Chance Encounters

Cast: date: '21 August 2012'
place: 'Hyde Park'
participants: 'Edith, Jack and Mattie'
synopsis: 'Mattie and Jack conspire with their supervisor on the subject on Teresa Murdoch.'
log: "The dog days of summer in London are chilly and windy. It's cold enough for the thin form of Mattie Dahl to have buttoned her trench coat as she strides across the green lawn toward the rendezvous point. Her hair is pulled back off her face into a loose knot, but long strands of the red hair whip around when the wind catches it. Her eyes are shielded by dust and wind by a pair of very dark sunglasses, which also help her avoid making eye contact with Jack; she hasn't been much of a conversationalist since they met at the closest tube station to make their way through Hyde Park together. \n\n\"Wonder if she's going to call,\" the American says suddenly after a few moments of monosyllabic replies to Jack's attempts at conversation. \"Teresa, I mean.\" Not Edith.\n\n\"No idea, darlin'.\" It's going to stick now, perhaps simply because it annoys Mattie but also likely that it's just force of habit for the cockney. Jack's got his hood up, pulled down low at the front to leave his face shadowed; this in turn makes his eyes a little more odd when people are close enough to see them. The black hoodie is further covered by a dark pea-coat. \"She seemed a bit crazy, like. Guess that's natural in a way, but.\" Lips purse this way and that, before accepting the cigarette that his companion's sullen silence has forced him to smoke.\n\n\"Be right curious to know what she was on about, bein' threatened. Maybe she ha a run in with some other undesirable geezers.\" A shoulder lifts in a shrug.\n\nThe woman that Mattie and Jack have traveled to the park to meet sits on the end of a bench overlooking a pond with a texture like wavy black glass, her legs crossed at the knee and one arm folded across her middle. The other she holds aloft, a crust of bread pinched between the tips of her fingers for the hooded crow perched on the back of the bench just to the left of her shoulder. \n\nLots of people come out here to feed the birds; Edith is no exception. An empty bag with traces of crumbs trapped in the seams sits in her lap. Pigeons squabble on the pavement over what's left of the afternoon's offerings while sparrows crowd around and wait in the wings for an opportunity to dart in and steal away with something too small for the larger birds to care much about.\n\n\"I don't know. Maybe the Watch in her area was a bit more militant or something,\" Mattie says thoughtfully. She pushes her sunglasses up onto her head as she sees Edith, lifting her hand in greeting as she moves that way. \"Or maybe it was someone pretending to be the Watch, which is even more disturbing.\" \n\nThey get close enough to Edith to speak to the other woman. \"Afternoon,\" the American says, an uncertain smile for Edith. She slips her hands into her pockets as she comes to a stop in front of the bench. There's a little in her posture of a student before a teacher, waiting for reprimand, perhaps.\n\n\"Where was that?\" Mattie's spotted Edith and Jack trails along after her. \"Guess it might be worth lookin' into, one way or another.\" The woman's reaction clearly hasn't inspired the man to be terribly enthusiastic. So long as she doesn't set anyone on fire. That would be call for more enthusiasm, of a different kind. Now they've spotted the supervisor, the man's words are quieter; those last little fragments before coming to a halt and offering up a faint smile. \"Wotcha.\"\n\nThe crow chokes down the crust, head tossed back, and ruffles its feathers with an indignant croak as Edith flicks the crumbs from her fingers and uses the back of her hand to brush off any that might have fallen onto her sweater. No reprimand - at least not from their supervisor. \n\nA smile ghosts across her mouth at the subtle shift in Mattie's posture, though it doesn't reach her eyes. Edith's smiles rarely do. \"Dahl,\" she greets the pair in a thin voice. \"Mitchell.\"\n\nThe redhead doesn't relax at the smile. It's known Mattie takes her missions very seriously, and anything she sees as a failure, she takes hard. She's her own worst critic. \n\n\"I'm sure you read the report,\" she begins. No reason to explain everything the woman already knows. \"I'm not sure I handled it the best way.\" Some people are ready for the truth; some aren't. \"What I didn't put is what is bothering me, though. She said that she'd been threatened before, sort of insinuating that it was the Watch. Do you know anything about them in that area? Would they be that forceful? Because if it wasn't them…\" \n\nA shiver runs through her, visibly, and she pulls her hands out of her pockets to cross her arms, as if to defend against the threat. \"I don't like it.\"\n\n\"Awright there, Miss Sunshine?\" Jack asks, sucking the last from his fag and flicking it off to the sie before stuffing hands into pockets as fists. Even with the fingerless gloves, it's still a bit nippy. He quiets to let Mattie speak, watching her sidelong with a slightly narrowe gaze, noting how wordy she gets when it's all business as opposed to the caveman-esque replies to the all Jack.\n\n\"Reackon you did fine.\" he adds, supportive in the face of authority. \"Where were she, before comin' 'ere?\" This question now towards Eidith an accompanie by a querilous brow raise.\n\n\"No,\" Edith agrees with Mattie's assessment, \"neither do I, but I'm afraid anything that occurs on American soil is outside my jurisdiction. The most I can do is put in a request for an internal investigation, and assuming that my counterpart in Boston decides to humour me, which isn't very likely, mind— there's no guarantee we'll be on the receiving end of any answers that such an investigation might turn up. \n\n\"I am sorry.\" To Jack, she says: \"Augusta, Maine. Only a few hundred souls shy of twenty-thousand people, third-smallest state capital in the country - it's about what you'd expect for a city of that size. We do get reports of activity there from time to time.\"\n\nMattie nods, looking a little relieved at Edith's answer, and a smile of thanks at Jack's support as well. \"They could do better than scaring people into dangerous situations. I guess I should count myself luck that I lived somewhere with a bigger population and better odds of not having complete social idiots handling the situation, huh?\" It was luck, really, in her case. \n\nShe relaxes that defensive posture a bit, hands going back into her pockets. \"I gave her my contact number. I hope the fact we didn't press her wins us some points. I was thinking of staging another encounter, make it look like she's run into us at something in more neutral territory where she can approach us, maybe. Hopefully she'll stay cool 'til then.\" Literally.\n\nA slow nod, considering that. Jack's not been outside London much at all so the concept of such a tiny place is a bit of a headscratcher. \"Blimey.\" he mutters to himself, shaking his head. He thinks better about making a disparaging comment about American approaches to things, given the company.\n\n\"She keeps bleedin' fire extinguishers everywhere, so clearly she's worried 'bout what'll happen. Figure it's potentially a problem, since that sort'f thing'll attract attention. But.\" He leaves unsaid the part where this is a problem that will also maybe sort itself out and clean up its own mess. With fire.\n\n\"I keep sayin' we need them helpful brochures. 'So you've been touched in a bad place by evil?'. That an' company cars. An' warm, heated meeting spaces.\"\n\nThe short breath of laughter that escapes from Edith fogs the air. \"Listen,\" she says, \"it isn't a matter of if Murdoch causes another incident, but rather when, and I'd much prefer she burn down that shop than Kings College. Before the fall semester gets much further underway, you might consider enrolling in one of her courses.\"\n\nEnrolling in her courses. Mattie's eyes widen and she looks at Jack, then back to Edith. \n\n\"College?\" she says, as if she hadn't heard right. \"I'm pretty good at playing whatever role works but I don't have more than a GED back home.\" The American takes a second before realizing the term might not be known here in London. \"General equivalency diploma. It's like a 'I didn't finish high school but I'm smart enough to pass this stupid test' paper. Birdcage liner, you know?\" \n\nWith all that said, Mattie studies the grass for a moment, adding, \"I can do it if I need to.\"\n\nYeah, that right there? That's skepticism. The brow is back up, and Jack's about to say something when Edith begins talking. Clearly they're both on similar pages when it comes to ejumacation. \"What's she teaching, then?\" he asks, carefully.\n\n\"I ain't never done no High School.\" Nevermind not finishing, the mechanic didn't even make it through the front door. \"Figure unless it's on how to fix a car, then I'm goin' t'be right out of my depth on that one.\" His nose wrinkles as he looks to Mattie again, considering things. \"Ain't going to be like that movie, is it? Where we got to pretend to be students an' go undercover?\" Back to Eidith. \"This one may be still young an' pretty, but I ain't likely to pass for 18.\"\n\n\"I'll find a workaround,\" Edith promises Mattie, \"and have Finance make room for the tuition in our budget. Try to choose a subject you'll like?\" sounds more like a suggestion than a request, but the way her voice lifts up toward the end of her sentence makes things murky. \n\nShe arches both her brows at Jack and studies his face beneath the dark veil of her lashes. \"Your age shouldn't be an obstacle,\" she says, \"but I doubt Murdoch is stupid enough to believe it's a coincidence that you're all going to the same school and interested in the same subject. You speak with her parents. Try to find out how much they know about their daughter's condition.\"\n\nThere's an actual smirk this time at Jack's words from Mattie. \"21 Jump Street?\" she supplies. Either that or he means Never Been Kissed, but he doesn't look like a chick-flick lover. \n\n\"All right,\" she tells Edith, though there's still that look of trepidation at the prospect of trying to fit in on a college campus. \"Hopefully she'll just call me and save me the torture.\" \n\nHer arms have managed to come out of her pockets to cross her chest again. \"Anything else you need, Edith?\"\n\n\"Right you are then.\" Jack nods. Parents. School. \"D'we get an allowance for books too?\" he asks with a small smirk, clearly jesting here. \"Because I ain't so keen on bein' lumbered with no student loan. Them yuppie kids all complain about how expensive it is, while drivin' their beamers to campus.\"\n\nA glance toward Mattie and a little 'maybe' shrug, \"Sounds 'bout right.\" He rubs at the side of his nose with his thumb, \"I also ain't joining no rowing team. I'll tell you that right off the bat.\" Indignant Jack pushes hands further into his pockets, stretching out the coat as he hunches up his shoulders against the chill. Joking aside, he does seem to be paying attention to any further instructions.\n\n\"No?\" asks Edith. \"What about lacrosse?\" \n\nIt must be a joke because she doesn't give Jack the opportunity to respond. \"Contact Lynch if you run into any trouble,\" she says. \"He enjoys feeling useful.\"\n\nThere's a snort at Edith's deadpan comment back before Mattie nods. \"Got it, boss,\" she says, her hands sliding back into her pockets, and turning to go. \"Have a good day,\" she adds over her shoulder to Edith, assuming the woman won't want to walk back to the Underground with them. \n\n\"I think you're more of a rugby sort, if anything,\" she tells Jack.\n\n\"La-whatnow?\" A hand comes out so Jack can offer the laziest of salutes, more at ease with the rugby suggestion, at least. \"Cheers. Take it easy, yeah?\" Time for another smoke, turning on his heel and stopping to cup hands around the flame and absorb some of the warmth in the process, \"Shame we don't have no cheerleaders.\" he mutters quietly, giving Mattie a smirk as he starts moving toward the park exit."
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