WHO: Logan and Zoe WHEN: July 21st WHERE: Roof of the Market then resident apartments WHAT: Repairing stuff and shoving a foot in ones mouth WARNINGS: Low, social awkwardness STATUS: Complete
Her normal duties were put aside as the island recovered from the hurricane. She was well suited for helping out the maintenance staff in fixing the small and big things that had been damaged thanks to the storm. Zoe found herself on the roof of the market, fixing the power generator as it had blown due to a short during the storm. There was a back up keeping the lights on now, and by the end of the day they’d have regular power back.
She was wearing a t-shirt that was old and could easily get torn or dirty in her and she wouldn’t mind and a pair of jeans with a work belt. “Can I get the wire cutters?” She asked the other tech assisting her as she was basically under the generator. Her hand reached out down her side and when she felt the tool in her hand she pulled it back and continued to repair the machine.
“Welcome.” A man said.
Zoe furrowed her brow as she finished replacing the wire and scooter out from under the generator. Her eyes cast upon Logan. “You’re not Greg.” She hummed. “He finally manage to get reassigned?” She asked, tossing the tool back into the toolbox as she wiped her hands off on a rag hanging from her belt. Her blonde curls were pulled back and out of her face in a mess of a half ponytail-half bun. “I don’t think he likes me much- or likes working with a girl. Practically rolled his eyes out of his head when he saw he was assigned to work with me. Between every job he was on the radio trying to get reassigned.” She shrugged, she didn’t want to work with someone who disliked her and let his work slip because of it. So she was glad he was gone. Though she didn’t expect to see Logan in his place.
“Not today,” came the quip of a reply.
He wasn’t Greg by any stretch of a measure and Logan was glad for that. Greg was a good duck, but an odd one. Maybe Logan was a little bit odd, too. “Yeah, just now.” How this place worked still confused him after all of these years. You could get reassigned on a whim, start a job and not be able to finish it or give an update or report.
Instead of commenting on her bit about working with a woman, Logan cast a glance in the direction Greg went. He assessed the air and then turned back to Zoe. “I don’t mind.” A hand was offered to her in effort to help her up.
“Shame. You’re great to work with.” He considered it the loss of the other man.
Her lips purse in a small smile as she took the offer of his hand to get up. Her other hand tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. “Thanks.” She said in reply to his comment and assistance, trying not to blush a little. It was hard to tell if it was working, but her cheeks were feeling warm.
“Okay.” Zoe cleared her throat and turned her mind back to work instead of her new more attractive co-worker. Greg was even older than her than Logan was, and balding and looked kind of like her mailman back home who used to be extra friendly to her step-sister whenever they happened to cross paths. Logan was definitely a step up, even if it did mean she’d been fighting a losing battle of how long is too long to look at him. “I think that should do it. I replaced all the shorted wires and the melted seals.” She took a step back and looked at the generator for what could seem like a longer time than normal.
Even with her analytical mind, Zoe had yet to figure out exactly how her understanding of machines worked. It was like a gut feeling. She just looked at something, and she knew what needed fixing- and when she took it apart she just understood how it worked or as she messed with parts of something she knew how they could fit into something she was making. It made very little sense what she knew and what she didn’t. It made even less sense how it came to her. “There’s a few parts that may need to be replaced soon- but I don’t think they’re broken yet.” While she’d never had a job she couldn’t finish, there had been a few instances where she had a couple false starts. She looked to Logan. “Wanna do the honors?” She asked, gesturing to the power switch.
In this sticky heat it would’ve been a challenge to decipher blushing from warmth and being overworked. Logan didn’t put much into it though the way her lips twisted up and the way her eyes narrowed a touch had him guessing that whatever was going through her mind at the moment wasn’t attributed to the daylight.
He didn’t hold her hand any longer than he had to. Once she was upright he let her go and focused on the task present.
Over her shoulder Logan peered at the project. He assessed it, considering the things she had completed and anything else which might need to come next.
“We can write it up in the report and hope that the parts can get ordered. If not, I guess I’ll be seeing you up here again to fix this thing.” It was probable that someone else would just be assigned to repair the machine. The assignments often were random and unpredictable.
Nodding at the switch, Logan moved easily around Zoe, pressed the button and waited to see what would happen.
“The list of things to order I could make.” She mused. Granted she didn’t know what all the parts were actually called. So there would be a bit of deciphering. ‘The part that regulates the heat in the system that shuts it down if it gets too hot’ isn’t exactly proper mechanic-speak.
Her hands at her sides, Zoe crosses her fingers as he pressed the button. There was a whir and after a moment the fans turned on and full power was restored to the Market. “Yes!” She said quietly to herself, pulling a fist inward slightly in celebration with herself. She didn’t want to make a bit show that she’d done it, remain professional. “Well that’s done.” She said grabbing the clipboard from the floor as she made some notes on what she did.
Flipping the pages she furrowed her brow. “Looks like Greg grabbed the other assignments. You have any that need done?” She inquired at him with a slightly arched brow.
He was sure she did. He could’ve said the same thing - parts to order to be more efficient, to keep the same things from breaking. The Government didn’t want to spend any more than they had to, they believed in band-aids as opposed to actually fixing things.
Glad that things seemed to be working well, for now, Logan turned to look at Zoe.
“Just some things at the apartments.” There were a few tickets for inside the apartments that he was used to filling. It seemed that even in the aftermath of the storm the typical residents were still after having their own things repaired.
“Cool.” She smirked. “Let’s bust them out.” Quicker they got done the quicker… she could clean up her apartment. Which she’d been postponing.
Zoe cleaned up and grabbed the tool box. “I heard you were quite a hero during the storm.” She small talked as she walked to where the ladder sat on the edge of the roof. It’s not that far down, one step at a time. She reminded herself, much preferring the ground to heights. Once they were on the ground she adjusted her tool belt and set the box down so she could pull down her hair to fix it back up more securely.
“At least we don’t have to be moving rubble or moping up mud and dirt.” She mused.
He blinked, not expecting for Zoe to come along. He was grateful for her help regardless.
“What are you talking about?” He inquired, watching with mild interest. He was no hero. He hadn’t been the one out fighting the storm.
Following along he descended the ladder once Zoe had made it safely down, and moved to pick up the toolbox so she didn’t have to carry it. He did it out of fairness and politeness, not to prove he was any better.
“I like the dirt.”
“You helped guide and shield people from the wind as they ran to safety in your big wolf form? Sounded a bit heroic to me.” A few people who’d seen him had commented while cooped up. She knew immediately who they were talking about.
Zoe couldn’t help but laugh. “I don’t mind getting dirty.” She said, realizing if she paused, it could be taken in the wrong way. “But that doesn’t mean I want to be on mop duty. Let me be productive, do something I’m good at.” She paused for a moment as she let him lead the way and spoke up before he could give input after a moments silence. “And I’m fully aware that moping can be deemed productive and that it’s probably really hard to be bad at it.” She tucked some hair behind her ear and into the hair that was pulled back to help it from falling again.
Logan nearly flinched at her tale of what she called heroism. Had he had hackles they would’ve raised with discomfort. So much for privacy. “Yeah, not that big of a deal.” He didn’t mean to sound harsh. He just hated being so exposed. “I didn’t do anything. There were others out there who did a lot more than I did.”
His jaw set and an exhale came through his nose slowly.
A glance would be cast in Zoe’s direction at the comment. “Good to know.”
Zoe nearly facepalmed herself. “More than most.” She shrugged, letting the silence fall over them. He’d said before he found comfort in silence, maybe she’d give it a chance.
She walked three steps before a few memories flooded her, other times she’d been embarrassed in front of someone. She shook her head slightly and tried to draw something up to read, review. For the first time she couldn’t think of anything. It was like looking at a fridge and seeing all the food but just not knowing what to eat.
Zoe slipped a hand into her pocket and found her keys to fiddle with. “So, Kyrie and I were talking about maybe asking if the people in charge might be willing to hold a dance for everyone.” She mused to fill the silence that had lasted almost three minutes (but felt like an hour).
That wasn’t validating. He didn’t consider herding a few people into shelter heroic. But he wasn’t going to argue with her either. It didn’t matter what who did what, as long as everyone was safe.
They walked in silence for a while and he basked in it. Approaching the buildings he looked at the particular residences he knew he had work in.
When she mentioned Kyrie, Logan had to wrack his brain to place the name to the face and he was coming up short. “A dance?”
“It’s stupid, I know.” She admitted. “We got to talking and neither of us had a traditional schooling experience. We’ve never been to a dance. I suppose the adult version would be called a ball?” Zoe shrugged. “We thought it could be fun. But it’s probably a bit too juvenile.”
She followed him and tried to change the topic to work. Work she could talk about without stepping in it. “So, what’s first on the list?”
“Why is that stupid?” Logan inquired. Not every idea was necessarily stupid or wrong, at least not in their infancy. “Why not ask?” The worst anyone could say to them was no. Knowing what he did of Zoe he knew she could formulate an argument which might suffice to get what she was after.
“Who would you want to go with?”
And then she brought up work. “One fourteen.”
He was right, she could probably argue a logical point to get a lot of things if she really wanted to. But she was pretty simple in wants. “I don’t know. You think it’s something people would want to go to?” She asked. “Not too ‘high school’?” If anything, Kyrie really liked the idea. And had a cute guy to ask.
Zoe blushed at his question and nodded to the room number. “Cool. Okay.” She started to walk in front of him, knowing the way to the apartment and felt the need to not look at him while she continued to shiver her foot wholly in her mouth. “I’d probably go solo.” Unless someone asks me.
“I don’t think it’s high school,” he confirmed, shaking his head. Maybe it would be good for morale. The people needed stuff to look forward to in an effort to keep them happy. He doubted he’d go but who knew?
She didn’t answer his question which was about what he’d expected.
Letting the subject go for now, Logan nodded and pressed onward, trailing behind. “Solo?”
“Yea solo. Well if Kyrie doesn’t ask the guy she likes I’ll go with her so she’s not alone. But I don’t know who I’d ask- or if I could ask.” The latter muttered under her breath. “There’s not a ton of available guys my age either. But there’s also nothing wrong with going alone.” Zoe excused. “Besides, I don’t actually know how to dance.” She said as she stopped at the appropriate door and raised her hand to knock.
Logan listened to what Zoe was saying about the question he posed. “Maybe in that situation you’d find things different.” People tended to act differently when faced with situations of such kind. He wasn’t blind, Zoe was a very pretty woman and he doubted nobody at all was interested in her.
“But you’re right, there’s nothing wrong with going alone.”
He didn’t know how to dance either.
Waiting behind Zoe, Logan anticipated the job ahead.
“Which situat-” She started to ask as the door opened. Zoe stopped and turned to the occupant. “We hear you’ve got some stuff broken thanks to the storm?” She said with a smile.
They were let in and informed- or verified from the work order that Logan had- that the bathroom had gotten flooded and now the toilet didn’t want to flush and the bathtub didn’t want to drain and the sink wasn’t running water. Zoe nodded and looked to Logan. “Sounds simple enough.” Possibly. Maybe.
As they moved to the bathroom she glanced back to Logan. “So… I’ll admit, when it comes to plumbing I may need to read up a bit. My gifts don’t really work outside of the mechanical aspects of the appliances. When it deals with pipes and water, I’m just normal.” Well normal for someone with a high IQ.
Attention was given to the resident. As they were allowed in he could get a sense of the urgency in the persons voice as the story was recounted. Steps would bring them to the bathroom and also to an inch or two of standing water from the storm.
“You’re always normal,” Logan commented, nodding at Zoe. Gently he bypassed her, gathered the tool bag that she had brought and began to remove the things he thought he might need.
Minding the water, he looked at the pipes below the sink, the ones behind the toilet, and then the ones visible in the tub. They were going to be here for a while.
“I mean… I don’t just know the answer…” Zoe said, blushing a little. ‘Always normal’, that wasn’t a phrase she was used to. Growing up as the ‘gifted’ child and then developing powers after that, her life had been anything but normal. Abnormal, and boring. It wasn’t a combination she relished. “I can already tell there’s nothing mechanically wrong with anything… maybe clogged pipes or a leak somewhere? It didn’t get cold enough for anything to freeze.” She tried to start running through things to rule out an investigate as Logan started to look at stuff. Or, she could just let him take lead and tell her what needed to be done. She was already started to recall anything she’d read or seen on plumbing- there wasn’t a ton- just in case.
Silence passed over again as he worked, she tried very hard to just let it be, but not focused on a project it ate at her. “So, did you go to any dances in the time you were in school?” Zoe almost immediately regretted asking.
“That’s not a bad thing,” he assured her. Nobody always knew everything and it was alright not to know something. It was about learning to do things you weren’t good at and applying that knowledge constructively.
He listened to her summation of what could be wrong, nodding at her. It could’ve been a combination of things, only one thing, or nothing at all. “Probably a clog somewhere.”
Tools would begin working on the piping starting at the sink. He worked diligently, albeit quietly, until the question was posed. “Not really.”
She passed him items as he requested, acting as support for once. It was okay not to know something? Zoe couldn’t say she fully agreed with that. She was used to knowing things, at least things that she deemed important. And when she didn’t she learned them- hopefully before she needed to know them. Finding a gap in her ‘data’ was something that made her feel lacking. It was one thing to not get a pop culture reference. It was another to not know something she was expected to be good at- like the way the pipes in a home worked. Sure, it was out of her scope, but from the outside, with everything else she was a ‘know-it-all’ about they’d… let’s just say she was glad it was Logan and not Greg there. Otherwise, she probably would have to listen to him gloat. She never gloated.
Zoe tilted her head slightly as she exchanged out a tool for him. “‘Not really’? How does one ‘not really’ go to a dance?”
As Logan went through what he was doing he began to describe the primitive process to Zoe - each action, what tool, why it was important to the grand scheme - so she would have a better understanding of how this worked in case it ever happened to her.
He wasn’t gloating, he had no right to do such a thing, but he would teach her.
Grasping the next tool after handing the previous one back, Logan lifted his head and looked over at her. He studied her for a moment as if trying to find a good answer, pushing down a bit of defensiveness. To keep from snapping at her, Logan simply shrugged his shoulders and went back to the task.
Zoe chewed on her lip, she recognized his expression, his reaction. It was one she’d become familiar with at home. “Sorry.” She said softly, “I know I ask a lot of questions sometimes.” That need to understand things, and there were some things she just didn’t seem to be able to grasp. “How about I stick to work related ones.” She said, agreeing to the terms on her own.
She kept watch on her hands, not looking at him directly as he continued to work. With the amount of debris the storm kicked up, it would make sense that it could have made it into the system- especially if the window had blown open. Then as water drained, it pulled leaves and dirt down the drain. It seemed logical.
Logan sighed softly. He felt a twinge of guilt for not him willing to answer her question - it was a natural question to be asked to such a vague reply. “You don’t have to apologize.”
Once more he went back to the task ahead. One of the pipes below the sink was pulled free once the water was off, and he inspected the U-Bend for debris.
“But I do. I don’t always get people and don’t always know where the lines are. I used to have someone to help me with that, but he wasn’t sent to the isolated island like me. So, I’ve had to go it alone. And it’s hard. Which is why I probably keep to myself a lot. I understand machines better than people, which is probably why I made myself a friend. That’s not even including when I have to be around someone who’s attractive and I don’t know how to act. I finished puberty years ago, but I feel like I never experienced it like other kids. So I don’t quite know how to deal with all the feelings I get around people who I think are hot. Especially when they’re also nice, smart or have some other quality that is good. Not that I actually expect anything to happen with any of these people- especially those who have a decade on me. But that doesn’t stop the feelings. So, I end up asking questions- not all appropriate or welcomed. I have to fill the silence with noise because otherwise I feel like my inadequacies are on display and everyone is judging me for them- especially the person I’m trying to associate with. So, I’m sorry I pushed and asked the wrong questions. I didn’t mean to offend you. You’re a really nice guy and I like that you like to fix things like me. But you’re also cute and I know there’s no chance anything will happen- but I still don’t know how to really talk to you.” Zoe wanted to say.
But she didn’t. She remained quiet and let him work. She was hands, a tool for him to use to get the job done in that moment. To try to combat her anxiety over the silence she recalled the music she’d listened to the last time she was at work.
He couldn’t tell her about Casey or Cece, it hurt too much. Everything reminded him of her, even here in this strange place of isolation. It was the reason his apartment was nearly barren, void of any life or color, artwork or personality. He couldn’t confess that he was the one who had done it and that the reason why he hadn’t moved on was because the idea of hurting someone - anyone - again was too much of a burden to take on again. That he was afraid of trying to let go of the past and take hold of the future, that chasing the bottom of a beer bottle or his own tail was easier to wade through than feelings.
So he kept quiet, kept to himself, kept working.
Once in a while he would trade a tool for another until finally the issue was resolved. Each upset appliance was mended. Fans would need to be brought in to soak up the water and dry the floor so that could also be repaired.
“Done. Gotta get some fans so we can come back later and fix the floor. This apartment unit is going to have to be condemned, I think.”
“At least until the risk of mold can be ruled out- or dealt with.” She added with a sigh. The storm had destroyed so much, it was quite depressing to see how ill prepared everyone had been.
Adjusting her belt she followed him out. “Thanks- I learned a lot watching you.” It was all filed away now, ready to be recalled along with all her insecurities. At least the mental soundtrack had ended up being nice. “I should probably get back to my own place. I have a lot to clean up.” She tucked a stray hair behind her ear. All the humidity had her hair a bit frizzy. “I sort of left Juane with a basic command, I’m curious how well he followed it.” She’d decided that her little friend was a ‘he’. Of course the robot didn’t actually have a gender, but she was used to her best friend being male, so it felt comfortable to refer to him as such.
Whatever came next wasn’t his problem until he was the one having to repair it. If the Government wanted to salvage the place they would. In the meantime they needed to finish getting the floors dried and the unit back in running order.
Leading Zoe out, Logan swept up the clipboard and paper, jotting down a few notes. He’d call for the fans to come once he went back to the shop. It wasn’t super pressing right that moment. When she thanked him he glanced up from the paperwork.
“Cool. See you around, then.” The comment was offered with interest, but his gaze had gone back to the page and writing continued. “Say hi to your friend for me.” Maybe the robot wouldn’t care so much either way but the idea of it was neat.
“You’ll be okay then? With the rest of your list?” Zoe waved her hand. “Of course you will, forget I said anything. Take care… I’ll see you.” Her apartment wasn’t far. She was curious if Juane had accomplished anything with his ‘pick up and put in the bin’ task she’d assigned him. The storm had broken one of her windows and while she’d gotten lucky with minimal water damage, all of her stuff was blown around so there were lots of parts and half assembled machines scattered over her living room.
She stuck her hands in her pockets and turned her back to him as she walked away. Maybe she’d text Kyrie. Confide in someone over how much her foot was shoved into her mouth. Maybe find out if she’d seen the tattooed guy again. Zoe could live vicariously through her friend- right?
He blinked at her when she waved him seemingly away. “Sure, cool.” It was all he could managed to utter before she was wandering off towards her apartment. “See you around.”
A wave and a nod would be given though by that point Zoe was already wandering off. Logan sighed, turning and busying himself with the paperwork, willing to drown himself in it like any respectable human being.