she works on something in her laptop at the counter. Her research file was up, and she's busily typing updates on it.

"…I wonder if he could eventually…" she muses, her lips pursing softly. She had Eric Walker on the brain lately, and it wasn't because he was cute.

…alright, it wasn't JUST because he was cute. But if her testing is going this well, she could perhaps devise one tailored to her father's needs. She can't have him keeling over every time he's in a crowd.

The door opens, and a woman in her mid-twenties steps through it. Today she's in a navy blue suit with skirt and businesslike heels. A briefcase is in one hand, in the other a copy of the New York Times. Jane yawns slightly and approaches the counter, thinking over what to order, and opening her mouth to speak. "I'd like a vanilla mocha cappu…" Her voice trails off, an expression of surprise forming as she spots who the barrista is. It takes her some seconds to get past that and finish. "…cino."

The door opens, and Elena looks up, planting the Service Smile on her face, but when she sees who it is, she blinks. Surprise etches in her features. And judging by the woman holding the briefcase's expression, she recognized him a s well. "….good morning! Coming right up," she says, picking up a cup and marking the order on the surface. And since she's the only customer right now, she starts on actually creating the concoction. "Early start?" she says, looking up with a smile. "Lawyers and executive types typically do, I noticed." She steams the milk, fresh from the carton after checking the expiration date carefully.

"Today, yes," Jane answers with a chuckle. "I'm mulling over dropping resumes off at Ascap and BMI." Fingers dip into her purse and emerge with a quantity of cash sufficient for the cup she ordered, and silence reigns for some moments while she studies the barrista's face and thinks of what to say. When it breaks, she offers "I don't think you've seen me in my lawyer clothes before, though. I was dressed in guitar gear then."

"I know," Elena says with a smile. At least it isn't tight, it's a rather easy expression. Looks like she bounces back quickly, at least, from traumatic experiences. Then again, she's quickly getting used to it. It was like the hostage crisis triggered a chain of very unusual events for her…or rather, the Winters Kidnapping did, because ever since then she's always been at the wrong place and the wrong time. "I thought for a moment you were a music major from one of the local colleges. I didn't know you were a lawyer or an executive." She can't tell just by looking at her anyway, and Ascap and BMI were all huge companies out in New York. "But I always tell people around here that things are never what it seems in New York though I suppose after -that- situation…" Yes, that. "…it holds true more than ever."

"You weren't completely wrong," Jane replies with a light laugh. "I did study music in college, and got a degree in it. But then the 'rents insisted I do law school too, so… here I am. Doctor M. Jane Forrest, in New York to see if I can make it in the music scene here, and looking to line up legal work in the music industry. I specialized in contracts, copyrights, and trademarks." And silence settles in again, a thoughtful one, before she adds "I'm glad you weren't badly injured."

"Intellectual property," Elena says with a grin. "I've been looking in on that lately, not because I want to be a lawyer or anything, but I'm headed straight into science." Which reminds her. She puts her laptop on Hibernate and closes the cover quietly with a click, handing Jane her coffee and taking the money so she could give her the change. "In regards to patents and how to protect research." At the last, she smiles. "That's very nice of you to say so, Ms. Forrest. I really appreciate it. And I wasn't really….just a second degree burn but nothing cream and cleanliness can't fix. It hurt a lot in the first few days, but it faded eventually. I just hope it doesn't scar too badly. I'm glad you weren't hurt too. That girl could've done a lot of damage. I guess if I had a serious martyr syndrome I'd say I'm glad it was just me and not others." She wipes down the counter, shaking her head. "If you asked me a year ago what I would do if I was taken hostage by a crazy person who could shoot fireballs from her hands, I would've asked whether David Copperfield decided to do another show in New York, but as weird as it sounds, nothing surprises me any more."

Her head tilts to one side, as she considers the words spoken. "So you believe it really was her hands she tossed fire from, and not something she had rigged up to look like she was conjuring fire from her own body?" Jane doesn't herself appear surprised to hear about such a thing, or that anyone would believe it. "I was trying to get into position, to see if I could make some kind of diversion for the other folks facing off with her. But before I could it was all over." Her hands take the cup and hold it carefully as she blows across the surface to begin cooling it a bit.

"Yes," Elena says, shaking her head. She looks at Jane. "I know it sounds crazy, but she burned me while she was touching me. On the small of my back. Her hand around my throat burned too. If it was a mechanism rigged to her body, both hands would be the same temperature, I think, if the heat source remains constant. But she was able to keep the grip on my throat without burning my neck, while her other hand seared another part of my body hotly enough to burn through a few layers of skin." She laughs. "You don't look even -remotely- skeptical though, even if it's a crazy story. Thank you though, for trying to help." Her expression tightens up a bit, but she turns away before it can go full bore as she cleans the other side of the counter. "Besides. The people handling the situation were professionals." How would she know that? There was one guy in a suit, but the others who tagteamed Kellie all looked like normal civilians.

Curiosity settles in, it shows on her face as she listens to the tale. Jane debates inwardly how much to share about herself with the barrista. "I met one of the people facing her recently. He said his name was Marx. That one looked to me like he had sparks coming from his fingers. And I've seen… quite a few odd abilities since I came to New York. I've also heard of… professionals who are associated with that type of phenomenon. I think the people in the park were some of them."

"Marx? Alexander Marx?" Elena looks over at Jane, and she smiles. "He's a friend of mine—well. My father's, really. But I'd like to think of him as a friend as well. He's assisted us on several matters. I've never really met a state prosecutor who has his level of altruism….he's a good guy." And then, she furrows her brows. "…sparks from his fingers…?" Her mind instantly flashes back to the moment where lightning struck a light post when Xander was walking with her to one of her classes, and she shakes her head. She doesn't seem to know this of Xander, and her father didn't exactly tell her about it. But when Jane talks about them, the professionals, she pauses. "…they were," Elena ventures hesitantly. "Associated with the phenomenon. But…" She gives Jane a curious glance. "…how would you know?"

"That's him," she confirms. Her cup is lifted and carefully sipped from, then lowered. "I've heard of the professionals. Some people I know have had encounters with them. I can't say they're entirely bad, but… given that they exist, any person capable of such a phenomenon would be smart if very careful who she admitted it to, or let see such a thing happening." Seeking to briefly make eye contact then, she takes that moment to inwardly assess the barista's reaction.

"…I understand." She feels like she's speaking in code, Elena's mind drifting to all the spy movies she enjoyed growing up. She folds her arms on the counter, glancing out towards the door. Thankfully, the Starbucks was empty save for herself and the young, pretty lawyer. "We've been warned to do our best to keep quiet by….I guess you can say an insider." She doesn't identify the Haitian, that information she's keeping to herself - she had questions about where his loyalty really lies, but considering he, too, has been trying to help her family, she had to protect information about him, what little she knows, as much as she can. "Of this…group of professionals. Have they tried to…?" She gestures vaguely, looking at Jane, and hoping she knows what she means. Grab her. Talk to her. Anything.

"Not me," Jane states simply. "If they tried," she remarks, "I might just scream. Some of my info comes from a source familiar with their operations, she runs a foundation she says is there to help the 'children of the future. She's told me it isn't just the Company to be careful of…" Silence comes again, the woman taking her time to consider what she says and get it right, "there may be a serial killer targeting people of unusual talents." Her thoughts on that subject are shown in her eyes, the fear can be seen there easily, perhaps the most direct admission yet she's one of those persons.

"….wait, you mean there's another one?" Elena says, her eyes widening just a touch. Which foundation? And why does the tagline sound familiar? Then again she's lived in New York all her life and applied to numerous scholarship funds….but the Johansson Foundation is too obscure a reference for her to click in right away. And when she mentions a serial killer, the blood drains out of her face. Her heart feels like it could stop. Was it…could it be…? Was that why…? She shakes her head out of her funk, and turns around so she can put the milk back in the fridge. She's quiet after a while, forcing the logical part of her mind to jump back to the fore. Need facts first, THEN conclusions. "….is that really true?" she asks. "How does ….he kill them?"

Jane takes a moment to glance behind her and make sure they're still alone before answering the barista behind the counter. "From what I'm told he possibly examines the brains of his victims, because their skulls are opened." The thought of how it's done causes her disquiet, and it wouldn't be a stretch to conclude the level of fear her eyes show in discussing the subject is a hallmark of being among the target pool. "I prefer not to think about the exact mechanics," she offers solemnly.

"…." Okay, this isn't the serial killer that's been haunting her family. Part of her is relieved, but most of her is -horrified-. The man -breaks open people's heads- to take their abilities? Elena is staring at Jane, still a little gray-looking, but less so than earlier when she thought Jane was talking about her mother's murderer. The fact however that there was one killing to…-absorb- other people's special talents is disturbing. "…thank you for letting me know. I know….a few. Special ones. I ought to warn them." So it wasn't just the Company that was after people like her father? At least all the Company does is kidnap them and later return them and memory wipe them! "Does…your source know who this guy is?" she asks.

It's been a good several days since Xander has been at the Starbucks. Not that he didn't want to, but mainly because he has been -very- busy. He IS a trial lawyer after all, and he has quite a bit of lawyering to do. But he -has- been meaning to visit for a specific reason, that reason being the daughter of one of the victims in a case he's working on, that has become quite official serial murderer case.

So the lawyer opens the door into the coffee scented shelter that is Starbucks, and looks about and spots Elena behind the counter speaking to a customer, and allows himself a smile, as he takes a moment to set his coat and briefcase down at a table, and says, "Well, it appears that New York hasn't swallowed up my favorite barrista in existance. Good Afternoon Elena." Not yet recognising the back of Jane's head as he approaches the counter.

She seems about to speak again when the door opens and Xander enters. At the counter where she's been conversing with Elena, Jane is today in a navy blue suit with skirt and businesslike heels. Her hair is accordingly pinned up off her jacket collar. At the sound of his arrival and the greeting he speaks, she turns to look behind and spot the man, cutting off her reply. A neutral expression of recognition comes across her face, mixing with the fear whatever they might've been discussing has raised, and she nods once. "Doctor Marx." And her attention goes back to the barista. "Sylar," she whispers, for only Elena to hear. "Gabriel Gray."

"Thank you," Elena whispers back. She closes her eyes to school her features into something more pleasant, and when she looks up, she's smiling prettily at Jane. "Would you like a refill, Miss Forrest? It's on the house." She looks over at Alexander, and grins at him. "It depends," she says cheerfully. "Is my favorite DA in existence needing his morning joe today? What'll it be?" She gives Xander an apologetic look. "I'm sorry I haven't been around - Papa thought it would be good for us to take a little bit of a vacation, but we're back and it's business as usual. How have you been?"

Xander blinks when Jane turns around and greets him, and narrows his eyes as he looks upon her for a moment, mainly because the woman was more inquisitive about him than he had liked, last time he had scene her. "Doctor Forrest…" Saying nothing more than that, as he glances back to Elena, and puts on a pleasant face again, grinning as he tells, "Mocha Frappacino if you please, and allow me to remind you quickly that there's a distinction between the District Attorney and his underlings. The DA gets paid more." He grins, and then listens to Elena's apology, before shrugging, "No need to worry, so long as you've been keeping yourselves out of sight and out of mind of certain entities… I myself have been rather busy. I blame your father, since he put me to this case, but in a positive light, the police have actually gotten somewhere. We've found the person who forged that necklace, though I've come to believe that he's been out of business for a while…"

"I like to use the title doctor, actually," Jane states. "I know it's unusual for a lawyer to say that, but that is what the degree was called. Juris Doctor. Although, for you, Jane will do. And I'd love a refill. Thank you kindly." She sets her cup down on the counter and studies the machinery behind it. A smile is flashed as she too adjusts her features into something which conceals what they'd been talking over and her emotions associated with it all. Her eyes settle on the prosecutor for a moment, and when a case is discussed she drifts into silence, not wanting to interrupt.

"Well then, consider my mistake as someone who's wishing well for you to get there eventually, Xander," Elena says with a grin. "We could all use a higher paygrade I think, considering the way the economy is going." She picks up a pot of coffee, flavors it accordingly, and refills Jane's cup. "Oh I apologize…." She laughs. "It is a little unusual to call a lawyer a doctor. I've never heard it put it that way before. I don't know much about lawyering, all I know is that the JD means they get to tack 'Esquire' at the end of their names. A pre-law friend of mine is dreaming about that moment." She then sets to work on Xander's coffee. And then she pauses, her eyes widen as she looks at Xander— almost forgetting his coffee. And then, she steams another fresh batch of milk for Xander's frappe, trying to collect her thoughts. "….so there's a lead?" she asks hopefully. "An actual lead? Does my father know?"

Xander takes a breath as he takes this time to let Elena down easy, "I told your father about it before your little vacation… Unfortunately our intended suspect was found dead, corpse rotting in the… Closet…" At which point he just shudders, just thinking about it. "However, we're investigating another lead, it has yet to get us anywhere though, and the crime scene unit is stil at work even today, so no chance of prints for a while…"

"Attorney, attorney at law, esquire, they're much more common," Jane admits when spoken to, chuckling. "But I'm not like most, I mean, hey, how many attorneys play guitar on the streets sometimes to gauge their potential in the music business? There was an article in the ABA Journal last November titled 'Lawyers are Doctors too, and an informal opinion dating back to 1970. And I thought why not? People who earn doctorates in any other field claim the title." Her hands lift the cup, she blows on it slowly to reduce the temperature.

"I understand…but….people believe us now, right? That Mama didn't— do what she did," Elena says hopefully. Unconsciously, the grip on the pot of coffee she is holding tightens. Finally, vindication! If they see this through, they could put her ghost to rest. She exhales a breath. It relieves her. The urge to stomp back to the Catholic priest who denied her mother's burial and -shove- Xander's opinion right on his face was nigh-near overwhelming…but the brief flash of temper tapers into something more pleasant. She fills Xander's cup, and as an addition, she also includes with it a small plate, with a fresh slice of banana loaf. "I wish you the best of luck, I hope you continue to find something. Who did they end up assigning the case to in the PD?"

To Jane's remark, she laughs. "Conceded," she tells the female lawyer with a grin, and also sets a plate with a small breakfast token on top of it. It was the least she could do - she hopes Jane likes banana loaf anyway. If not, she'll get something else. "How's the job hunting going?" she asks conversationally.

Xander sighs a little, before replying, "I wish it were that easy. We only know that someone forged the necklaces and that man is dead. We can only assume he sold them to our man, at least before he was murdered himself. He may have been killed by our suspect, or may not have, but whoever it was ordered a number of these necklaces from him, and may still have more of them. And even after we get this guy, I still have to prove his guilt… So, I'm sorry that I couldn't better help out than that…" He then takes a moment to pull a pen out of his pocket and grabs a napkin, before writing a number down, and a name, then handing it to Elena, "That's the number of Detective Kaydence Demaris. She's in charge of the investigation on the police side of things, and is at least willing to look into it, thankfully." He then tugs out his wallet pulls out a few dollars to cover the banana loaf as well, since he didn't ask for it, but appreciates the attempt at giving him a freebie.

"Oooh," she responds, "food. Thanks. I almost forgot to eat this morning." Jane takes the plate and carefully starts upon it, eating in a fashion which suggests being raised in some form of society. "I think the hunt will go well, after all how can ASCAP and BMI turn down a musical lawyer? I fit their clients perfectly, since if all goes well I'll eventually be one of them. They're the only places I've set out to look, truthfully." Her reply is directed to both of them. Her cup is then lifted and is tasted carefully, then with slightly less care when she finds the liquid just cool enough to not burn her mouth.

"Keep it, Xander, really," Elena says - he was after all helping her and her father, using ample amounts of his already choked-up schedule to do it. The least she can do is feed him. But at what he says, she nods. "But still, people can't deny that it's a little strange. Again though…I appreciate your help with all this. This could've been a cold case still if it wasn't for your efforts." She takes the napkin, looks at the number, and programs it quietly on her phone. The phone is a cherry-red in color, with a cartoon ninja on the LCD display. "I hope the fingerprinting comes up with something," she tells Xander.

To Jane, she grins. "The best time to get this stuff is in the early morning - it starts getting stale by mid-morning, so they're fresh right now. Besides, lawyers need brain food. Carbs jumpstart the thinking machine." She taps her fingertip a little bit on the head.

Xander smiles and replies, "So do I, Elena. Hopefully it'll get us somewhere." With that, he takes the frappe and the banana loaf slice to his table, and, "Remind me to talk to your father later, Elena." Before sitting down and biting down on his slice, before opening up his briefcase to pull out his files.

After a few bites, chewed silently with her mouth closed and thoroughly before swallowing and speaking, Jane enthuses "Carbs are essential. So many people who don't need to obsess about their weight, especially women. This is really good. I should try to find a recipe for it,…" her voice trails off as she realizes the barista didn't give her name. Sure, she heard it spoken, but it wasn't given to her, so she avoids using it. Her fingers dip into a pocket and pull out a pen as she looks for a piece of paper and settles upon a napkin. Her address, apartment 108 in the high rise building at Greenwich Village is written down along with two phone numbers, home and cell and offered to the barista.

"I will, Xander. I actually think the first thing in the morning is the best time to approach me at work, regardless," she says - but for Jane's benefit as well, in case she wants to stop by again to talk. "It's quiet, the food is fresh. You can see the sunrise over the city. It's great. I'm here around this time at five-thirty in the morning or so." Ouch. Early riser. She looks over to Jane when she hands her a napkin - and her information. She looks at it, and looks surprised. "Oh I'm sorry," she says with a laugh, pocketing it carefully. She smiles at Jane warmly and sticks her hand out. "I got caught up," she says sheepishly. "My name is Elena. Elena Gomez." After the handshake if Jane decides to give her one, she'll rip off a piece of notebook paper from her pile of school things on the side, and writes down her cellphone number on it. She passes this, folded, to the female lawyer.

One hand accepts and pockets the info from Elena, the other accepts and returns the handshake, then releases it. Her grip is a bit stronger than what many women might have, the skin is soft indicating Jane takes care of it well, but the fingertips might be felt to have signs of calluses in the contact. "Thanks, Elena." And it's back to enjoying vanilla mocha cappucino and banana loaf.

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