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10 April 2007 @ 04:52 pm
Bill and Emilie: Walking Home from the Round Table  
Who: Bill, Emilie
When: Tuesday of Spring Break
Summary: Before Bill flies off for warmer climes (which is initially discussed in a log that I've lost and I reverently hope Eliza still has), he stops by the Round Table for some coffee, and runs into someone he hasn't talked to in months. Both parties equally chagrinned, steps are made toward rectifying a friendship that should have been. There may be some playful flirting involved as well, but again, this is Bill and Emilie we're talking about, so no one's surprised.

After a long, busy shift at the Round Table, Emilie is more than ready to get off work. She has no plans, other than reading some books of theory and practising her violin a bit, but would rather be in her dorm than here. It isn't that she doesn't like working at the Round Table; Emilie just doesn't like working period. She stands behind the counter lazily, counting the number of chairs in the restaurant. There's a lot. Emilie glances at the clock and notices her shift is over in five minutes. Just watch a giant wave of people come in to busy her, because that's how it always seems to happen.

At the back end of the wave, with no one sneaking in behind to make Emilie have to deal with them before she can pass the apron on to the next poor sucker who has to work today, is Bill. With the crowd, he doesn't get a good look at who's working at first, paying too much attention to the board as he tried to puzzle out just what he wants to day. Finally, with the way clear, he steps up and...blinks. Blink. A beat later he smiles, though it's a little shy. Between school and all the unexpected distractions, he's not seen Emilie much outside of class since their last real conversation. Absence sometimes makes the heart grow fonder, but it breeds festering contempt just as easily. "Hey. Uh...can I get a brownie, and a double latte, please?"

Emilie hadn't been expecting Bill. In all actuality, she'd been expecting anyone but Bill. She hasn't really seen him since their little... chat, and she doesn't know if that's a good or bad thing. The sex and then the relationship changed things, after all. Emilie isn't sure how Bill is feeling about talking to her. In fact, Emilie doesn't know herself. "Hi, Bill." She smiles, because that's just polite. "And yeah." Emilie tells him the price and then goes off to prepare his drink and grab his treat. "Here you are," she says, placing them both on the counter. And now, the moment of truth. Emilie's always one to harbour grudges, but now she's trying her damnedest to get over the one she has for Bill. It's not an angry, 'I'll never talk to you again' grudge, but more of a 'wow, this makes me really sad' grudge, a grudge she needs to let go, because Bill probably has. "Hey, I get off in a couple minutes. Wanna chat?"

Bill pays quickly enough, doing his best not to look awkward as a lot of the same worries and wonders go through his own head. He smiles, quietly but genuinely, when she brings him his order, only to blink again in surprise at the offer. "Uh...sure!" He scans the cafe, then gestures with his cup toward an empty table off to the side. "Meet you over there?"

A small smile passes over her face, followed by a nod. Bill's still Bill, it seems, if not a little awkward. But isn't she awkward as well? "Yeah, okay. Give me a few to get this stupid apron off and look moderately presentable." She doesn't wait for Bill to reply, in case an exuse arises. Deciding it's close enough to her shift's end, Emilie grabs a male worker from the back and sends him to the front. Emilie doesn't know if it's his turn to work the register, and she doesn't care. She hangs her apron up and lets her hair down, combing it with her fingers so she doesn't look like she just woke up. After grabbing her purse from the workroom and tossing her nametag in it, Emilie heads out to the front to sit across-- it's very hard to not sit next to him-- from Bill. "Long time no talk to."

Bill at least has brownie to distract himself with while he waits for Emilie to come out. Thankfully, he's not in mid-bite when she sits, so he doesn't look like a total tool when he grins at her sheepishly. "Hey. Yeah, it has been. I'm sorry, for that. Things have been...it's been a very weird semester so far, I suppose it what it boils down to. But...well, job still working out, then? Things going well?" He pauses, then tilts his head. "Stuck here all break?"

Emilie sighs. It's not that audible, thankfully, but a sigh nonetheless. "Don't worry. It's my fault too." It's hard to get Emilie to blame herself, so this little bit is all Bill's going to get. "School has been hectic, and... yeah." She doesn't mention that their last encounter really jarred her, because Emilie knows that Bill understands. "Yeah, job's working out. I've finally got money so I can rent an apartment once college time comes around." Emilie reaches into her purse for a stick of gum and pops it in her mouth. "I'm not here all break, but most. I'm off Friday and Easter. What about you, Bill? Going anywhere?"

Bill nods slowly. "Yeah." That's all he says about the awkwardness as well; he was...no, he is pretty fond of her, even if he's done jack all to show it, and jack all to get to know her better outside their original flirtatious context. No time to make it up like the present. "Yeah. I'm flying down to the Keys on Wednesday, for a nice long weekend in the sun before coming back up here. I miss the sand, but...I need someplace without all the people who're gonna be in Miami." He hesitates again, then offers a little smile. "Hey, if you're off-shift, last place you probably want to stick around is here. I can get this put in a to-go cup, and we can get out of here? I can walk you home, or wherever you're going?"

There's another sigh, but this one is happier. Emilie is glad to know that Bill is not changed, because she didn't want him to be. She knows that their situation is different, but they're the same people. "Yeah, knowing you, Miami is probably hectic." Emilie smiles and touches his arm, showing that she's joking. "And yeah, I'd love for you to walk me home." Several instances of times she had been to Bill's dorm flash through her head. "Let me grab my coat." Emilie gets up to grab her coat from the rack-- thankfully not the one she had worn the day of the flashing incident-- while Bill goes to get a to-go cup.

Bill watches her for a moment, but...well. THe weather's much different between that day and today. Without The Coat in view, he doesn't have to try too hard not to think about...well, things he shouldn't think about. With a cough, and a slight blush, he gets off his tush and goes to take care of his drink. It's only a couple minutes before he can meet her at the door, brownie wrapped up and tucked into one of his pockets. "And here we are, portable yuppie at your service."

She only watches him briefly. It's hard to not think of those days, with the cocoa and the blankets. They were fun, but long gone. Emilie has Jack now, and he is fun in his own right. Bill has Eliza... doesn't he? Emilie pushes the thought out of her head so it won't linger and make her go crazy. When Bill returns, she smiles brightly at him. "Oooh, portable yuppie." She almost loops her arm through his after she puts on her coat, but refrains. If Bill offers, though, Emilie can't pretend she won't do it. "Take me home, portable yuppie."

Bill grins. "Almost as good as the portable heater, only much more expensive." He watches her for a moment, then offers his free arm as he holds open the door. He can do this for a friend. He's done it for friends. "So, now is the time I ask the most annoying question we have to deal with: where're you heading for college?"

Emilie doesn't hesitate a moment before taking his arm. It just feels right, after all they've been to together. Emilie quickly pushes the thoughts of similiar occurances in the future out of her head. "Well, I really wanted to go back to South Carolina for college," she admits, bracing herself for the cold. "But no one accepted me. Bitches." She laughs softly and touches Bill's arm. "I did get accepted into Brahman, though. It seems like a lot of people are going there, so I will too." Emilie inclines her head toward Bill. "What about you?"

"Oh, those bastards! What do they think they are, too good for you in South Carolina now?" Bill looks offended on her behalf, shaking his head as he ambles down the street with her on his arm, sipping from his coffee before he grins a bit. "Well...I'm still waiting to hear about late acceptance out on the West Coast, but honestly, with Neela..." He trails, then shrugs. "I did get into the University of Miami, but none of the other New England schools but Brahman. If I had a better idea what I wanted to do post-graduate yet, it might sway me, but as it is...close to my sister, and friends? I think Brahman may be the way the winds are blowing."

Emilie nods knowingly. "Again with the Miami," she teases. "I think a lot of us are going to Brahman. That'll be fun; same ol' friends and all. I just kind of wish I could go back to South Carolina. I miss it there. Or France." Emilie smiles distantly. "I miss France, too. But Brahman will have to work. And if we don't like it, we can always go somewhere else, y'know?" She almost leans on his shoulder, but catches her head halfway and plays it off as a hair flip. "College is fast approaching, and it's kind of scary."

Bill chuckles. "Well...to be fair, Miami was sort of...fallback. But I think they're right when they say you can't ever go home again." He pauses, then sighs. "Gods, that sounds so trite when I say it." He flashes her a quick, knowing grin. "And it's terrifying, isn't it. A bit like being at the first, highest peak of the roller coaster, and no idea when the last time anyone sent out a sfety inspector."

Emilie can't help but laugh. It's a real, geniune laugh, too, the first of their conversation. "You're a giant dork, Bill," Emilie says, shaking her head. "But it's true. College is a big step. I'm not sure some of us Eupheme kids are going to be able to handle it." And she says it like she has someone in mind, but she really doesn't.

"Oh, I'm sure we're all going to crash and burn." Bill almost sounds cheerful as he says it, eyes twinkling in response to her laugh. "It's all about whether you remembered to pack the bactine, and actually pick yourself back up again. And, well, whether you can handle the charred smell."

"It'll be fun." She says it excitedly, but there is a bit of fear in her voice. Emilie doesn't want to be an adult, not yet. She likes sitting around for hours on end reading her chemistry textbook; she doesn't want to have to actually get up and go to a boring job at an office. "What're you planning on studying?" Emilie asks, curiously. She can't pinpoint Bill's major in her head.

Bill grins impishly. "I'm taking full advantage of the fact that I can, and going in undeclared. I've not a damn clue what I want to do with the rest of my life." He finishes off his coffee, then pauses their steps just long enough for him to three-point shot the empty cup into a trashcan. He watches in anticipation as it bounces off the rim, but with a little help from the wind, it manages to go in. "Oh, he shoots he scores!" He looks back at her then, smile almost infectious. "I steadfastly refuse to let them turn this into the degree mill, grinding out some white-collar office shlub. I'll be good and take of my GE requirements first...but I'm going to scattershot them as wide was I can, and see just what the hell catches my interest for longer than four weeks at a go."

Emilie smiles when Bill makes the shot. She knows that she never could do something like that, being so clumsy. Emilie'd be lucky to make the cup go in standing right above it. "You should pick something eventually," Emilie suggests, as if she's a college dean. Not a fat, ugly dean that deserves their car blown up, but a young, pretty dean that likes talking to the male students a little too much. "I'm sure you'll find something you love. And then you'll graduate, get an amazing job, get rich, and live happily ever after."

"And then, my fairy godmother will come down and turn all the mice in the house into horses!" Bill smirks, then shrugs. "I will pick something eventually, but...why the hell should I decide what I'm going to do with the rest of my life when I'm eighteen?"

She shakes her head at Bill's version of the tale. "There won't be any mice in the house, silly," Emilie says, touching Bill's nose; she almost regrets it. "You could have a maid or... or a house that cleans itself. It'll be the future, so... y'know." She shrugs. "You should only decide what you're going to do with your life based on what you want to do with your life. I, for one, will go into some scientific or mathmatical field because that's what I love. That's what you need to do, too-- find something you love."

Bill blinks at the touch, then chuckles quietly. "That's sort of my plan. I like a whole lot of things, but...love, as in career love? I don't know yet. I think I'll be skipping the house of the future, though. Well, unless you win the Nobel Prize in physics for inventing it or something."

Emilie wrinkles up her nose in trademark style, but is still smiling. "You don't have to know yet; you have time." There goes Dean du Chatelet again. A brief gust of wind makes Emilie shiver and pull her coat closer with her free hand. "And when I do win the Nobel Prize for physics, I'll be sure to donate the first house to Bill Pendennis."

Bill sighs melodramatically, putting his free hand over his heart as he suddenly ducks his head, resting it against her shoulder as they walk. "She likes me. She really likes me!" Why was he worried about talking to her, again? Oh, right: because he's a dumb boy. He smiles at her warmly, then shrugs. "Donate the first house to yourself, though."

Her heart may or may not have done that stupid fluttery thing when Bill put his head on her shoulder. Damn hormones. The blush quickly fades from Emilie's cheeks, and she smiles at him. "Well, of course I'll get the first. I meant the first that gets put on the market, y'know?" She nods importantly. "They'll be like four million dollars. You could afford one, with your giant salary, but I'll remember this conversation and scour the globe to give you one." And Emilie will keep that promise.

"My giant salary," Bill echoes with a tiny grin. "My luck, I'm going to be balding and teaching high school drama, or something equally pathetic. Just you watch."

Emilie gasp dramatically and shakes her head. "Drama I can handle, but for the love of God, not balding!" She reaches up and ruffles Bill's hair, just in case she doesn't get another chance. "But seriously, if you go bald, you'd better get a toupee or some Rogaine." There's no smile on her face.

Bill blinks at her for a moment, then grins slowly. "I promise, I will keep my rug, even if it has to be astroturf." He pauses. "Though I'll pay for something more natural than astroturf. That green plastic crap on my scalp would be a dead giveaway."

"Yeah, it'd be a little obvious. Just a little, though." She smiles. "But hopefully you won't have to get a toupee, because then you might look like Donald Trump. That wouldn't be pretty, either."

Bill shudders. "If I were Catholic, I'd cross myself. At least I never have to worry about parring that hair with that accent. Poor, poor man." He shakes his head sadly. "I don't see how he can soothe his tormented existence, even with those billions."

"He probably cuts himself," Emilie says, smiling. "That poor, poor soul." She looks down at the ground and shakes her head. "Y'know, if high school drama teacher doesn't work out, you could always revert to being a cute ninja." Emilie wasn't sure if she should bring it up, but there's no going back now.

Bill lifts a brow at her sidelong, taking a few more moments than he probably should to answer. As if he's not quite sure how he should answer. But his tone is light as he shrugs loftily. "Oh, you know, the cute ninja market is so volatile. There's so much turnover in style, it's hard to say if there'd be any need for my sort of ninja-ing even in a couple year's time. Unless I tried to deliberately market myself retro, and really, that's so gauche and overdone these days. Next thing you know, I'll be wearing teeshirts with snappy 8-bit Nintendo jokes on them."

Emilie hadn't been expecting such a thought out answer... had she? She wasn't quite sure what she was hoping to hear, so she supposed this answer was as good as any. "I'm sure you would do fine in the ninja market. With the mob going down the drain nowadays, everyone needs someone offed at some point or another." Emilie shrugs. "And keep it quite, but since I'm really high up there on the cute ninja chain, I could arrange something for you. The self-cleaning house might have to be a bit smaller, though." She laughs, winking.

Bill mmmmms. "We are talking Yakuza, and not those Triad bozos, I hope? I can handle a little honor, and hey, all the girls like tattoos, right?" The funny thing is, Bill wasn't sure what sort of answer he was going to give before she asked the question. "But if you want to pull a few strings? Well, who am I to say no to a little nepotism in the ranks? That's what networking is all about, right?"

"You can't have too many tattoos, because when you get old and wrinkly they won't look so hot." Emilie nods knowingly, because she's seen her grandfather's tattoos. Eew. "And that's exactly what networking is for. Plus, no one would ever have to know that I helped you along. The Supreme Ninja Council is really secretive and extra ninja-like, so it'll work out fine." Emilie has no idea where any of this stuff is coming from, but it's fun.

Nothing wrong with impromptu shared reality, in the end. Bill nods knowingly, and shares a quick grin. "I don't know, have you seen some of those old Yakuza guys? I think it depends on whether or not you're walking around with art, or a crude 'Betty' mermaid on your arm who does the tail-waggle whenever you flex."

Emilie laughs and shrugs her shoulders. "Yeah, I guess. But if you're all old and flabby and bleh, most anything will look pretty yucky." At least in Emilie's opinion because again, she's seen her grand-peri's tattoos. "Although, if you're old and flabby and bleh and you cover the tattoos up, it should be fine." Another thought dawns on her, and Emilie smiles. "But if you're a cute ninja, you shouldn't ever get flabby and bleh. You have to stay in pristine physical condition."

Bill sighs. "Pristine physical condition. I suppose that does go hand in hand with all the training you need to put into being a cute ninja, huh? Well. I suppose everyone needs a goal, right?"

"Well, not necessarily tip-top physical shape, but definately not flabby and bleh. I mean, you got into the club, right?" She nods the answer to her own question. "So as long as you stay in the same condition you were that day... er, right now, you should be fine."

"Right." Bill looks down at himself skeptically -- it gives him someplace to look besides at her. Someone else's hormones are doing flip-flops, apparently. When he looks up again, he blinks once before sighing. "Aah. Delaney, here we are." Studying her out of the corner of his eye, he asks slowly, "When I get back from Florida...you wanna do lunch sometime next week?"

Emilie isn't completely glad that they've arrived at Delaney, but doesn't let it show on her face. "Yeah, I'd love that." She nods, smiling. "Have fun in Miami." Emilie waves her hands around dramatically, pulling off some really weird jazz hands. "Just call me when you get back, and we'll do it." Oh, awkward not-quite-innuendo. "Lunch. We'll go and have lunch." Emilie almost suggests cocoa, but doesn't. She wants to hug him, too, but simply stands there with her hands fumbling awkwardly at her sides.

Bill takes the awkward and throws it away. Or maybe he ramps it up, who knows. But after a moment of standing there and watching her flail about, Bill steps up and hugs Emilie tightly, murmuring, "Have fun when you get out of here yourself, and don't work too hard, okay?"

"Mmmhmm," she mumbles, breathing deeply. Emilie kisses Bill's shoulder, but lightly enough so that he doesn't notice. She really wishes she could have really kissed him, but knew they were passed that-- and it was a damn shame. "You be safe down there in Miami. If anyone gives you shit, be a true cute ninja and kick their ass. If you don't, I will." And she means every word.

They're at least past it for now. Times change, and it's hard to guess just what college will do all around. Bill steps back, though, and smiles at her quickly. "I'm sure you will. For the sake of your poor knuckles, I'll keep you out of any brawls, promise." He starts off down the path toward MacArthur then, calling over his shoulder, "Call you when I'm back!"