Pocket Watch

Cast: date: '27 August 2012'
place: 'East End'
participants: 'Gideon, Imogen, Mattie'
synopsis: 'A very early morning meeting in the coffee shop leads to an interesting wager. '
log: "It's reached those small hours when it's unclear whether 'good night' or 'good morning' is the more correct greeting, and the majority of shops and eateries have long closed their doors and ended their business days. Thank goodness for places like this one that stay up and running around the clock. Illuminated by yellow, florescent lights that flicker and twitch from time to time, the little coffee shop is a collection of worn out stools bolted in front of a long bar, and a few narrow booths set along the opposite side, most with splits and tears in their plastic than reveal the faded, crumbling inner foam.\n\nAt the bar, one of the stools is occupied by a slender, blond man in a pair of jeans, a white t-shirt and a leather jacket. There's a mug beside him, though it's empty, the bottom brown with the dregs of a finished cuppa. He's got a collection of little, plastic, individual creamer tubs and is carefully balancing one on top of the other to build a slowly-growing and increasingly precarious tower.\n\nSleep would probably be a good idea about this time, especially considering how worn out Imogen looks as she pushes open the door. Even holding it open for her friend, she slouches against the edge, gaze turned to scan over the open seats. In all likelihood, it's the tower that gets her attention fixed in Gideon's direction, and she nods in that direction.\n\nYou know, in case Mattie missed the construction on the bar.\n\n\"My money's on three more before the whole thing tumbles,\" she says, not in a discreet whisper, but a conversational tone that carries a little too well at this time of night.\n\nThe redhead raises a brow to peer in the direction Imogen's looking to figure out what the Brit is suddenly talking about. \"He might get four if he's got good hands,\" Mattie says casually, her words colored by an American accent. \n\n\"Oh, hey, it's Parish.\" The field operative's *seen* the guy a few times, but never really worked with him before. Instead of the usual booth they take when their insomnia syncs up (which is often enough), she steers her friend to the counter to slip into the stools near Gideon, giving him one empty between them for a bit of personal space. She reaches for one of the upside-down coffee mugs to indicate she does in fact want to imbibe some caffeine, and gives Gideon a nod of recognition.\n\nThe man at the bar smiles faintly as Imogen and then Mattie speaks, though he keeps his attention on the pointless thing he's busy building. \"I can go five more,\" he assures the two women as he carefully adds one more creamer to the tower's top. His own tones are British as they come, with a local London inflection for those who can make regional distinctions. \"Hello, Dahl,\" he greets Mattie as he's identified. \"Can't sleep?\"\n\nBeing in the less… outgoing parts of the Watch, Imogen can only look curiously over in the man's direction. She comes to take up a stool on one side of him, eyeing the tower a little more. \"Five. I'll believe it when I see it.\" When she looks his way, it's with one eyebrow lifted. \"Imogen,\" she offers, although it comes without a handshake.\n\nShe orders a plain, black coffee as she leans against the bar, her elbow propping up her chin.\n\nThe waitress is given a nod of thanks as she fills their coffee cups, then Mattie shrugs in a noncommittal way that means the words are probably true — rather than some other explanation like they just got off duty. Insomnia is more common than not for the Touched. \n\n The creamer bowl is reached for and she fishes out two French Vanillas to pour into the coffee. \"Been a while since I've seen you about. Anything new?\" she asks while picking up a spoon and stirring the coffee, eyes down to watch the white and brown liquids swirl together.\n\n\"Gideon,\" he so named returns as Imogen introduces herself. His smile grows a little and he darts his gaze away from his tower to look briefly at the woman who gave him her name. \"Care to make it a wager?\" His long fingers select another creamer, gently setting it on the top of the others, which sway, just a bit, with this new addition. He's quiet a little longer as he considers Mattie's question. \"Depends on what sense you mean 'new'. There's always something to keep a body busy, but I'm not sure…\" he falls quiet as he carefully lifts another creamer and adds it to his tower which lists more visibly this time, \"…I've been busy with anything that would call for you or your associates' attentions.\"\n\n\"You mean something along the lines of… if you make it to five, coffee's my treat?\" Imogen doesn't smile, exactly, but there's a slight hint that a smile might be possible as she talks. \"Is it cheating if I just knock it down?\"\n\nShe looks past him to Mattie as he answers the questions, and she lets out an amused huff. \"In the know, is he? At least that cuts down on the dancing,\" she notes before she picks up her coffee, taking a little sip to test the temperature.\n\n\"Not me. Too rich for my blood,\" Mattie says, lifting her coffee to her lips and taking a sip. She gives a nod to Imogen's question. \"Works with us sometimes.\" Behind Gideon, Mattie gives him a nod, then taps herself on the chest — code for 'he's like me, not you.' \n\n \"Oh, I'm sure if you need to tell us anything you would,\" she tells Gideon, but really, there's nothing in their past acquaintance, minor as it is, to make any certainty on her part warranted. \"Is that three or four?\" she asks, regarding the tower's latest addition.\n\n\"Of course it's cheating,\" Gideon chuckles. \"You don't lame the favored horse so yours will win, do you?\" He considers a beat before speaking on, \"Well, I suppose you might, but there's no doubt that would be cheating. The question, here, is one of balance and precision. It will never be answered if you knock them down.\" He rolls the next creamer, number four, between thumb and forefinger as he wets his lips and considers his creation thus far. \"'In the know',\" he murmurs bemusedly. \"This is four,\" Gideon answers Mattie as he opens his hand, the next creamer 'brick' resting in his palm, \"and I was thinking we might try for a wager a bit more interesting than who pays for coffee.\" He holds up creamer number four, peering at it a final time before he lifts it to set it ever so gently on top of the impressively high stack of creamers. They sway, like some strange, segmented snake, but they hold.\n\nWhen he answers his own question, Imogen actually does smile a little, and she lifts her hands in surrender. At least on the cheating plan. \"'More interesting' generally tends to be code for suggestions that elicit a slap or two,\" she says, hands folding around the warm cup in front of her.\n\nHer gaze travels back to Mattie, who gets a nod. If the nod wasn't enough, the wariness that enters her expression when she looks back to Gideon proves that the message got through.\n\nThe redhead arches a brow over at Imogen while shifting around so she can keep an eye on both the front and back doors at the same time. One boot hooks on the rung of Gideon's stool to rest there — don't worry, not a jostle to be felt — as she watches the tower's construction with an amused expression. \n\nShe's already proclaimed herself 'out' of this bet, so she leaves the negotiations to the other two.\n\n\"Never fear,\" Gideon assures quietly as he palms the fifth and final creamer, \"I'm a gentleman. If you win, I get something from your pocket. If I win, you get something from mine.\" He glances over at Imogen to see if this wager is agreeable, or if he's going to get slapped. He waits, for the moment, not yet moving to place that last one.\n\n\"My pockets?\" To her credit, she doesn't start patting them down to try to remember what's in them, but Imogen does take a moment to think that one over. \"I suppose I can agree to that. In the name of… whatever this is,\" she says with a wave toward the tower. \"Mattie, you've got your eye on this one, yeah?\" It's just a playful bit of teasing, however muted her tone.\n\nMattie snorts very slightly at the wager and the situations Imogen's gotten herself into. Both hands wrapped around her mug of coffee, she sips and watches over the rim for the placement of the final installment. \"I'll let you know if I see anything fishy,\" she says solemnly to her fellow Watcher. \"This does beg the question, what's it got in its pocketses?\" \n\nGreen eyes narrow on the tower builder. \"I'm warning you, if this is a set up for you to flash us, you'll regret it.\" She seems to be teasing, though it's hard to tell as the warning is given deadpan.\n\nGideon tsks very gently for all of this doubt and mistrust drifting about. Instead, he carefully lifts the fifth and final creamer, and gently, gently rests it atop the others. A shiver runs through the tower, but after a moment, it stops shifting and holds. It's precarious, but still upright. He leans back, his smile soft and triumphant. \"Whatever I have in my pockets, you'll have to wait another day to find out.\" Looking more directly at Imogen, Gideon asks, \"but, what have I won from yours?\"\n\n\"We do not quote The Hobbit frivolously, Mattie. This is England.\" Imogen smirks just a little before reaching into her pocket to pull out three nickels, a wrinkled receipt and what looks like a punch card to get a free beer after she buys three more. It's all set out on the bar and she gestures to it in Vanna White style.\n\nThe American watches with amusement as Imogen pulls the contents from her pocket. \"Living large there, Parish. Don't spend it all in one place, now,\" she murmurs into her coffee cup before draining the rest of the contents and setting it down for an eventual refill. The waitress seems to think the trio a bit odd and is spending most of her time at the far end of the counter. \n\n Mattie then leans forward to blow through pursed lips at the tower — perhaps to test its strength, or the force of her own hot air.\n\nGideon rests his hands on his knees, studying the pocket contents with as much interest as one might if trying to decide between 'Doors #1 and 2'. With a small smile, he picks up the rumpled receipt, smooths it out and folds it more tidily before slipping it into his own back pocket. \"Everything has its uses,\" he says, sliding the three nickels and the beer card back towards Imogen. There is, however, a small sound of annoyance as Mattie blows on his tower, making three of the creamers spill off the top. He tsks softly under his breath, flicks one creamer down low, and sends the whole thing toppling down.\n\nThe leftovers are shoved back into her pockets and Imogen just gives him an odd look. Maybe for his choice, or maybe for the mess he makes in knocking it all over, hard to say. \"That's better than a cup of coffee?\" She picks up her own to gesture with before finishing it off. \"To each their own, I suppose. But you're an odd one, Gideon, if you don't mind me saying.\"\n\nMattie looks amused at the irritated sound, but she does hop off her stool to gather the scattered creamers, tossing a \"I got it,\" to the waitress when they get the inevitable exasperated look. Well, the ones on the customer side of the counter, anyway, she manages to gather and put back in the bowls. \n\nSettling back on the stool, she pulls a five-dollar bill from her trench's pocket to lay on the counter for the coffees. \"An odd one? I told you he's one of us. There's no such thing as a normal one,\" she says to Imogen.\n\n\"Why should I mind you saying?\" Gideon asks Imogen as he idly begins to collect the fallen creamers, returning them to the bowl they came from. \"If you spend much time with Miss Dahl here, I can't be the only 'odd one' with which you keep company.\" He lifts a hand to gesture towards Mattie with a 'just as she says' expression.\n\nThe door to the coffee shop opens again, and this time it admits a slightly harried looking but very lovely young woman in a fitted tank top, a jumper, a pair of University sweatpants and a bookbag slung over her shoulder. Refueling for a late-night cram session, perhaps. She heads up to the counter, near where Imogen, Gideon and Mattie sit, chewing on a piece of gum which she draws out of her mouth as she overturns a mug so it can be filled with coffee. Holding the gum between her fingers, she looks around for a place to discard it, and there's a soft crumpling sound as Gideon draws out his recently won receipt, unfolding it and offering it over to the young lady with a soft smile. \"If I may, miss?\"\n\n\"Oh,\" the student murmurs in surprise and then, noticing Gideon properly for the first time, she returns his smile with one equal parts warm and flirtatious. \"Oh. Thank you. Hello.\"\n\n\"Indeed,\" Imogen says with a smirk. She turns on her stool to slide off, leaving a few dollars on the bar in her wake. \"Good night, while it still is night,\" she says to the man before sparing a glance toward the student. But soon enough she looks to Mattie, nodding toward the door. \"I'm off. Care to share a cab?\"\n\n\"For the record, I'm the one with the interesting pockets,\" says Mattie as she rises, her body turned so that only Gideon can see her slide out just the tip of the hilt of a switchblade from one pocket. Letting it fall back into the dark depths of the trench coat, she nods to Imogen and heads to the door. \"Night, Parish.\"\n\nGideon passes the receipt over to the student who uses it to secure her gum as the waitress pours her coffee. \"Good morning, lmogen,\" he says as the two women begin to depart, his gaze on Mattie's coat and the little weapon that's lifted and then dropped again. \"Dahl. I'll have to keep that in mind. About your pockets.\" He watches as the pair of them leave before returning his attention to the pretty student who, with a flutter of long eyelashes, invites him to join her in one of the booths.\n\n"
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