|Jocelyn Klaes || Hel (tohelandback) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-05-15 19:57:00
|Entry tags:||fenrir, hel|
What you trying to say? That you don't wanna play?
Who: Jocelyn & Abel
What: A chance encounter
Where: Pax Letale, 5th floor hallway
When: backdated to Wednesday, May 10 - sometime in the afternoon
Jocelyn exited the elevator and made her way down the hallway towards Nishka’s apartment, humming softly as she went. Her friend had texted to let remind her that she was going to her new art class after work, and Jocelyn had made plans to relax and take advantage of her friend’s television for a few hours.
After a few discouraging days of apartment hunting - it seemed like her settlement wouldn’t go very far living in Newport Beach - she had finally decided to put in an application for an apartment at Pax Letale. Which, in fact, was the errand she was just returning from. She wasn’t really expecting to get a “yes” back, but it was worth trying before she started thinking of where to go next.
She reached the door, and slipped her hand into her pocket to retrieve the key. The humming faltered as she frantically searched her other pockets, and then stopped entirely as she groaned, tried the door handle, and finally thumped her head against the door.
“Well…shit” she muttered.
Abel caught the bare end of the expletive leaving the young woman's mouth as he exited his own apartment. Diagonally across from Nish's 502, even if he was uncomfortable with the prospect, he'd be required to walk past the stranger standing in front of his fellow tenant's door. Luckily -- perhaps for both of them -- such discomfort did not exist in his mind.
"She throw you out?" It was easy to lapse back into his toothy grin, forgetting the circumstances that had him carefully ensuring that his and Nish's paths did not cross; at least, not until he had better control over what exactly had happened. The destruction of his apartment door had been dealt with as the floor changes faded, leaving everything feeling like the shitty aftertaste of a hangover after a long night clubbing. "She's temperamental like that."
He took the few steps between them, closing the distance, hands slipping into his pockets along with his own house keys.
“Noooooo…” she said slowly, her tone uneasily balanced on the razor edge between laughter and outright hysterics. “I’m just the idiot who forgot to take the key when I left to go drop some paperwork off and locked myself out.” Head still resting against the frame, her shoulders shook with silent laughter.
Abel's head knocked back, a quiet 'ah' on his lips. Then his brows drew together in mock concern.
"You mean to tell me Nish's got a subletter?" He let out a low whistle, the edges of his grin still apparent around his mouth, giving away his joke. "Not sure Stephan would be too happy to hear about that. What'll you give me for my silence?"
With her head still resting against the door, Jocelyn hadn’t seen the signs that the man was joking. She stiffened and whirled around to face him, eyes narrowed, hands clenched at her sides. When she spoke, her voice was chilly - but almost admirably restrained, really, given her apparent inability to mask her body language.
“Not that it’s any of that asshole’s business anymore, but I doubt he’d care - given that I’ve been a friend of her family for so long that I’m practically her little sister.” Rob and Stephen had been years older than her, but there had been enough summer cookouts and other get-togethers that they had crossed paths on a regular basis growing up.
Abel's brows rose, confusion then making them draw together across his forehead.
"I wasn't aware that the building concierge was a family friend of hers," he replied. "And to be frank, I could give less of a shit who she lets sleep over." His eyes narrowed at the young woman's face, something in the back of his mind nagging -- a similar feeling to Nish or Rafe, though closer to the latter. Something unduly familiar that he could not name, and, at least this time, something far less hateful than he'd felt for the other two.
"I guess that makes it awkward, though, to go ask for a spare, now that you can't get back in?"
Her eyes widened, and her mouth drew into a small ‘o’ as her body language relaxed in a single breath. She laughed, her head ducking forward so that her hair hid her face. “Well, I’m making a right hash out of this, aren’t I?”
She looked back up and smiled awkwardly at him. “I didn’t realize you were talking about the concierge. I thought you meant-” She shook her head, as if the motion might clear her rattled thoughts. “Sorry, I really shouldn’t have gone off on you like that.” Of course he didn’t know about the other Stephen. Why would Nishka have told anyone about him?
“The concierge knows that I’m here. I was just down talking with him a few minutes ago.”
A small ah sound broke free of Abel's throat, his head tipping back in acknowledgement. He offered a small shrug, noting the information regardless.
"We all make assumptions," he replied, as if trying to put her at ease. He offered her a hand in proper, polite greeting. "Abel Parrish, 507. Are you looking to make this place a permanent residence?" He wondered how much Nish had told her; about the building, about the dreams. Perhaps, even, about him.
Jocelyn tensed again, almost imperceptibly, and hesitated for a breath before she slipped her hand into his for a brief handshake. “Jocelyn Klaes,” she said as her mind raced, trying to find a polite way out of this conversation with a man that Nishka had, in fact, warned her away from. Vehemently warned her away from, though her friend had been uncharacteristically stingy on the details as to why.
“I’m looking, yes. But I gather that it comes down to whether management wants me here.”
She didn’t understand what was going on. She could understand being tense - especially given how many boneheaded mistakes she had been racking up in the past ten minutes. But the fact that she was bouncing between tense and angry and relaxed and at ease, from one minute to the next, almost one heartbeat to another - well, that was wrong. What was it about this man that was dragging her so off balance?
"That's the general way of things," he agreed. "They're very picky. But the fact that you're already here probably says more than you might think." He could not place the feeling of deja vu, so he disregarded it; instead, he focused on her profile, on her movements, on the way her voice sounded, all things for later deconstruction and analysis.
"I'm sure if Stephan is happy with you, he's probably already put in a good word. Couldn't say if you've got a chance or not. You joining us on the fifth floor?" He could easily read that she wanted to get away, which made him want to trap her all the more; the only rub in that plan was the appointment he was due at, which would look poorly on him if he was late. Maybe just a few more minutes. He did so enjoy making other people squirm, and he'd had too little of that as of late.
“I, uh…” she looked down the hallway, as if she expected Nishka to, against all odds, suddenly appear and come to her rescue. She shook her head, “No. One of the one bedrooms downstairs, I expect.” He was too close for her comfort, and instinctively she tried to take a step backward to open up the distance between them.
He followed her movement, stepping into her personal bubble. Hands lingered outside his pockets, hanging by his sides loosely as he worked a smile off of his face.
"Oh? Nothing in here is that expensive. I suppose it depends on what you do?" The statement-question was an inquiry, though spoken in monochromatic tones. His eyes never left her face, his height making him somewhat tower over her in the close space of the hall. It would've been good timing for Nish to suddenly appear, but Abel would use the scene to his advantage for as long as he could.
“Yes... well…” another step back. “I prefer to not spend more than I have to on living space.” Her skin prickled, and it was all she could do to not turn tail and run. Something told her that this was someone whom it was not safe to try to outrun. Every inch of her was screaming at her to run, get away. Now! And, stuck between those two impulses, she stood there, frozen.
Something in his pocket buzzed; his phone. Abel's attention diverted, he looked away from Jocelyn as he withdrew the device and glanced at the screen. It was the attorney prosecuting the inmate he was due to interview; a man who was a real thorn in Abel's side as he insisted on being part of every step, regardless of the needfulness of his engagement. He huffed quietly, ignoring the message and sliding it back into his pocket. There was no need to piss off random people, and if Jocelyn was moving into the building, there'd be more time for similar encounters later.
"Sorry to cut this short," he offered, finally stepping away. "But duty calls. Good luck on the apartment. I'm sure we'll run into each other, again." One hand lifted in a mock wave, he finished moving around her and headed for the elevator bay, where he paused long enough to call one of the shuttles, disappearing inside it as the doors opened wide to embrace him.
Jocelyn stood in the hallway, unmoving and barely daring to breathe, until Abel disappeared into the elevator. She watched the indicator light descend through the floors, and only then did she draw a long, ragged breath. Her legs wavered and threatened to go out from underneath her. She carefully slid down, until she was sitting on the floor of the hallway, knees drawn up to her chest.
She sat there, until she was certain that she was calm again. Until she was certain that he’d be out of the building. Then, cautiously, she stood back up and went to find someone to let her back into the apartment...