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calming_effect in wetheinvincible

NYC: Manhattan diner

Tap, tap, tap.

Under the din of the diner noises, Pete's tapping pen may go unheard. It taps in a repeat, automatic rhythm against the notepad as Pete stares ahead blankly.

Tap, tap, tap.

A cup of coffee grows cold on the table.

Tap, tap.

He's placed his order, but doesn't know what he asked for.

Tap, tap, tap.

He'll find out soon.

Comments

Someone sits in the chair opposite. Someone he might remember, though that someone is no longer smelly or drunk or wobbling around on the streets. He's well-dressed, clean-shaven and even if his hair is a little wild, he looks in possession of his faculties.

He smiles.

"Fancy meeting you here."
That pen doesn't stop tapping. And Pete doesn't respond. Not to be rude or anything; maybe he didn't hear Nick.
He's rather used to being ignored, really. You don't spend your life on the stage without learning to deal with the people who couldn't care less about what you're doing even though they paid to be there. That said, he doesn't particularly like being ignored. Very irritating.

"I don't suppose you remember me, then?"
Peter makes a very "hmmm" sound. The pen doesn't stop tapping.

Over in the kitchen, the waitress begins to walk out with Peter's dinner.
Nick raises an eyebrow.

"Someone's hungry."
Or someone is doing automatic behavior. Either/or. The waitress now appears with a juicy t-bone steak dinner. For the record, Pete is a vegitarian.

And when he finally snaps out of it a second later, the pen stops tapping, Pete's eyes go wide and he spits out, "What the fuck?"
"Generally not this early in the evening, but I'm not opposed to the idea," he observes brightly. "Evening."
Pete turns around with the same shocked expression, which quickly subsides into, shall we say, -_-

"Hi."
He blinks before spreading his hands in surrender.

"Hey, I didn't eat your dinner, man. I just stopped by to say hello since I saw you in here and to thank you for helping me out. Don't bite my head off."
He sighs and looks away. "Sorry, I just...actually..." He places a hand on the plate and pushes it near the edge of his table. "Do you want this? I don't eat meat."
He blinks and looks at it.

"Oh, hey, that looks good. Seriously?"

He doesn't wait for the answer before tugging it over and starting in.

"Want me to see if I can get someone over here to get you something you can eat?"
"Um, yeah, actually. That would be nice." A small grin.
He nods and then looks up.

"HEY! CAN I GET A WAITER OVER HERE?"

He projects.

Someone, one of the wait staff, skitter over, looking somewhat annoyed and somewhat nervous. His manner softens and he gives the girl a smile.

"Hi, sorry for yelling, I don't want to be any trouble. You, uh, think you could get my friend here something to eat? He's a vegetarian and someone served him this," and he points to the steak, "and hey, I made out since I came in late, but he's still hungry."

The waitress nods before looking at Pete for his order.
The benefits of being a telepath are what keeps Pete from picking himself off the floor due to the shock caused by Nick's yelling. Quietly, he orders a bowl of vegitable soup.
She nods and heads off to get the soup.

"Thank you," he adds as she leaves. Then he turns to look at Pete.

"What's wrong with you? You look almost as bad as I did the other day."
"Narcolepsy," he says glumly.
Blink.

"Just... came upon you one day, or something in particular bothering you now?"
"...why, yes, one day I woke up and realized I'd rather be asleep."

Mmm, sarcasm.
He gives the bridge of his nose a flat look.

"Well, people tend not to get grumpy about things unless they're immediate. Or are you always grumpy.
...there's so, so much Pete can say to that. An autobiography of woe, to be honest, but a diner's not a good place for that. And Pete doesn't feel like talking about it.

"Well, I was diagnosed three years ago and it's still annoying."
Nick nods.

"I didn't think it would cease to be irritating once you figured out what it was, but... I dunno. You just seemed annoyed at something. Whatever."

And the waitress returns with his soup, putting it in front of him with a nervous look at Nick. Nick gives her another smile.

"Thanks, miss. And like I said, sorry about shouting. He's just not feeling too well, you know, November..."
Pete only responds with a "Hmm."

Nick's not far off the mark: he is always grumpy. He wasn't always this way.
He quirks his lips.

"All right, sunshine," he says after a minute. Then he digs into the steak.

"I'll get the meal, all right? Since I intruded and all."
"You really don't have to do that."
He holds out a hand.

"Hey. I'm not street pizza. And I want to, okay? Despite all appearances last time, I'm not a penniless drunk. And despite the grumpypants, you deserve it since you seem to be having a crummy day. Don't worry about it."
I'm ALWAYS having a crummy day, thanks for asking.

Luckily there aren't any other telepaths in the room.

"I wasn't implying that you were 'street pizza.'"
Eyeroll.

"That was a thank you for making sure I wasn't?" he ventures. "You know, with me and the wobbling and the falling over and the swerving into the streets?"
"Yeah I know."

Some of the hostility deflates from his speech and his posture.
He shrugs and starts in on the steak.

"It won't," he says, chewing the first piece,"--oh, this is good--it won't make you upset to eat this in front of you, right?"
He shakes his head.

Now, had he ordered the fried fish meal, he would have sang a different tune. Pete's a little sensitive on the fish subject.
Nick didn't order anything, of course. He just got lucky.

"Just checking. I have a friend who can't stand to watch people at it." He shakes his head. "I usually end up doing the grilled vegetables around her."`
Doubly lucky, as Pete's reaction would be far worse if he had realized it was himself who ordered the fish.

A shrug. "I mean, it's your diet. I'm not one of those vegetarians who proselytize other people. It'd be great if everyone went veggie but...you know that old saying, you'll win more flies with honey than vinegar? People would be a lot more willing to go veggie if people didn't freak out on them like that."
Los Angeles: The Beach

December 2006

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