2007-06-22: Unexpected Company


Max_icon.gif Nova_icon.gif

Summary: …is unexpected. Max makes a new friend through some old friends.

Date It Happened: 22nd of June, 2007

Unexpected Company

Lower East Side, NYC - Della Rosa

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

The label on the side of the Percocet bottle says to take one every four to six hours. It's been a little less than three.

Max pops the lid off of the bottle and shakes two squat, white tablets directly into his mouth. He grimaces and chews the painkillers thoroughly, then washes them down with a double scotch. Soon. Relief will come soon.

Max sighs and drags his fingers through his short, dirty blond beard. On a Saturday night any bar is crowded. The only perch he was able to find is at a table not far from the bar, and he isn't about to give it up. He's wearing a long sleeved grey shirt, crisp, dark jeans, and a long, lightweight coat with heavy bulges in the pockets.

While many may drift through the doors in pairs or in groups, Nova makes her way inside alone. Her hair is tied back at the nape, efficient rather than stylish, her face only touched with minimal amounts of makeup. A bulky jean jacket obscures a black T-shirt, and navy track pants and running shoes considerably dresses down her appearance. Someone's not here to make friends, and indeed even meet any, as when she settles herself at the and orders a Canadian Club and coke that she barely touches, no one waltzes up to join her.

As long as she has her drink, Nova settles there, most seats taken up so instead, she stays standing and leaning against the bar. A blue-eyed glance is sent Max's way, while everyone else goes ignored, as she brings the lowball glass up to sip from.

Max happens to be looking down when Nova enters, so the first thing he sees is her feet. So he starts there and works his way up. And up.

When he finally gets to her face, he blinks owlishly and a slow smile spreads across his face. He lifts his glass and drains it down to the rocks, then sets it aside. He shifts in his seat to readjust himself and the scar at the corner of his mouth twitches visibly.

When he looks her way, gaze making it up to her face, Nova doesn't both looking away. Instead, she raises an eyebrow, waiting for him to finish off his drink, before she turns away to put forth another request to the bartender. By some stroke of luck, she orders a scotch on the rocks, and once it's been slid her way and money handed back over, she picks up this along with her still-mostly-full drink, and walks on over towards Max. It's not quite the suave slink other women manage to pull off - she just walks at her usual stomp, and sets down the scotch in the middle of Max's table. "'s what he said you were drinking," she says, accent definitely not American, let alone New York, and she tilts her head towards the barkeep to indicate the 'he'. "You weren't expecting company, were you?" She stays standing, allegedly to walk away should he say he was.

"Hardly," Max replies demurely. He inclines his head briefly by way of greeting, then gestures to the chair opposite his. "Please sit. Our similar size intrigues me." He's still smiling, but there's something sly about it now. Something smug. "My name's Max. What's yours?"

Nova smiles, somewhat sweeter than Max's - sort of a surprised and shy smile. She pulls out the chair, settles herself into it and takes a sip from her drink before setting it down on the table. Then, she extends a hand towards him and over their drinks. "Nova," she says by way of introduction, her accent now more clearly Australian. "Thanks for the spare seat, didn't count on spending the night standing around."

When Max takes Nova's hand he squeezes rather than shakes. His grip is strong. Not crushingly so, but offering treatment no different from what he'd give to any man. "My pleasure," he replies, his own voice a robust, merry tenor. "You just come from the gym?" he queries with raised eyebrows. Don't frequently see track pants in a bar on Saturday night, after all.

The squeeze to Max's hand matches the one she's given, hand withdrawing once the contact is over and arms folding onto the table surface just behind her glass. A small nod is given in confirmation, a flicker of a smile. "It's where I work," Nova says, apparently unconcerned with how she's dressed as she lifts one shoulder in a shrug. Now that she's seated here, introductions over with, her gaze on him is almost studious. She nudges her glass against his. "Not to be downed with a side of medication, by the way." Another eyebrow raise, though rather unassuming than accusing.

Max picks up the glass of scotch that Nova brought him by pinching the rim between finger and thumb. It's an almost dainty gesture, though he drinks deeply before setting it back down. "Mmmm," he agrees neutrally. "It's been a long night." He returns Nova's frank, appraising gaze with one of his one. His pale blue eyes sparkle merrily, and his mouthscar twitches once again. "And you? Do you usually buy strange, medicated men drinks after a long day at work?"

"Dunno, you're not that strange," Nova says with a brighter smile, though at one point, her otherwise unwavering gaze does dip down to evaluate that scar, whether out of interest or whether it just draws the eye. "Maybe I just wanted a place to sit down."

"Oh? There are other men at other tables. I think you picked me because I'm the prettiest." Max nods once, agreeing with his own statement. He seems vaguely amused, and his eyes are still locked on Nova's. When she glances down at his scar, he reaches up to run the tip of his thumb its welted surface. It's a subtle gesture, a wordless acknowledgement of a prominent feature.

That remark gets a neutral, though amused chuckle, a couple of subtle lines at her eyes deepening, before smoothing out again. "Or the most interesting," Nova says, then distracts away from this statement and takes a long sip of her drink, and then gestures with her glass. Ever blunt, the comment that goes along with this gesture is, "Quite the shaving accident."

"I fell down some stairs," Max deadpans. A moment later he grins, though, showing white, even teeth. "In truth, it's a long story. I'll bore you with the bloody details some other time." He shifts in his seat, sizing Nova up unabashedly. He even tilts his head from one side to the other. "I wonder who would win if we arm wrestled?"

Her jacket covers up a lot of her shape, but not enough so that his question isn't a good one, and Nova actually grins - a lot different to the somewhat out-of-place demure smiles and amused smirks, and more wolfish. Whether she recognises the diversion or not is unclear, but she goes with it. "Me," she says, frankly, though her gaze does glance down to size him up in turn. Maybe not. "Not that you wouldn't put up a good fight," she allows, bats her eyes once in a slightly ironic gesture, and finishes off her drink.

Max lets out a low, pleasant laugh. He likes that answer. He snaps his teeth, and for a moment the twinkle in his eye gives him a somewhat predatory cast. Then he lifts his scotch and likewise finishes it off. When he sets it down he's grinning even wider than before. "Put your money where your mouth is. Loser buys the next round."

Nova's gaze darts over his face, a quick assessment of kinds, before she nods once and rolls one denim sleeve back a bit. "Loser can pick the drinks, then," she says, before she sets an elbow down against the table surface and offers her hand. Said hand is, like the rest of her, large for a woman, and a little rough, nails trimmed but not at all manicured, fingers long but capable.

Max pushes back the loose sleeves of both his jacket and shirt to expose a well-muscled forearm of his own. The hand he holds out to grasp Nova's is rough, calloused, and stout. The hand of a metalworker. It obvious this isn't his first time he's put his elbow on the table at a bar. With his eyes locked on Nova's, he locks his thumb against hers and wraps his fingers around the back of her hand. When he's properly situated, he winks and murmurs, "I'm ready when you are."

Nova's other hand rests on her thigh, no cheating from her tonight, or indulging in 'girl rules' when it comes to arm wrestling. Her fingers stretch out once before gripping Max's hand firmly in return, palm flat against his. "On the count of now," she says, then applies pressure, arm immediately tensing to resist the strength of his hand and enforce her own. Certainly not her first rodeo, either. She keeps her eyes trained on his, even as her arm starts to bend back… then push up again until his starts angling towards the table.

Max's eyes slowly go wide with surprise. As Large as Nova is, he still expected to win this contest handily. His brow furrows as he exerts himself, though he's far too manly to grunt. Yet. Halfway through its descent toward the table his arm halts, but he's unable to regain any ground.

It's no easy feat, even if Nova does have the upperhand. When their hands pause temporarily, she, at least, does grunt, not ladylike enough not to. There's a slight twitch in her shoulder, and she puts a little more into it. Max's hand is forced down one more inch, then it's still again. "Son of a bitch," she mutters, though her smile widens.

A single bead of sweat forms at Max's brow, then slides down to the tip of his nose, where it dangles mournfully. "You're—pretty sexy when you're…" His breath is coming in shallow, exterted pants. A growl builds in the back of his throat, but it's a happy one rather than an angry one. "…kicking my ass." He finally finishes. The taunt costs him. Bent back beyond the point of return, the back of his hand touches the table. "Shit!"

His curse is punctuated by the sound of her now freed up hand slapping against the table surface in victory. "That's how it's done," Nova says with immense satisfaction, clearly quite pleased with her win, even as her other hand comes around to grip her upper arm, and she lets out a slightly breathless laugh. "Crikey dick." …/what/?

"And a crikey dick to you," Max replies quite seriously. He's massaging his arm too, and shaking out his wrist. As well as he can remember (he does have one of those lovely Haitian blind spots) he's never been beaten at arm wrestling by a woman. "Loser picks the drinks, right? I hope you like gin and tonic."

Stretching out her fingers once more to relieve the tension, Nova leans back into her chair and gestures to him, hand lifting to wipe a few stands of blonde back from her face. "I can live with it," she says. "Long as you don't get yourself something pansy."

Max blinks his eyes slowly. They're a little unfocused, and his mouth is suddenly dry and slack. "I don't feel—" he never finishes the sentence. Driven through his bloodstream by fast-beating heart (thanks for the arm-wrassle) the potent tranquilizers that Nova put into Max's scotch are beginning to take effect. He's tough, though. At first he's able to shrug it off. He sways in his his seat, then staggers to his feet and bolts for the door. His animal instincts are screaming at him to flee and hide until whatever it is that's wrong with him goes away.

The "are you alright?" falls on retreating ears, as Max is already well on his way before Nova can summon up that last piece of friendliness. When she stands and follows, she does so calmly, her pace brisk but collected.

Out on the pavement, it's pretty quiet, and those out there tonight might not think too much of a man staggering out of a bar - perhaps not even much of the tall woman walking out behind him, hand reaching out to grab the back of his coat and guide him towards a more shadowy alley way. Perhaps helping him puke in privacy. Her actions are more rough than soothing, however, a certain shove in that guidance.

"Wha… ?" Max's limbs aren't working at all how they are supposed to. They're heavy. Like he's swimming. Only he's not, he's being hustled over behind a dumpster by a Large woman who doesn't seem as pretty and boobielicious as she did a few minutes ago. By concentrating very hard, he's able to avoid tripping over his own feet. "It smells like feet and pee back here," he whines weakly. Most people would be unconcious by now, but a decade of eating painkillers like breathmints has left Max with a higher than average tolerance.

"Trust me," Nova says, in a distracted mutter as she glances over her shoulder, and gives him one final push into the dirty alleyway, while she stands between him and the entrance. "Least of your worries." A cellphone is taken out of her pocket, a button pressed, before the device is pressed to her ear. She keeps her eyes on him, however, looking a little frustrated, smile gone as if she'd never done so before in her life.

Max snuffles in a deep breath through his nose in a futile attempt to clear his head. This isn't right. Something's not right. "What are you doing?" His voice comes out thickly, as if he has a mouthful of porridge. "What did you do to me?" Down but not out, he narrows his dilated eyes and throws a heavy punch at Nova. What speed he once posessed has been stolen by the drugs. She doesn't even have to move the phone away from her face to avoid it.

Swiftly, she leans back to avoid the blow, dances to the side to avoid the second attempt. His questions go unaddressed as whomever is on the other end of the line picks up quickly. "Got Swan in the alley, left side," she says. "Tranqs are taking effect, so move it." Phone is shut. Apparently, back up knows where to go already. She takes the time to slip her phone back into her pocket, and despite the handgun hidden beneath her bulky jacket, she doesn't go for it, not even to threaten. Instead, she grips his arm as if to steady him, but releases it as soon as she executes a swift punch to his stomach, not about to bruise her hand on his face. "Down, boy."

Max crumples and sags over the strike, Nova's grip on his arm the only thing keeping him upright for a moment. When he can breathe again he lashes out with one open palm, striking her in the hollow just above the breastbone and driving her back several feet. He reaches both hands out toward the dumpster, fingers hooked to claws as he exerts himself for his final gambit. The rusty hulk of metal clatters and shimmies obliging as he attempts to lift it. He falls to his knees, sweating profusely and gasping his breath as he clenches his hands tighter. It's a fruitless effort. His arms drop to his sides, his eyes roll back in his head, and he keels over. Unconcious, he coughs weakly and vomits against the pavement.

Knocked back but not over, Nova's hand disappears inside her jacket as soon as the dumpster starts to creak and shift, handgun nudged out of its holster, but her caution goes unneeded when it stills, and Max collapses. She releases the gun, jacket now open, and steps closer to Max's crumpled form. She crouches, inspecting him for a moment. No sign of siezures, no choking. That's fine by her, and she doesn't touch him, though she doesn't move away either, almost possessive over her victory.

And when the obligatory black van pulls up at the entrance of the alley way, and others come out to help her lift Max's lax body into the back, she goes with them, and pulls the doors shut with one last smirk of satisfaction. There had better be a promotion in this.

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