So Very Awkward


Dan_icon.gif Reggie_icon.gif

Summary: Dan arranges a feast. Reggie thanks him in ways neither of them intended.

Date It Happened: December 27, 2001

So Very Awkward

Dan's Apartment

So Dan said that he had holiday Chinese, however he didn't get it until the day after Christmas due to a few mix-ups at work. But when he got it, there was more than enough for at least four people, and he already fed two friends who could have used it. Not usually found in his apartment, he stopped by to shower and to actually use the cot, for once. Nobody else is using it (another scarce occurrence), and he's just got the urge to sleep inside tonight. With so many people disappearing off Skid Row, he'd rather someone else be using it, but there were no takers.

Fresh from the shower, Dan steps out of the bathroom toweling off his unruly mop of hair and dressed in a pair of worn tan cargo pants and a white muscle shirt with a few small assorted holes. What's left of the Chinese is set out on the table for dinner.

There comes a knock at the door just then, and Reggie waits out in the hall, fidgeting and just slightly anxious. She's dressed in her usual layers, right now a couple of dark T-shirts, blue and black respectively, and then a dark grey zippered hoodie on over that. At least there aren't too many grease stains on it, which is good for her. Her dark curls, unruly as ever, are pushed back from her face as she waits.

It's like the adventures of Afro Man and Curly Girly, only with less explosions and more Chinese food. Dan drapes the towel over his neck and takes a peek through the peephole before unlocking and opening the door with a smile. "Reggie. Come on in. I haven't put the food away yet." He indicates the table with a wave of his hand.

"Dan. Hi," Reggie greets with a smile of her own, slipping inside as he invites her. "It smells really good. I could smell it out in the hall. I hope I'm not…" Early? Late? Time has sort of a way of getting away from her, without a watch or very many appointments to keep. "Thanks again for inviting me," she finishes instead, still a little awkward as she stands there.

"You're not." It's not like Dan is the essence of promptness, and dinner's a flexible meal. It can go on all night if it wants to. "It's no problem. There's no way I would have finished it all myself anyway." After closing and locking the door, he motions to one of the old chairs. "Have a seat, help yourself. It's good to see you're still around." He's noticed that people tend to disappear these days.

Reggie takes the offered chair, dropping down into it lightly. "Yeah, I know. It's … good to still be around," she replies with a nod. "It's … getting bad out there, isn't it? You heard anything?" She eyes the various dishes, but doesn't even know where to start. These feasts at Christmas are so rare a thing. "It is a lot of food, isn't it. It's generous of your employers…"

There's plenty to choose from: chicken fried rice, wontons, crab angels, mushu pork, eggrolls, kung pao shrimp — it's quite a haul. Dan's already eaten, so he just opts to take the opposite chair with a low sigh. "They can be, when they want to be. And yes, things are getting bad out there. Pablo disappeared last night. I was going to check on him and heard shouting; when I got there, he was gone." He shakes his head grimly, lips pursing. "I'm pretty sure he was taken. I haven't seen him since."

Reggie starts just serving up a little bit of everything, unable to choose. She does pause to look up at Dan though when he relays this tale, her eyes widening slightly. "Shouting? Really? Wow." She lets out a breath, looking thoughtful as she goes back to the food. "Have you heard anything? Who it is? What-?" She licks off a bit of sauce from her thumb before sitting back with a full plate, and giving him another curious look.

Dan shakes his head again. "People keep talking about the florist shop, but I can't see why they would want to take people. Some of them are saying that they're using the homeless for fertilizer for the new fancy plants they've got in there, but that doesn't make much sense, does it? I don't think humans make especially good fertilizer, and surely someone would have noticed the smell." And then, suddenly realizing that Reggie is eating and the grinding up of people for plant fertilizer is probably not the best sort of dinner conversation, he clears his throat quietly. "Sorry."

Reggie seems almost puzzled by the apology, shrugging it off as she figures out what it was for a moment later. "It takes a lot to put me off, don't worry. I heard it had something to do with the plant place too. Didn't hear about the fertilizer bit. Doesn't make sense, but … what does these days?" She uses her fork to move some of the things around on her plate, mixing them together. "I'd still stay away from that place. Of course, when I try to tell people that, they think I'm crazy. I'm not crazy." Of that she is quite adamant.

"That's the general reaction, yes. Nobody listens to us; we're all crazy." He smiles a little, then picks up an eggroll and idly munches at it. Okay, so maybe he's still got room for something. "I've thought about going in to see for myself, but I haven't had much time. You haven't looked in on it, have you?"

Reggie shakes her head at those people who call them crazy. She hates that. "They wouldn't know crazy if it bit them. Which it might," she mutters, shoving in a mouthful of food. She waits to finish that before answering his question. "I … might have been by, yeah. You should steer clear though. I, um, might have done something to dissuade those people who won't listen to me about staying away." Her plate of food is so fascinating.

And conversely, Dan's eggroll stopped being appealing all of a sudden. Isn't it funny how that works? He stares at Reggie a moment in silence before lowering the eggroll from his lips, which is where it was headed before she said that last bit. "What did you do?" It's not so much accusatory as warily curious.

"Nothing bad… really," Reggie replies, glancing up at him and then back down at her plate, moving some of her rice from one spot to another. "No one will get hurt. Maybe their ears, a little. But it's just a fire alarm. If it's unpleasant to go in, they might not want to," she explains with a shrug.

Well, that's a bit of a relief. Even just a little amusing, actually. At least the place won't go up in flames or anything of the like. Dan shakes his head, however and takes another small bite from his eggroll. "Nobody is even sure it's the florist shop that's behind all this. It could be the police or some serial killer. I don't think ruining someone's business because of a suspicion would be the answer." Even as he says it, though, Dan can't bring himself to be really chastising. The shop is very suspicious. He can't deny it.

Reggie pushes her hair back from her face, looking thoughtful but not exactly remorseful. "You heard it, I heard it. If that's what people are saying, there must be a reason. If they aren't behind it, then I'll be sorry to have ruined their business. But right now, I care more about not dying," she states frankly. "And not seeing other people end up dead." She glances across at him and then tucks over her plate for another mouthful.

"Even still, it would be nice to have some proof," says Dan, pushing the half-eaten eggroll around on top of a styrofoam container with one finger. "Bad things happen when people leap to conclusions. The florist shop might just be suspected because they had that grand re-opening when people started to go missing."

"It's only a conclusion if I stop there," Reggie points out practically as she turns back to her food. "This is more a, uh, precautionary measure. Though I'm no detective. Don't count on me to figure it out. But I'm keeping an ear to the ground." She chases a shrimp around the plate before finally just spearing it.

Dan lets out a quiet and thoughtful "mm" and then goes silent for a bit. The eggroll rolls back and forth atop the box before he finally picks it up again and eyes its contents absently. Just a typical chicken eggroll. "I just hope you didn't leave anything implicating behind. Once they figure out things have been tampered with, I'm sure they'll call the police."

"The wire I got from a building they're tearing down and the fire alarm I found in the garbage. People throw such perfectly good things away," Reggie muses as an aside. "It just needed some electrical wire. And if the store is doing something wrong, having the police there isn't the worst thing. Not that they're much good for anything," she allows. "But maybe this time."

And the eggroll goes back to being eaten, slow as it may be. "I suppose that's true," Dan acquiesces with a nod. "Bringing some police attention to the shop if it's doing something nefarious couldn't hurt. And if they don't call the police, that might be an indication that they are up to something." But he still can't bring himself to fully condone the action.

"So there you go," Reggie replies, pointing at a random spot in the air with her fork. "Either way, we might find out something more, and if it stops a few people from going in, it's not going to keep me up nights. If it turns out they're not up to anything, I'll, I don't know, hand out fliers for them or something. We do what we have to do." No, she's not going to feel bad about this one.

"The alternative could have been calling the police and leaving an anonymous tip," says Dan gently. "Though I suppose something like this would get them to actually investigate rather than poke their heads in and leave. Whatever the case, be careful."

"I don't entirely trust the police," Reggie replies. "You really think they'd knock themselves out about missing homeless people? I'm sorry if you don't agree with my methods, but I'm okay with them," she goes on levelly, not upset so much as just informing him. "But I'm always careful."

And so Dan doesn't push the matter. He just nods a little. Reggie doesn't feel remorseful, and he's not about to try to make her. It's not like she killed anyone. "In any case, some people are moving out of Skid Row over this. Not all the disappearances are mysterious, but it's causing problems. People don't like it so much when the homeless leave Skid Row."

"Then maybe people should make sure we don't get killed," Reggie mutters, before giving her head a shake. "No, the whole thing is no good. It's dangerous enough out there as it is. We don't need more dangers. I'm good at looking out for myself, but sometimes I worry that there's only so much I can do."

"There is only so much we can do, really," says Dan. "But you know, if you ever need someplace to stay or hide, my apartment's always open. I don't really use it much myself, except to shower and sleep in occasionally." And to eat, obviously, or store food.

"I'll be okay, but … I'll keep that in mind, thanks," Reggie replies with a sincere smile. And then her expression goes a little thoughtful. "Why is it you keep the apartment if you don't use it? I guess having a shower you could use any time would be convenient," she allows, giving it some consideration.

Dan shrugs a little. "I just prefer sleeping out on the street, but you're right: I also enjoy the convenience of a shower and a refrigerator. I was out on the street for a while before I could afford an apartment, and then when I could afford an apartment, I didn't like sleeping in it."

"I … guess that makes sense, yeah," Reggie replies, tilting to head to one side as she considers this. "I don't know if I'd like an apartment. I think I'd feel trapped. I like being able to just leave." She seems to be slowing after having made a considerable dent in her food.

"Ah yes, the need to wander." Dan nods; he recalls something of that sort being said before by Reggie. "It doesn't even feel like my apartment, really. More like a hotel room that I can access whenever I want and that other people use when they need it. If I didn't have my name on the lease, it might as well be one."

Reggie just gives a shrug as he comments on her need to wander, but nods as he explains about the apartment. "I guess that might be okay then," she agrees, in the middle of considering whether a hotel room would feel as constraining as an apartment when a sudden … compulsion comes over her. Abruptly, she rises from her seat and rounds on Dan, leaning in to plant a very sound kiss on his lips.

And Dan is so shocked at the sudden smackeroo, he doesn't do anything to stop it. But he doesn't quite return it either. His eyes widen and he simply sits there, completely stunned. Apparently talk of hotel rooms is some kind of aphrodisiac?

Reggie pulls away after a moment, wide eyed and looking completely shocked and mortified herself. "Oh God!" she exclaims, bringing a hand up to her mouth as if that will somehow undo what just happened. She also takes a biiiig step back. "I - I'm sorry. I don't - I don't understand what just…" She says quickly, her face flushing a very deep red indeed.

Dan just blinks. And stares. And blinks again. He's clearly very bewildered. After a couple moments of complete and utter shock, he seems to come back and clears his throat, glancing down at the eggroll and then at his feet. Wow. Awkward. And uncomfortable. "It— erm. I." Very awkward. He tries to bring his gaze up to meet Reggie's, but he really only succeeds in glancing up briefly before his attention turns to the other wall. "It's all right. I just … it's fine. I'm. I didn't know— "

"There's nothing to know," Reggie says very quickly indeed, taking another step back. "I don't know why I … did that. It just … I had to." Her eyes widen and she finally drops her hand from her mouth, but keeps the distance between them. Her brow furrows as she tries to decide if that just somehow made it sound even worse. "I don't know why," she adds, trying to help clarify a little.

Nothing to know. Well, that's good. But there's conflicting messages, there. "H-had to?" Dan stumbles. "I … see." No, he really doesn't. He's just confused and very, very uncomfortable. He clears his throat again and rises from his chair somewhat hesitantly, not attempting to make any of that distance between himself and Reggie smaller. "It's all right, really. Don't … don't worry about it. Just, ah … it's not … I don't …" Well this is just a barrel of laughs.

"Mmhmm," Reggie confirms the 'had to' in a strained tone. "It's not - It's not something I do. I haven't- I don't-" She isn't having much more luck finishing her statements either, just watching him with wide eyes as he gets to his feet. She might move back even further, but she doesn't want to run out of room when she most needs it. "I'm sorry, I really am. I know that was… Not Right."

Dan nods. Yes. Someone managed to finish a sentence here. He'll agree with that. He swallows, rubs at his chin with one hand, and glances around the room as though searching for some kind of Anti-Awkward device. His eye lands on the refrigerator and an idea suddenly sparks. "Ah, I … forgot something to drink. Would you like something to drink? I have milk and juice and water, but nothing alcoholic, I'm … I'm not much one for alcohol. I don't drink it." From stuttering to rambling in 60 seconds. Off he moves toward the refrigerator.

"Yeah, something to drink, okay," Reggie agrees, nodding quickly several times. Yes, Anti-Awkward, that's good. "Um. Water's fine. Or juice. Or milk!" She's really not picky so long as it begins making things not-awkward again. The lack of alcohol isn't a problem for her, though a stiff drink might calm some nerves. But the last thing she's wanting is any lowering of inhibitions she didn't even know she had! "I, uh. Thanks." So not entirely un-awkward yet.

And so Dan fetches some apple juice for the both of them, because the tap water is probably not all that good, and he likes to save the milk for breakfasts and the like. "It's good food," he remarks as he heads back to Reggie and extends one glass toward her. "They, uh, have been putting in extra effort since that scare about rats. Though, it wasn't really rats, it was more like the food had come alive. I've never seen anything like it." Babblebabblebabble.

"Yeah, it was really good," Reggie replies, tacking on a little too quickly, "The food." Just in case he thinks she's talking about That Which Shall Not Be Named. Because that never happened. "Rats?" She takes a small step forward to accept the offered glass, and … suddenly it's Not Happening again. She continues stepping forward to angle in close so that she can lay another one on him. At least she doesn't drop the glass, though she manages to spill half of it on her hand as she tries to wrap the arm around his shoulders for better leverage.

"Yes, there was an in— " And then Dan is cut off by yet another kiss that also takes him entirely offguard. And now there's apple juice on the floor, and not just from Reggie's glass. Unlike the previous encounter, however, Dan manages to recover faster and raises his free hand to place on her shoulder — which is also for leverage, but for a much different reason. He exerts a little pressure in an attempt to push himself away from her and mumbles a weak but still somewhat firm, "Reggie." Except it comes out sounding more like, "MFfreggmmengheie." It's not easy to talk in these kinds of situations!

Reggie pulls away quickly as soon as she's got her wits about her again. "I-I-I…" she stammers, not even knowing where to start this time, so she just stares at him with widened eyes again, horrified and mortified and going deep red just as she was starting to recover from the last bout. "I don't know what keeps happening!" she finally gets out all in a shouted rush, and then promptly falling silent.

"You keep kissing me," Dan states, taking a step backward with a frown. It's a little annoyed, but there's still confusion and even some concern in there. "I'm sorry, but I'm … not that sort. It's not you, really." No, it's all him.

Reggie brings her free hand up to cover her face as he points that out so bluntly. "I know! But I don't know why!" she explains from behind that hand, before dropping it back down to her side. "I think- I think maybe I should just go. There's something very wrong with me." She takes a step back, leaning over to set her half-empty glass down on the table and shaking her hand of some of the juice on it. "I'm sorry. I really am. You've been nothing but kind, and I've- Oh God."

Annoyance is still there, but it starts to give way to the confusion and concern. Reggie is either a very good actress or … or what? Dan doesn't know. He doesn't attempt to stop her, though, just watches her with a befuddled frown. "Yes, erm. I'll … see you around, I suppose." Hopefully with less macking.

"Yes, I, um. Yes, maybe," Reggie stammers out in reply, no longer even really paying much attention to her words. She summons up a slightly sickly smile and then turns to head promptly for the door, not looking back, even as she adds a weak, "Thank you for dinner. It was good." Oh God, oh God, oh God. She just needs to get out of here and not be kissing people.

Dinner was good. Yes. "Yes. Good night, and be careful." Once Reggie is gone, Dan just stands motionless in the middle of the room, holding half a glass of apple juice. He remains that way for several minutes before he quietly goes about putting away the food. Awkward. So very awkward.

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