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Summary: Christmas shopping leads to some conversation, and doubts to Daisy's sanity.

Date It Happened: December 16, 2001


Third Street Promenade

It's a nice afternoon for shopping, blue sky, sun shining, but not too hot. Of course, detracting from the pleasant experience is the fact that there are less than ten days until Christmas and the promenade is packed with shoppers and those trying to make a buck from them.

Daisy is here amongst them, trying to multitask. While she digs through a discount bin in front of a bookstore, she also seems to be talking to herself, speaking loudly to be heard over the dreadlocked man wearing a Santa hat and playing carols on the steel drums next to her. "I know you're booked up, but it /needs/ to be today. No, tomorrow's no good." She flips through a book before putting it back. "Okay, talk to your manager and I'll try back in a few hours. Trust me, he's going to want him there." Bringing a hand up to her ear reveals a small headset, which she clicks off and removes, dropping it into her bag as she continues checking the discounted stock.

A magnet for the forces of darkness, indeed. Though in this case, it's just Doakes, and there's so little supernatural about him. At the moment, he's just in polo shirt and slacks, browsing that same bin of discounted books. Books being something of an addiction with him, really. Not particularly looking where he's going, he bumps into Daisy, and then immediately turns to offer his apologies.

"Oh!" Daisy remarks with surprise, letting out a sheepish laugh as she's bumped into, too distracted by her most recent find to have noticed the man in her path. "I'm sorry," she puts in quickly, even if she's not sure it was exactly her fault. "They should put warning signs on this or something," she adds, laying her book back inside and then straightening to take a better look at the fellow browser.

Francis grins at her, as if not entirely able to help himself. It's mostly benign, though he's reflexively checking her over in that way that cops have…as if making sure she's unarmed and no sort of immediate threat. It softens, as it registers that it's a pretty girl rather than an armed suspect he's been confronted with. "I know, huh? Not enough room there."

Daisy is armed only with a daytimer and beeper, but neither of them are nagging at her right now, so she's free to continue this particular conversation with a friendliness that comes easy. "I guess it's that time of year. I don't think I've ever /seen/ this many people all in one place," she notes with some amazement, looking out over the promenade.

"Busy, I know. Times like this make you realize just how overpopulated LA is," Frank comments, with a certain wry curl to his lip.

"Yeah, it's not exactly the easiest city, is it," Daisy admits with a rueful grin, still chipper despite this. "But I guess at least if you're not going to have snow, you can still have the holiday frenzy." She gives another look at said frenzy and then shakes her head in disbelief.

Francis notes, in an amused drawl, "It puts a school of great whites to shame, doesn't it?" He surveys the crowd with a faintly incredulous air.

"Yeah, it sort of does," Daisy agrees with a quiet laugh, finally tearing her gaze away from the crowds to look back over at the man. "But I guess they're all just really determined to get everyone on their list. I still have way too much left to do myself." Which explains why she's out in it in the first place, even if she's not quite so determined as some of the shoppers in the fray.

Francis looks back to her, amused. "I know the feeling," he says. "Which is why I determined that this year, everyone gets books. Period."

"Oh, but books are tricky," Daisy points out, picking up one at random and flipping it over to see the back. "You get /too/ close to their tastes and chances are, they've already read it. You try to do something too off-the-wall, and they'll hate it. And I figure best-sellers are out, since if they wanted to read it, they would have already." She frowns at the blurb on the dust jacket and then returns this book to the bin as well.

Francis eyes the bargain bin with faint disgust, but nods, conceding the point. "I know, huh?" he says. "You can get these little gift receipt things, just in case, happily."

"Yeah, you have a point. It's sort of like getting a gift card, except it shows you at least made the effort first," Daisy considers with a nod. "But I don't know. I guess I'd better make up my mind soon, since time is running short."

Francis makes a face. "May just have to go with giftcards, really."

"I'd never hear the end of it. Bad enough I'm not coming home, but to not buy /presents/?" Daisy widens her eyes and puts her hand to her chest, playing up the drama of the situation. "No, I have to get something. And something good. Something that makes it seem like I am having a /great/ time here."

"Got a bunch of folks to impress back home with the glittering lights and neverending glamour of the city of angels?" Frank wonders, arching his brows at her.

"Something like that, yeah," Daisy replies with a rueful grin, before reconsidering. "Exactly like that, actually. So if anything springs to mind…" She's mostly joking, realizing it's pretty unlikely she's going to find such a magical gift as that, especially on her budget. "I'm Daisy, by the way," she adds, offering a hand as she suddenly realizes her manners.

He blinks at her for a second, as if that were an alien gesture, before taking her hand rather carefully in his, and shaking it. "Frank," he says, grinning again, almost despite himself.

"It's nice to meet you, Frank," Daisy says with a grin, after giving a firm shake of her own. "Sorry to bore you with my tale of holiday woe, but I don't really know many people in town. I guess talking to strangers outside of bookstores is the next best thing. Though I don't suppose we're strangers anymore, now that we've been introduced." She speaks without pause as the ideas occur to her.

"You really aren't from here, are you?" His tone is surprisingly gentle, as is his expression, though the blue eyes remain as expressive as a pair of flint chips.

Daisy gives a soft laugh, grimacing with little more than self-deprecating humour. "Am I that obvious? I just have this thing where I start talking and- Well, anyway, you got me. Not from here, no." She shrugs her shoulders, since there's no doing anything about that. "I live here now though, so I'm just trying to make the best of it. How about you? Are you from here originally? You don't seem quite so…" But she fades off, not finding the words she wants to describe her typical experience with Angelenos.

That gets another flick of the brow. "Don't seem so…?" he prompts, gently. "Yes, I am from here," he adds, answering the question belatedly. "What'd you come for?" Not 'why', precisely.

"Shark-like," Daisy decides with a nod, opting to use his own term from earlier, gesturing with a hand out at the swirling mass before them. At his question, she gives a sheepish grin. "I'm an actress." But at least she has the confidence not to say that she wants to be one. She /is/ an actress, whether or not LA knows it yet.

Oh, you and a dozen that get off the bus new and shiny every day, honey. Francis's expression softens further, the way one might look at a brave but still terminal patient. "I see," he says, gently. "So, I don't seem quite so sharkish, hm?"

Daisy gives a determined smile, quite certain that for reasons unknown, hers will be a different story than 99.9% of the would-be actresses out there. "No, you don't," she agrees with a nod. "But maybe it's just your love of books." She gives a little laugh of that, shrugging her shoulders again.

"How long've you been here, exactly?" Francis wonders, leaning hipshot against the table, and eyeing her.

"Oh, not very long," Daisy replies, as if she doesn't remember down to the day when she left home and all the drama that came with it. "Long enough, I guess. But this will be my first Christmas." She's a little sad about that, but shrugs it off. "So what is it you do, anyway?" She doesn't eye him so much as just give him an earnest look.

Francis notes, almost apologetically, as if confessing to a social disease. "I'm a cop. LAPD detective,specifically," He promptly eyes her for her reaction, as if expecting her to recoil like a vampire confronted with a cross.

Daisy must not be lying about not having been here very long, for she just nods to this bit of news. "Oh really? That must be a pretty intense job around here. I've got an uncle who's a volunteer fire-fighter… but that's probably nothing at all the same, so I don't know why I even said that," she goes on with a little laugh.

His expression is increasingly wondering. "It can be, yes," he acknowledges, books momentarily forgotten, as is the ebb and flow of the crowd. "Where'd you say you were from?"

"Near Topeka," Daisy replies. "Kansas," she adds, in case people in LA can't be bothered to know where Topeka is. She's not quite so oblivious to miss that he's giving her a strange look. "What? It's … not an intense job? I figure there must be tons of crime, and then there's the reputation…" So she's not a /complete/ idiot. "It can't be easy." She shrugs.

"Sometimes it's intensely boring. sometimes, yes, it is merely intense," he says, grinning despite himself. "Kansas. Hm. I have a feeling that if I make a Dorothy reference, I'll have earned myself a punch in the jaw. Is that right?"

Daisy lets out a laughing groan as he brings up that reference. "I'm not big on violence, but … yes," she replies, not at all seriously. "Though sometimes I feel like I'm in Oz. Only instead of Munchkins, there are all these tall, tanned, fit women." She wrinkles her nose slightly, since that level of competition doesn't exactly help her plight of being a struggling actress.

Francis frankly smirks at her in return. "I know the feeling, and I'm from here. There's a certain permanently surreal element to it, isn't there?"

"Yeah, some days it seems like the movie set is the most real thing here," Daisy replies wryly, tucking her hair back behind her ears. "But I guess I should have expected it. I'm hoping it won't be quite so intimidating once I've survived it awhile?" she asks hopefully, figuring a native would be able to give her some perspective.

Francis's lips pull to one side. "I wish I could give you a definitive answer there. But hell, it intimidates me, sometimes, and I grew up here. But you like it, I take it?"

"I-" Daisy falters slightly as she actually considers that question. "I guess some days more than others? It's … different, that's for sure. But I know I can make it here. I just … have to give it some time, that's all." The smile returns and she gives a nod with that.

He's really trying not to let the pity show. "So, what sort of breaks have you had since you arrived?" he wonders, trying to inject hope into is voice. It's not very convincing.

Daisy will just have to ramp up the hopefulness for the both of them. "Well, I've managed to get work as a personal assistant. I actually just started a new job, so I don't know exactly what to make of it yet. But, I mean, I'm sure it's going to go well. And it could definitely be a step in the right direction. All I need is to get my foot in the door, so I'll pay my dues. I'm not afraid of a little hard work." She gives a grin with that, determined to be cheerful about it.

Francis is resisting the temptation to put her back on a bus for Kansas at gunpoint. She's breaking his heart. "Oh, yeah?" he wonders, grinning a little. She's like something from another age.

"Oh, absolutely," Daisy replies with a sage nod. "Patience and perseverance. Those are the key. Well, and a little bit of luck, I think," she adds with a confiding grin. "But … I'm good at what I do. Sooner or later, someone is going to see that. Though I kind of hope it's sooner."

"No luck with theatre, anything like that?" he prompts. It's a very gentle interrogation, in its way.

"Oh, I did a lot back home," Daisy assures him, lest he think she's just up and decided one day that she would be a movie star. "In school, some community productions, that sort of thing. But I guess it just sort of felt like time to take a leap of faith." And fell flat on her face, but no matter!

Francis purses his lips. "I….you have a backup plan, I hope?" Which doesn't involve prostitution or jail. Because Francis really, really doesn't want to be the one who has to try and solve a 21st century Black Dahlia.

"Not really," Daisy admits with a shrug, refusing to be bothered by this because she's /going/ to make it. "It's stick with it or admit defeat, move back home, and lead the boring life my parents want for me. And I know boring is safe, but it's also, well, boring. You ever just /know/ you're … meant for something different?"

"There's a lot to be said for boring and safe," he notes, sounding rather wistful. "Listen. If you ever need help, call me. This is my direct number," He pulls a little business card case out of a pants pocket, fishes out a card. "And I suppose I do," he adds, with a little inward turned amusement.

"Only if your life isn't boring and safe," Daisy points out knowingly. "I spent my whole life being safe and it didn't really get me anywhere. Sometimes you have to take the risk." Her eyebrows lift as he pulls out the card. "Really? Wow, thanks. I'm sure I won't get up to any trouble, but I'll keep this handy, just in case." It's a rough town, after all. At his addition, she nods. "It's frustrating. So I think it's time to figure out what that something is."

Francis wonders, "What exactly do you want? Fame and fortune. And I suppose you do, but….I don't know what to tell you. I don't have any in to Hollywood, really." Which is honestly a lie, considering.

"I don't know about fame and fortune exactly. I mean, don't get me wrong, I certainly wouldn't turn it down. But I just … love to act," Daisy admits with a shrug. "That's all I really want. To be able to make it doing what I love, on my own terms. But hey, don't worry about it. Thanks for the thought, but I guess I'll just keep earning my own way in, then."

"Good luck with that," Francis says, drily. "Do you have office skills? We always need people, if the acting thing doesn't pan out for you."

"Hey, someone has to get a lucky break. I see no reason why it couldn't be me," Daisy insists to his dry response, but she nods to the offer. "Thanks, I'll … keep that in mind. I don't know if they're office skills exactly, but I learn fast. And being someone's assistant, well, it involves more than you'd think."

Francis lifts his hands. "I can imagine. Who're you working for?" he wonders, more gently. Well, at least she won't be starving on the streets, right?

"Um, well, I've just started working for Jackson Archer?" Daisy replies, still hardly able to believe it herself, Mr. Blockbuster himself. "I'm nowhere near qualified, but he doesn't seem to care." This also puzzles her, but she's trying to trust in her good luck and not question these things.

"Wait. The Jackson Archer?" Francis's tone is increasingly skeptical.

"That's the one," Daisy confirms with a grinning nod. "So, really, I could be doing a lot worse. Already my luck is turning around." You just have to believe, that's all.

Francis notes, very gently, "You know he's just a character? Like, it's as if you said you signed on to work with Clark Kent."

"No, he's a real person," Daisy replies with a knowing nod. "Seriously. I've met him and everything." Her phone begins to chirp. "In fact, I'm trying to get him an appointment right now. Sorry, I really should take this," she says with a grimace, beginning to root around in her bag. Duty calls!

Francis opens his mouth as if to argue. And t hen apparently thinks the better of it. Shaking his head, he lets her go.

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