May 09, 2011
<NIGHT> cafe://Polychrome v2.0 - Navy Pier - Grand and Lake Shore
The Polychrome 2.0 is a serious upgrade in both style and function. Gone is the soft-industrial warehouse look, the walls repainted from their worn brick color to a more warm rich red adobe. The walls are adorned with old Sci-Fi posters and paintings by independent local artists.
The entire cafe is situated around a circular bar-like counter in the very center of the room which, in turn, surrounds the chrome and copper homemade monstrosity Frankenchino machine the only surviving relic of the previous Polychrome. Frankenchino billows steam and froth from it's masses of pipes and valves, the temperature and levels of fluids measured by gleaming old fashioned pressure gages and controlled by a plethora of levers and turn-gaskets. Comfortable high backed chromed stools with leather upholstery orbit the counter, which through it's thick Plexiglas surface into it's refrigerated interior can be seen sandwiches and pastries and other snacks in refrigerated. Above the counter is an outfacing circle of LCD TVs showing various feeds off the Internet.
Circular segmented couches surround low black coffee tables around the cafe, each one having a computer monitor on a swivel in the center and a cordless keyboard and mouse and allowing the patrons full and free net access. In one corner there are more dedicated semi-private computer terminals at high-mounted and a kiosk where one can rent a laptop. Another corner sports an Internet jukebox which has been built into the body of a full sized Robby the Robot replica. Another corner has a small stage from which patrons can enjoy independent bands or poets on certain nights. The last corner is set up with merchandise such as books, magazines, shirts, mugs and gadgets.
Casey is sitting at a table, typing away at a netbook and letting a very large iced coffee with all manners of syrups and flavorings sweat onto the napkin between it and the tabletop. He's dressed in dockers, loafers and an oxford style shirt, all in various shades of brown and tan. When the bell rings he looks up, his expression distracted and then he focuses on Javier. His expression goes briefly apprehensive and then blank and he gives the stranger a careful nod.
Javier also focuses on Casey and gives the man a nod back as he makes his way to Anya. Once he makes it to Anya he orders a mocha from her. Javier is dressed in his usual, jeans t-shirt and of course his body armor.
Casey gives the body armor a look and murmurs, "Tough town." A little ironic and a little worried at the same time. He watches Javier without making it too obvious, those gray eyes glancing sidelong and his nostrils flaring as he takes in the scent. After a moment, he closes the netbook and slides it into a satchel-style bag at his feet.
Javier shakes his head to Casey "It was very tough for me at one point. Times are a lot easier now." After Anya gives him his Mocha Javier makes his way to a table.
Casey sips at his iced coffee, which is laden down with enough extra syrup, foam and sprinkles to count as a dessert. He's sitting at a table near the one Javier as just taken. Javier is in black and body armor, Casey looks like he's getting ready to go door to door with pamphlets, in neatly pressed dockers and an oxford shirt. He looks towards the other man and says, quietly, "Um, no offense, but if it's easier now, why the Mad Max look?"
Rachel waves toward Javier after the door closes behind her. "Hey, Javier." she eyes the other man curiously then nods at him. "hi." she then makes her way to the counter to order the plain black coffee that's she so fond of getting here.
Javier takes a sip of his coffee and then says to Casey "I got used to the look and one never knows when things will get hard again." He then takes notice of Rachel and gives her a small smile when she waves to him "Hey Rachel, great to see you again."
Ellen wanders quietly into the Polychrome, and orders a coffee, and walks over to sit at a table by herself. She relaxes, and peoplewatches, giving Casey a gimlet eye for a moment or two.
Casey gives Rachel a genial wave and a bit of a grin. "Hi!" He looks back to Javier and nods, "Okay. I guess I can understand that. It's kind of like an insurance policy, I guess. Well, a warzone style insurance policy. Makes me a little nervous at the prospect of moving here now." He catches that look from Ellen and looks back at her for a moment, expression more curious than anything else.
Rachel gets her coffee from Anyanka then looks around at Javier. "can I join you or is it family business?" she leans against a stool, as if she will sit there if she doesn't get the ok to join Javier and his friend.
Rachel has nodded at Ellen when she goes by to her table, saying a soft "hi." to her too.
Javier looks over Ellen and then looks to Rachel "Not the type of family business you are thinking of. I do expect my brother to join me for a quick drink. However the drink is more about family and has nothing to do with business so feel free to join me."
Ellen grins, and waves to Rachel in response to the "hi". "Hello" she returns, and raises her coffee to the curious look of Casey.
Casey looks a bit curious at the 'family business' talk but he just concentrates on his iced coffee, fairly quickly sipping it down to the point whre he's making obnoxious suction noises at the bottom of the cup and rattling the ice. He wipes a bit of foam off his mouth, starting to use his sleeve and then stopping and picking up a napkin instead. He smiles at Ellen and returns a nod for the salute, adding a "Hey." His accent is a bit odd. Mostly broadcast standard American but there are a couple of different strains of rural in there, blurring the consonants and lengthening the vowels.
Jose comes and and waves to rachel before addressing Javier "Hey, bro. I've got to get to work, but wanted to talk to you about Noelle's party. Does next tuesday look good for you? I was thinking we could use the pub."
Rachel has stopped next to Javier and is quietly sipping her coffee now that the greetings have been made. That is until Jose enters and waves to her. She smiles as she lowers her coffee cup and waves back to him with her left hand.
For a brief second Javier appears a bit sad. He looks to his brother and says "They grow up so fast don't they. And yes we can use the private dining area for Noelle's party. Tuesday works out great for me… however this for Noelle so any time is good for me when it comes to my niece."
Jose claps Javier on the back and smiles "I never doubted I could count on you. Her leaving is good though." growing a little more somber he says "Our lives have all gotten too complicated." gesturing back to the counter he says "Anwyay, I'm going to grab a drink and go." he gives rachel a nod then heads off.
Casey glances towards the two apparent brothers, his expression just a bit curious and then looks away, politely. He starts to go to the counter and order another of the ridiculously over-sweetened and fussed-with ice coffees, apparently laughing in the face of carbohydrates and sugary danger. He's still moving away from the counter when Jose approaches it and gives the man a polite and grave nod. Well, as grave as you can be when you're carrying something with more sprinkles than an entire bake sale's worth of cupcakes.
Javier nods to Jose "Yeah complicated is the word for it. Though things being complicated can be a good thing. I think they are in our case." He then gives Jose a wink "At least she will not be with her loser boyfriend any more." This brings a smile to Javier face.
Rachel nods at Jose when he goes back by to get his coffee then pulls a chair out from the table where Javier is standing and sits. She lets out a sigh and rubs her hands together lacing her fingers together to stretch them and make soft crackling noises come from them.
Casey watches the strangers go, sipping at that frothy concoction and giving a contented sigh as caffeine and sugar hit his system at once. Albeit fleetingly. He glances at Rachel and shakes his head with mock-solemnity, "You're totally going to get arthritis doing that."
Javier watches as his brother heads out. He then looks to Rachel "My niece Noelle is going away to college. I hope that might fill in any of the blanks the conversation I had with my brother might have created?"
Rachel wiggles her fingers at Casey. "But it feels so good when I do it." she says cheerfully to him. Then Javier speaks up just as she picks up her cup of plain black coffee and she nods at him. "Actually, I did know that. Someone told me a while back, not sure if it was you or Jose, though."
Casey is sitting at a table near the one occupied by Rachel and Javier. He is dressed like he's on his way to a youth group or something, in tan dockers, a khaki colored oxford and loafers. Javier is in black leather and body armor. Rachel is in a black t-shirt dress. Taking another sip of the iced coffee, Casey grins at Rachel and says, "When you get to fifty and can't play the piano anymore, don't say nobody warned you."
Una enters the polychrome, a small messenger bag against her left side, the keys attached to the strap jingling slightly with her steps. She moves towards the counter with a sure stride, eyes lifted to the drink menu in consideration as she approaches the counter.
Javier looks over Una briefly and then looks back to Rachel "Had to be Jose. I am pretty sure I would remember telling you about Noelle." Javier now takes a deep drink from his cup "Sadly we don't bump into each other as much as we used to so don't talk to each other nearly as much."
Rachel has watched Una make her way to the counter while she's talking to Javier and Casey then she pulls her gaze to the two men at the table and nods at Javier. "Yea, I guess it's my work hours. I've lost touch with a lot of people I used to see around a lot." suddenly she blinks. "oh hell, I forgot." then she holds out her hand to Casey. "hey there, I'm Rachel Winger."
Casey looks up as Una enters and sits up a little straighter in his chair. His expression is attentive and interested suddenly, for all the world like a canine that's caught a scent that is interesting. He nods her as she passes and murmurs, "Afternoon." He half-rises as Rachel extends his hand, looking back to her. "Casey Wade. Pleased to meet you, Rachel."
Una's gaze moves to Casey, and she studies him for a moment before nodding in return. She moves towards the counter, leaning against it as she places her order. Every few seconds, she glances over her shoulder to Casey, curiously.
Rachel eyes Casey's reaction to Una before he goes all polite and gentleman with her. "hum." then she looks down at herself and mutters. "I think I'll get a boob job, maybe that will keep me from fading into the background."
Javier looks to the time and then looks to Rachel "I just came here to meet up with my brother. I should be going. It was nice to bump into you again. Am sure we shall see each other sooner then later." Javier now stands and starts to walk out.
Casey grins at Rachel and shakes his head, declining to explain. "Your boobs are fine." He blinks. "Ah. Not that I was looking. I mean, I /would/ look but I totally wasn't. Um. Not that I /would/ would. That's like the hypothetical and platonic 'I'. The, um, everyman. He'd totally look." He's blushing a bit by the time he gets to the end of it and just shrugs hopelessly, "Sorry." He gives Javier another nod, careful and polite and then looks back to Una, giving her head tilt and glance down at his table which suggests that he's inviting her to sit with him. He remains standing, though he lets go of Rachel's hand.
Una cannot help but overhear, a small chuckle slipping out from her as she does so. Coffee in hand, she turns, moving towards Casey and Rachel. Her gaze moves over Javier, a brief and considering thing. A sip of coffee is taken, and she offers, "Hi there." It seems cheerful, and friendly enough.
Rachel waves g'night to Javier and calls out. "We can do dinner or something." then lifts her left brow at Casey. "you like putting your foot in your mouth up to the hip, don't you, Casey?" she looks around at Una when he invites her over to the table then shrugs. "I guess you'll want to be alone with her, don't you, Casey?" and she pushes her chair back from the table to stand up. A friendly nod is given to Una. "hi there."
Casey grins and says, "Toes. Tasty." He shrugs, still somewhat embarrassed but apparently amused at his own gaffe. He glances towards Una and then back to Rachel and says, "Ah, just for a few minutes, if you don't mind? I think we have some friends in common." He looks back to Una and nods again, tilting his head just slightly. "Um, Casey, obviously. Wade. I'm expected. At least I hope I am." He looks a little nervous at that thought, holding out a hand for Uma to shake.
Una looks over to Rachel, shaking her head. "I don't want to interrupt or anything," she insists, still standing herself. "It'll only take a moment," is then assured to Rachel. Her gaze meets Casey's, head tilting to do so. She takes the offered hand into her own, grasp firm but not /too/ firm. "Una Walker. A pleasure to meet you, Casey."
Rachel shrugs. "don't bother yourself Casey." she nods at Una then turns and walks away to the door.
Casey grins faintly at Una and says, "Something tells me that my awesome oratory skills already froze up the works there. And my pleasure. It's good to be in the city." He glances towards Rachel and lifts his voice a bit to say, "Nice meeting you, Rachel."
Rachel stops at the door to look back at him. "sure, sure." it seems she has no faith in most men by the sound of her voice. The door closes behind her soon after and she swiftly makes her way north on the pier.
Una looks to Rachel again, before shrugging one of her own shoulders. "Later," she offers, but only after the other woman has headed off. "Welcome to Chicago, then. Where did you move here from, if you don't mind my asking?"
Casey gives the departing woman a faintly surprised look and then just shrugs himself. "Wow." He looks back to Una and grins as he gestures for her to take a seat and does so himself. "Santa Cruz, California. Before that, Wyoming. Before that, Florida." Perhaps the last two would explain the hints of twang and drawl in his accent. Apparently he lived in each place long enough to pick up some of the local patois and those accents subtly flavor the 'TV standard' American accent that most people have these days.
"She was…yeah." Una clears her throat quietly, then takes one of the seats. "Not one for other female company, or something, apparently." Another shoulder shrug, and she leans back in her chair, looking over him a bit more. "Ah, a wanderer," she muses. "I'm from Arizona, myself, before this. What brings you all the way to Chicago? Enough Cali weather?"
Casey grins and says, "Are you kidding? After growing up in a swamp and spending my formative years dealing with Wyoming winters? I'll /never/ get enough Cali weather." He shrugs and sighs faintly, "But the doctoral program I want is at Loyola. So here I am." He shrugs and says, "It seems nice enough thus far. Not quite as relaxed but not crazy, either."
Una peers at him a bit more closely now, one brow lifted. "Doctoral?," she asks, tilting her head to the left. "What program? I'm grad, myself. Was going for childhood education, but, well… sometimes things don't work out the way we expect them to in life."
Casey smiles a bit ironically at that look. He seems used to it. "Preternatural Sciences. Specifically, in my case, Lycanthropic Studies." He looks around and makes sure nobody can hear them, saying in a quieter tone, "I'll be one of the few PhDs in the U.S. who actually can examine things from an inside view. As long as it's not /too/ inside, from the viewpoint of the Ulfrics." He nods at her comment about education, his expression going even more wry. "Shame. What did you refocus on?"
Una leans forward, sniffing slightly. "That's pretty damn impressive," she says with a bright smile. Laughter comes from her, then, and her voice lowers. "I don't think the Ulfric will want to be putting a future doctor in his belly." She takes a drink from her coffee, smiling. "I'm still not sure what I'll re-focus on. Journalism, maybe, since I enjoy writing."
Casey sighs and shakes his head, "Not that impressive. Just worked my rump off, year after year." He grins at that and adds, quietly, "Depends on the Ulfric. And what the doctor wants to study and publish. Some of our cultural quirks are, ah, best sub rosa, for now. As a researcher, I hate to say that. But there are a lot of things that Joe Average doesn't have the context to assimilate." He takes a sip of his iced coffee and then says, "And journalism is a great field. I wish my own writing were better. My papers have been known to stun water buffalo at thirty paces."
"True enough," Una allows. "There's a lot that the average human won't ever understand about us." She glances toward the door at that, to where Rachel disappeared to. "Thirty paces. That's …wow, yeah. Maybe I can get science tips from you, and I'll give you some creative writing notes," she says with a wink.
Casey smiles broadly and grins. "Deal!" He follows her gaze and then nods. "It's strange, with all of our advantages, we're still locked by biology and spirituality into a mindset that the rest of the world has moved past hundreds of years ago. But paradoxically, without it, we'd be a huge menace to ourselves and the world in general." He shrugs broadly, finishes his iced coffee with a faintly obnoxious 'bottom of the cup' suctioning noise via his straw and then says, in a droll tone, "Could be worse. We could be rabbits."
Una laughs brightly. "I cannot imagines the horrors that could come with being a were-rabbit," she intones. "The cravings for raw carrots. The stalking of celery beneath the light of the full moon." Her eyes spark, amusement dancing brightly within them. "I'll let the Ulfric know you've arrived."
Casey grins and says, "Hanging out in underground homes, inappropriate interest in herbal things, absolutely shocking love lives, shaggy hair. There is perilously little difference between a were-rabbit and a Green enthusiast, I'm afraid." He stands and pulls out a small notepad and pen (steel, rather than silver) and writes down his cell phone number, email address and the name of his hotel, handing it to Una. "Thanks. And let him know that I'm available any time, please. The last thing I want to make a bad impression on the new boss." His tone is a little whimsical at that but there is some truth there too. He reaches down and gathers up his messenger style bag, slipping it over his shoulder and saying, "It was great meeting you, Una. I hope we see each other again, soon!" With that he waves and heads for the door.
"On the plus side, at least the reproduction wouldn't occur. Otherwise the world would be over-run." Una reaches forward, taking the piece of paper in hand. "I'll pass it along. It was nice meeting you, Casey. And I'm sure that we'll see each other soon. It's almost time, after all, for the next family gathering." She wiggles her fingers in a farewell wave, watching him go.