No Good Deed Goes Unpunished (private)
Joshua was following orders. He always followed orders. He'd been out in the city numerous times since he and Mel had arrived here, and he was beginning to learn a lot about it. The layout, the streets, and such had been the easy part. He was familiar with the main thoroughfares now and was starting to learn the back roads and the little twists and turns. The city was actually intriguing to walk around and get lost in. There was a curious mix of old shops that surely must date back to nearly the point of the city's founding, nestled between skyscrapers and modern storefronts.
He was learning the culture as well, or the lack thereof. Nachton had a lot of international traffic. It was a good deal like New York city, where he'd visited a time or two, in the sense that on every street and in every store you could find people from all walks of life and all parts of the world. It fascinated him and intrigued him.
He'd found a music store, one with a huge selection of instruments and books and sheet music. There had even been a koto there, an obscure instrument if there ever was one. Josh had given in to temptation and spent a good deal of time looking at pianos. His heart might have actually skipped a few beats at the realization that he wasn't merely window shopping. He could actually have one to put in his apartment at the Den.
It was being delivered tomorrow.
Feeling somewhat frivolously light and floaty but hiding it behind his usual calm expression Josh had thanked the store manager and headed out again. As he walked, a faint smile upon his lips conveying his boundless joy and enthusiasm, he noticed a bookstore on the other side of the street as well. He figured he may as well stop in there too. He could people-watch while browsing. No problem.
For that purpose he had ordered a few new and interesting books on making natural candles using soy, palm oil and beeswax. Quite frankly he found that soy candles smelled funny. Sure they didn't smoke nearly as much as a typical parafin candle but they reacted differently with the scents he normally used and so far he had only made one or two soy candles where he enjoyed the result. Truthfully, those had been happy accidents.
Beeswax worked much better for him, perhaps because he enjoyed the natural scent of beeswax and its subtle earthy sweet smell was easier for him to mix things with. Gris hadn't tried palm wax yet but he had high hopes for it. He wondered if Kiyoshi had used any of these and figured that they could share their knowledge and possibly come up with some better candles.
He had also bought a book on how to dip and carve the intricate candles that were often sold at fairs and in little country curio shops. The problem with those candles were that to do them properly they required a lot of different vats for different colour wax. There had never been a place for him to set that kind of equipment up but he figured that he was staying here for a while, as he had promised Kiyo, and there was more than just himself interested in candle making. He would take the book with him to the next meet up and see if his friend was interested in them also. Then they could get down to the building and buying stage.
He thanked the woman at the desk and purchased his books, holding the door open for the well dressed gentleman entering the store. His next stop was to pick up some supplies.
He browsed around the bookstore for a little while, looking at the wide demographic in the store. He saw families with children, teenagers, college age kids, adults, and a few elderly. All of them seemed content to browse, save the kids. They ran about the children's section with boundless energy. Josh watched them for a few minutes, another faint smile betraying his amusement. He loved children. They were so carefree.
He picked up a few comic anthologies he wanted and headed out the door with them. Josh wandered down the Strip a way, still window shopping. He paused at a craft store down the road, and then after a bit of consideration entered it. Josh thought his rooms needed decoration. He enjoyed artwork but he preferred to make it himself, and it had been a long while since he'd had the luxury of doing needlepoint. Normally it was a nice, portable hobby but he had an image to look out for and people tended to give the hairy eyeball to the big guy in the suit doing cross-stitch.
Although he enjoyed making up his own patterns from images and pictures he enjoyed or just from creativity, he still had plenty of pattern books at home. So he left those alone and wandered into the aisle with the tapestry and floss, waiting for inspiration to strike.
Any day now.
He turned up his nose at the various shades of pink thread. Totally not his color. He did, however, pause at a nice lilac. That was different. It had potential. His fingers fell upon it and his eyes meandered thoughtfully over the neighboring colors.
First he put in the different types of wax blocks, then he bought plenty of wicks and candle colouring. Gris was not worried about getting scents from the craft store because he made his own but he looked at them anyway. While he was in that section he picked up a few new candle molds.
Touring the store, he found fine grain glitter that might be interesting. Later he found some sea shells. In jewelry, Gris picked up a few little charms. Then he found some raffia cord, tissue paper and small paper boxes.
He was wandering around the rest of the store at random to see if anything caught his eye when he saw what looked like the same guy from the bookstore. The stranger was looking over embroidery thread. Shrugging, Gris figured the man must have his own project of some kind. He had used the stuff to make bracelets in the past and occasionally the colourful string came in handy for other crafts as well.
Deciding he was done, Gris pushed his cart up to the front and stood in line. There appeared to be only one cashier and the lady in front of him seemed determined to return every button, pin and sequin she hadn't used. From the looks of the large bag in her hand, she hadn't used a lot.
At any rate by the time he reached the checkout line and its one cashier, she had just finished up with the person in front of him. Josh smiled faintly at her and began to place his purchases on the counter for her to ring up. Out of the corner of his eye he caught a flicker of color and glanced up to see a blond man in front of him, tall, maybe his own height, heading out the door. Memory prodded at him. The man wore a loosely-knit sweater with something orange beneath it. It was the same man who'd held the door for him at the bookstore.
No time to say hi however, or even to really catch a glimpse of that person. He was gone and Josh had purchases to make. Well... he had a whole Pack full of people to get to know. He didn't think he would lack for new acquaintances in this city.
He carried a reusable bag with him so he put all of his purchases in that. Thanking the cashier he headed out of the craft store. It was nearly dinner time; he could head out to the Den or stay in the city. He pulled his cell phone out and sent a quick text to Mel. She might not get it, although he had made sure her cell phone was at least present and accounted for that morning, but if she did she might be able to join him in the city later.
Josh made his way along the streets until he found a section of the Strip with several restaurants, all with outdoor seating. It was too nice a day to waste it all indoors. He took a seat near the sidewalk and placed his bag at his feet. He picked up a menu and pored over it while he waited for a server to take his drink order.
((ooc: clothing description from Gris))
There was no help for it then. He carried his bags into the restaurant and smiled apologetically at the hostess. "Sorry, I can't leave it in the boot.â€ Gris held the bags out for her to peek inside. She looked down into the opening but still seemed puzzled. It didn't seem to matter much though because she picked up a menu and gestured further into the restaurant. "Perhaps a booth for me and my date?â€
She gave him another odd look, glanced at the door as if waiting for someone else to walk inside before deciding that he must have been making a joke. Yes, indeed. Sadly, it didn't seem to be going over very well here.
Once they arrived at a booth. He settled the bags down on the seat opposite and then sat down himself. "I'll have a glass of tea, if you don't mind.â€ Gris directed his gaze to his bags. "my date, is not thirsty.â€ The hostess looked at his bags sitting in the seat opposite him and finally understood what he had meant earlier. She made a little 'oh' sound of understanding and then smiled indulgently at him before wandering off to get him some tea.
He sighed to himself, his date not being much of a talker, and pulled out his phone. Luckily, he had a book downloaded to read while he ate.
His fellow early diners included a trio of chatty women who were clearly out to girl it up and shop, an elderly couple who just appeared to be enjoying the afternoon, a young couple with a child who seemed frazzled but happy, and a single woman in a suit jacket and pencil skirt who hadn't gotten off her phone since Josh had arrived and seemed agitated about something.
Josh listened with half an ear as the woman berated someone on the other end of the connection for not having the packet she needed for some important meeting or another. He couldn't get a handle on what sort of business she was in, exactly, but then he wasn't really paying her all that much attention. He was just glad, in the back of his mind, that he was the laid-back individual he was because he couldn't imagine behaving like that and getting anything accomplished.
Soon he was enjoying a strawberry lemonade and a spinach salad with artichoke hearts. On his phone he was researching one of his weak spots and googling antique stores. Josh loved vintage and antique furniture and was hoping to buy a few items for his new home. Nothing big, just a piece here or there. He wanted something that had a story to it; he really liked that.
He didn't plan to take very long with dinner. He did want to get back to the Den and make sure everything was ready for his piano to arrive tomorrow. He was excited about it, but the only sign of that excitement was that whenever he put down his salad fork, he unconsciously drummed his fingertips on the edge of the table in a scale.
Sometimes you just wanted vegetables. It was hard to explain to his pack mates that there were times when you just didn't want to eat a heavy meal of meat. At least some of them would eat vegetables but to eat only vegetables....that was close to sacrilege as far as most R'asa were concerned.
Rabbit food, We're predators!
Well this predator enjoyed a nice salad once in a while.
He sighed softly and went back to his book. It wasn't holding his attention. The late afternoon sun that he could see through the glass door leading out to the courtyard looked more inviting. Gris spared a frown for his date. He should have thought his shopping order through more carefully. Now he was stuck lugging around wax everywhere else he went.
Worse, he needed to go to the hardware store next. He would just have to manage. His plan didn't call for a large box, thankfully. He wasn't worried about being able to lift all the supplies but brute strength did not always counter awkward bundles.
Oh, wait! He still had his luggage trolley in his car. Gris decided that after lunch he would just trot back to where he parked and get it. He could then strap all his purchases to it and pull them along. Problem solved.
He was still extremely proud of himself for coming up with a solution to his shopping dilemma and was grinning ear to ear when the waitress came back with his basil rolls. Great, now she was positive that he was a lunatic.
As he was finishing up his light meal he realized that the patio had gotten very quiet. It took him a moment to realize why that was; the couple with the fussing child had gone but so had the bitching businesswoman. He looked around to see her plate was still there. She must have recently departed. Then Josh noticed her phone also remained, still on the table, lit up with an incoming call.
He looked around quickly and caught a glimpse of her heading away from the restaurant down the road. Quickly Josh jumped up from his chair, fumbled in his wallet for several bills and tucked them beneath his plate. He didn't count; he just knew he'd left enough to cover his meal plus a damn good tip.
He reached out and grabbed the little cell phone , palming it into his hand. Then with and polite, "Entschuldigung, bitte," to a couple walking along past the restaurant, Josh vaulted over the low iron fence that separated the patio from the sidewalk and took off at a sprint after the woman in the suit jacket and skirt.
He followed her along the road at top speed, which wasn't inconsiderable as he included a good run in his workout most days. "Ma'am! Wait! Please stop!"
They headed over a low overpass; it wasn't over a regular road, merely a crosswalk over another footpath below the restaurant as they headed away from the strip. "Stop!"
Josh bellowed at the top of his lungs, trying to get the woman to pay attention but she was rooting around in her purse... no doubt looking for the very phone he was trying to give her. Finally she stopped and turned. Josh grinned ash he ran up to her, not noticing that she did, indeed, have something in her hand.
It was definitely not what he'd expected.
Polishing off his meal was no trouble; before he knew it his plate was empty. Gris shut his book and looked around for the waitress.
He found her by the entryway talking to, what he guessed was, another member of the staff. They kept looking in his direction. Briefly Gris wondered whether it was a good thing or a bad thing. Were they checking him out or was the first one warning the second one that he might need to be locked up? Perhaps it was both. This guy is totally smokin; too bad he is a complete and utter loon.
The good thing about them discussing him, in whatever fashion they were, was that he could easily get the attention of his waitress.
She scurried over to his table with a bright red blush spreading over her face and down her neck. He briefly felt some sympathy for her, even if she did think he was crazy. There was some babbling, on her part this time, about dessert, another drink or anything else she might be able to get him. Gris asked for the check.
Seeming a little crestfallen, but maybe that was his imagination, she dug through her apron for the pad that she used. He had already taken his credit card out of his wallet, so as soon as she found his check, he handed her the card.
After paying, he smiled to them both as he walked out the door.
Now it was on to the car to get the trolley out of the back. Gris rounded the side of the building and down the little hill, following the walkway that led out toward one of many paid parking lots on The Strip.
Looking back up proved to be a horrible idea. As he saw the little can in her hand his mind put all the pieces together. "No, no, here," he said hurriedly, but his words tumbled out even as he saw the spray emerge from the can. he tried to turn away and, perhaps, because of it he took less of the product to the face, but Josh still got hit with a decent dose of what was mace or pepper spray.
The effect was instantaneous, painful, and shocking. His eyes immediately closed, watering, a burning sensation flaring up across his eyelids and down his nose. He began to cough. The woman was in front of him, saying something. Funny, she still sounded pissed. Josh dropped her phone as he backed away, trying not to scrub at his eyes for fear he would spread the fiery substance.
Backing away was perhaps not the best idea but Josh thought under the circumstances he might be forgiven a little bit of disorientation and poor planning. Two steps back, he tried to turn and walk away, hands extended, but instead he found himself stumbling as he tried to draw breath. Belatedly he remembered they were on a crosswalk. Very belatedly.
In fact, it was safe to say he remembered it as his thighs hit the low railing and he began to topple, his hands clutching for support that simply wasn't there.
Oh God, he thought as he panicked. There was no righting himself; he hardly knew which way was up. He flailed in mid air as he experienced the sensation of his life passing before his eyes. This wasn't how he'd planned to go, neck broken, face first on he pavement below. Maybe he'd get off lucky and break his leg or something.
There was almost no time to consider it for his journey came to a very sudden stop - not against pavement, but against something yielding. Not soft, by any means, but it moved beneath him. Shit, he'd fallen on top of someone!
The impact was jarring, rattling his teeth. He collided with some poor bystander and they both went down. Josh hit the ground hard after that, trying to stop his momentum with a hand thrown out to the side. That proved to be unwise; he landed too hard on it and was fairly certain he either broke or sprained his wrist as there was a sudden additional flare of pain in that region.
Rolling to a stop he lay there, gasping, choking, coughing, unable to see and barely able to breathe, just trying to wrap his head around the fact that, somehow, he was still alive.
All this for a gesture of kindness... it was enough to make him consider being a hermit. And, he thought distractedly, he could still hear the business woman screeching at him from the crosswalk, although her words weren't making any sense to his shocked mind.
As he came to the bridge he heard some woman yelling. That didn't cause much of a stir, or wouldn't have, except that she seemed to be right on top of him and was screaming for someone to get away from her.
He looked up just in time to see her holding a spray can toward her victim who was backing away in obvious pain. The guy stumbled, arms outstretched. He clearly couldn't see because he was heading right for the railing.
Next thing he knew the guy was falling straight toward him. The fall wasn't far, which only gave Gris enough time to toss his bags off to the side and hold his hands up. Maybe he could have dove out of the way but it really didn't occur to him. No, instead he was worried about saving the things he had been planning on melting down later anyway. Some survival instinct.
Truthfully, somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew that he would be okay. The wax and the falling guy probably wouldn't.
The guy wasn't light; Gris found himself on his back on the ground. The dark haired man rolled off him and flopped over on his back. Gris laid there for a moment, finding the conversation with Kiyo and the blond at the camping store coming back to him. Funny, he had not considered how much a guy falling from the sky might hurt. Damn, he wasn't in his safari clothes either.
That whole thought process did not take long and Gris pushed the inner amusement to the side to take stock of the situation. The woman was still yelling but the tone had changed. She was now saying she was sorry and asking if people were all right. What the hell? First she sprays the guy and now she feels guilty?
He squinted up at her. She was leaned over the railing with a phone in her hand looking down at the both of them with a curiously worried and guilty expression on her face.
Knowing that the other guy wasn't a purse thief or a kidnapper made Gris feel a little more sympathy for the guy. He still wasn't entirely sure what had transpired on the bridge above but he had heard something snap when the other man had landed.
With a groan, Gris rolled over and took a look at the man he had 'caught'. It was the guy from the bookstore, the one he had held the door open for. That, for some reason, seemed to add further credibility to the man not being a thief. Perhaps somewhere in his mind he couldn't imagine someone browsing books and then taking a stroll for some purse snatching. Then again maybe the guy had found a new novel by his favorite author and really needed the cash right away. No, literate well dressed people generally weren't common thieves; they were uncommon ones. (Bored celebrity brats doing something for fun being an exception.)
Reaching out, he gently placed his hands on the other man's arms. The guy probably still couldn't see so Gris didn't want to alarm him into thinking he was about to be attacked again. "Hey, do you think you can sit up?â€
He was no expert but the snap had not seemed like anything large. The man had rolled over of his own accord so at least his back and neck seemed to be unharmed.
Looking up at the woman again, he saw that her attention was now elsewhere. Gris looked in the direction of her gaze and saw a police officer hurrying toward her. Great, this was about to get even more complicated.
"You know when they talk about gifts from heaven I always imagined something...smaller, lighter...perhaps even more aerodynamic." Not that he was truly complaining. He would gladly take a few bruises in exchange for hot guys literally dropping into his lap. "So, want to tell me why she maced you before the boys in blue get here?"
He suddenly felt a light touch on first one arm and then another, followed by a soft voice with an equally soft, though unmistakable, British accent. Coughing, Josh nodded in response. He could sit up; he was fairly certain everything still worked even if it all lacked oxygen at the moment.
With some assistance from the helping hands upon his arms he got upright. He could already feel an assortment of painful notifications from various body parts. He was bleeding from no few scrapes and his left wrist was clearly not functioning, to say nothing of his eyes and respiratory system, but he was fairly certain no permanent damage had been done.
He heard his helper's voice again, noting he seemed mildly amused - or at least, not put out at all, from the tone. Josh chuckled at the man's words, although it sounded pretty rough as he was still coughing. In fact, humor was a bad idea for him. The short laugh actually made the coughing worse for a few seconds.
Josh did his best to answer the question put to him in halting words between breaths. "Left... her phone... on the table," he said. He waved his uninjured wrist up at the overpass. "Gave it back... to her."
He gestured at his face, coughing again. "Surprise," he managed before he dragged in a breath and tried to hack up a lung again. His eyes were watering furiously. God, that stuff sucked. His whole face felt like it was on fire.
Suddenly Josh remembered someone had broken his fall. The rest of his face showed his alarm even if his eyes didn't register it. "Shit, someone was there. They okay?"
Words had to be choked out hastily between bouts of coughing so hopefully he was understood. Was the hapless victim all right? Josh wasn't a lightweight. He could have seriously injured whoever he'd hit. At the very least he owed them an apology and a huge thank you. He might have been killed in that fall if not for dumb luck. He was human; he did not have the regenerative capabilities of his Amaroq brothers and sisters.
Josh tried to open his eyes to see the man who was currently helping him, and because being unable to see anything at all was disorienting and disconcerting. They were tearing so much it was nearly impossible, and when he did crack them open they stung even more. Still, he caught a glimpse of pale colors in front of him. Pale with a flash of orange. Why did that combination of colors ring a bell?
Laughing out loud at the 'surprise' gesture, Gris found it all rather amusing. That was probably terrible of him but damn the whole thing was funny; though, perhaps not for this guy, not right now anyway.
He helped the man sit up and watched him for a moment to be sure he was steady before taking his hands away. Then he felt the back of his head, which had taken a hit on the pavement. It must have been fairly bad because he felt his body doing its work. The rest of him was bruised and scraped, especially his upper back. That would stay with him for a bit, certainly all the lesser ones.
The poor man then remembered that he had fell on someone. Gris felt contrite for his earlier amusement. It was obvious that guy was really worried that he had seriously injured someone.
"That would be me, Geronimo.â€ He patted the man's arm gently. "Don't worry, I will be alright. A bump on the head and a few bruises is all. I'll be fine in a few days. I promise not to sue you.â€ Glancing up at the woman, who was now speaking to the police officer, he spoke softly under his breath. "I could help you sue her, if you like.â€
Yep, that's right of all the people he could have fallen on, the man had toppled onto to a lawyer.
"Here, let me help you up.â€ Gris stood and helped the man to his feet. Wrapping a steadying arm around the guy's back, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. Doing a google search for pepper spray, Gris read the advise on how to deal with the substance.
"Do you want me to take you a doctor? I am parked near here. According to this website, a solution of dawn and water will help get the pepper spray off. However, you should probably have...your arm? Looked at. We can find somewhere to wash this stuff off and then see about some medical attention?â€ According to everything he had heard, emergency room visits without a gun shot wound, severe internal bleeding, or some other very life threatening problem were long tests of patience and consisted of mostly sitting in a large room with other people who were also waiting to be seen by some over worked doctor for 15 mins. At least if they managed to get the pepper spray out of the guy's eyes then he wouldn't have to be sitting in agony...well aside from the broken bones, bruises and scrapes and such.
"You might want to make your mind quick cause here comes the cavalry.â€ Gris smiled over at the police officer who was coming down the hill. The woman was coming down behind him at a much slower pace, gingerly picking her steps because the incline and the grass were not easily traversed in stilleto pumps.
"Joshua," he corrected between coughs. "Not Geronimo. Although maybe a name change for the day..."
His words were still punctuated by coughs although he was gradually beginning to breathe better. His face was still on fire, though, and his eyes continued to water like crazy. "I'm so sorry," he apologized to the poor bystander who'd been toppled onto and who had the good grace to actually help him out after. "Are you sure you're all right?"
As he clambered to his feet he shook his head at the mention of suing the woman with the pepper spray. She had clearly been afraid, in spite of plenty of evidence to the contrary, that Josh was up to no good (in broad daylight on a busy street with her phone in her hand yelling for her to please stop, a little pissed-off part of him said). Besides, he didn't think any permanent harm had been done. The spray would go away and his wrist would mend; he'd broken bones before.
He appreciated the helping hand though. It proved the man standing nearby was really okay; after all, Josh wasn't small and if the man could expend effort to help him get onto his feet he couldn't be too terribly injured. Josh only wished he could see clearly.
He frowned at the idea of the Emergency Room. He did not relish a long wait in a crowded hospital, nor the indignity of sitting there in a torn suit. He gave half a smile at the man's offer though. Obviously he was a good soul. His voice was mellow, gentle, with its soft accent and pleasing timbre. Josh found it enjoyable, musical almost.
He was warned about the cavalry and assumed that meant the police officer was on his way over to them. Josh cranked his eyes open, the better to actually see who he'd fallen on. Finally successful, at least for a few seconds, he was surprised to find the man helping him was the same man he'd seen in the bookstore and the craft store earlier that day. Josh stared in surprise for a moment.
"Oh, it's you," he said softly, a little smile upon his lips. That was about all he got out before he started coughing again.
"It would be nice to get this stuff off my face," he said, "and get a drink. A long one."
Preferably of the alcoholic variety, at this point. Josh wasn't a huge drinker but the evening's events seemed to warrant it. "I owe you at least that," he said. "Probably a lot more."
As they were joined by the officer and the woman with the pepper spray Josh felt himself sliding into 'work mode.' He flashed his ID at the officer and saw the woman respond to it as well; Joshua and Mel, as well as the rest of their co-workers, carried international ID cards and had diplomatic status wherever they went. It was no small thing, and it was extremely useful here. Josh hadn't done anything wrong, obviously, but he didn't want to be detained for any reason. This would help him get away quickly although he hated to abuse the privilege.
The officer had wipes in his patrol car that apparently helped with the effects of the spray on the skin. The woman, Melanie, apologized profusely and seemed bent on offering some sort of monetary remuneration in spite of Josh's protests. Once he'd cleaned off his face, however, he was even less in the mood for her company or that of the officer.
They both left with some reluctance, Melanie promising to make it up to them both, the officer with a stern look and a reminder that they should both seek medical attention as soon as possible. Having some sort of respiratory function back, Josh turned to the blond man who had helped him.
"Are you sure you don't need a doctor?"
His eyes, although watery, were now open and concerned. His voice was returning to normal. Now that he could breathe again Josh could actually converse like a normal human.
"Yeah, I am fine.â€ He asserted again as he helped Joshua to his feet.
Eventually the man was able to open his eyes, at least a little and it seemed that Gris was recognized. "I am not stalking you. I promise.â€ He grinned and then gestured to his bags. "I was going to drop off some of my purchases and continue shopping.â€
He nodded at the plan that Joshua had, which was to get the pepper spray out of his eyes and get a drink first. "I can see the appeal in that.â€ Gris shrugged a little and then glanced at the woman. "I don't think you owe me anything.â€ After all it was not Joshua's fault that Ms. TriggerHappy decided to spray him in the face for doing her a kindness.
At least she was looking properly contrite about it now. He gathered his bags while Joshua cleaned his face with the wipes that the police officer had.
It would seem that Joshua Wesson, according to the glimpse of Gris got of the badge that the man flashed, was some kind of diplomat or representative from Lichtenstein. He wasn't the only one who noticed. The woman that sprayed Joshua went a whiter shade of pale when she saw it. Gris wondered what she'd do when she found out the other guy involved was a lawyer. It seemed like she managed to find two of the worst people to assault in this part of the city. The only thing worse might have been the Mayor; Gris chuckled at that thought.
With some urging from Joshua, both the police officer and the woman left them without much trouble. She offered her phone number and name to both of them and said she was sorry over a dozen times. Gris was pretty sure that she would have hovered around Joshua if the man didn't convey in his entire demeanor that it would be unwelcome.
When they were gone Joshua turned to him and asked if he was sure that he didn't want to go to a doctor. Gris shook his head. "I'm good but you're the one with the broken...bits.â€ He smiled. "We can get that drink before or after. You're choice.â€
When he claimed he wasn't stalking Josh, Josh let a smile flicker over his lips. Privately, he thought that was a bit of a shame. Greer seemed like a decent guy. He was certainly attractive, from what Joshua could see through his heavily tearing eyes. Josh said nothing on the subject though; even if his wrist and face didn't hurt it was hardly the time and place for such comments.
It seemed to take ages before the officer and the businesswoman were gone, each millenium-long minute stretching into an eternity as he felt his wrist tighten up and swell under the sleeve of his blazer. Regardless, he didn't relish the thought of the hospital. It was probably just a sprain. He would ice it and relax a little... his life had just flashed before his eyes, damn it. He wanted a beer.
Left alone with his savior, Josh lifted one shoulder. "Nothing that won't mend," he said. He continued to resist the urge to rub his eyes; the officer's wipes had helped a good deal but he was still smoldering.
"Before," he said. "Maybe a cold brew will help the burn from that spray. It's more annoying than anything else right now."
He watched Greer carefully, surprised that having hit him so solidly, the man was up and around without a single break or sprain of his own. What a stroke of luck. Seems like they were both charmed this evening.
"Know a good place?"
He looked back up at the restaurant he'd just finished eating at; it had been pretty good. He could handle a short trek up a hill. Speaking of trekking, he bent slowly, carefully, and looked down at his leg. He could feel blood trickling down it still. The leg of his slacks was torn and he could see he'd managed to scrape much of the skin away from the side of his knee and calf, leaving him with some major road rash. Lovely. He sighed.
"Perhaps someplace close," he said, with another left-over cough.
He gave his companion a dubious glance when Joshua suggested that the beer would perhaps help whatever pepper spray was left on his face. "I guess that depends on whether you were planning on drinking it or wearing it, mate.â€ Gris shrugged. "I suppose its up to you. Normally I'd say it would be a waste of good alcohol to wear it but it would be for a good cause.â€ That and finding a good beer in the US was difficult; getting easier now that they were gaining a larger population of beer snobs. Still the standard stuff on tap at most places tasted like piss and weak piss at that.
"There is a restaurant just up the hill actually.â€ Gris led the way, looking back occasionally to make sure Joshua was making it up the hill okay.
Opening the door for his companion, Gris then entered and waited for the hostess to notice them both. When she did, he smiled and shrugged. "I'm back with my date.â€
The hostess looked at his bags and then at Joshua and then back to Gris. He simply smiled. She knew what he had meant the first time and it was obvious from her glance that she remembered but now she seemed to be doubtful. Maybe he had meant that he had a date coming the entire time and Joshua was just really late. Gris could see the wheels turning in her head. Finally he spoke. "Two for a booth please.â€
"Oh, right. Sorry, this way.â€ She blushed again and then hurriedly snatched up two menus and led the to a booth, ironically it was the same one that he had left not long before.
Greer led the way up to the restaurant Josh had just dined at. Irony. He looked around to make sure Melanie the Evil Businesswoman hadn't returned. There was no sign of her. Good. Josh didn't dislike her, exactly, but he didn't think anyone would blame him for wanting to keep his distance from her pepper-spray-wielding person for a while.
Now that the adrenaline rush was wearing off Josh's body was complaining loudly of every bump, cut, and bruise. The trip up the hill seemed to take forever, and the whole while Josh's brain wondered why they were going up, since gravity was clearly not his pal today. But he made it into the restaurant without further mishap and watched the exchange between the hostess and Greer. When he was referred to as the blond's date Joshua didn't make any correction. He stood there with a deadpan expression, waiting for the hostess to look at him, which she did, and then calmly raising one eyebrow.
Sure, he walked around town like this all the time. What about it?
No comment was made, and the woman led them to a booth. Josh thanked her before taking a seat, biting back a groan of discomfort. He was going to head directly back to the Den after this, check in with the Alpha who very fortunately happened to be Alpha Doctor Xephier, and then take a very long, very hot bath.
While they waited for the waitress Josh closed his eyes briefly, then opened them to look at the younger man sitting across from him. "So. You're a lawyer?"
It was a blunt question, but his voice was soft and curious to take the edge off the abruptness of it. Josh was curious about the person he'd squashed. Not the best way to get to know someone but definitely one of the more unique he'd experienced.
When they sat down and the hostess left, he explained. "I was in here before and my bags were sitting where you are now. I referred to them as my date.â€ Gris leaned forward. "To be honest, I think she believes me to be bonkers.â€
He leaned back and watched Joshua; the man seemed to be in more pain than he originally let on. Gris wasn't a doctor or anything but he was used to looking out for human friends; he never wanted to hurt someone with his added strength. From an early age he had been only around humans and had to learn to be gentle with his companions.
Joshua asked him about being a lawyer. He nodded and went into some minor detail. "Yes, a defense lawyer. These days more for corporations than anything else. You know, No, my client will not be paying you money for using their flammable product, which is clearly marked as such on the label, in your makeshift firework display. Please, accept your youtube following as all the compensation that you are likely to get for your hospital visit and next time remember to read the instructions.â€
"So what do you do that earns you a flashy get out of jail free badge."
The waitress came over and asked them what they wanted to drink. Gris gave Joshua a crooked grin and said. "Now is your chance if you would like that vat of beer.â€ For himself he ordered a nice glass of white wine.
As Greer leaned forward Josh's slight smile grew wider. The other man's words were still amused; he didn't seem offended or upset by the waitress's opinion. Josh tilted his head at Greer and stared at him hard. "You were just landed on by two-hundred pounds of deadweight but we're both sitting here having drinks," he pointed out. "You could very well be bonkers."
He continued. "However, that would make two of us, and I have been told I have a very serious face. Not bonkers at all."
Josh demonstrated his serious face... he'd been told it looked very much alike to his 'hilarious' face, his 'OMG' face, and his 'my puppy just died' face. That wasn't his fault, he maintained. He had emotions, plenty of them. All the time. They just... didn't always show.
He wondered what Mel would think if she were here. Josh should be howling in pain, or at the very least on his way to the hospital. Instead, he was sitting here waiting for a beer with someone he didn't know and making jokes. It was hardly his usual behavior. He thought he might be forgiven the deviance though, as he was still feeling a bit jumpy, or giddy maybe, at the fact that he hadn't cracked his head open like an eggshell on the pavement.
Josh followed along at Greer's description of his job, nodding as he explained it and feeling his lips twitch up again at the man's words. He had a very... careless attitude, maybe that was the right word. He didn't seem as restrained as Josh, and Josh wished he could figure out how to do that.
Faced with a return question about his own job Joshua gave the standard answer. "I'm an attache from Liechtenstein. I represent my country's interests internationally. I also offer assistance to my countrymen when they are in need of it away from home."
He lifted his shoulders but thought better of it, wincing and lowering them instead. As they turned to the waitress Josh raised his eyebrows and asked guilelessly, "Does it come in vats? I'd like to try the breast stroke. No? Then whatever's on tap please. Something German."
That was good enough. Just a glass, was all he needed. And then he'd be on his way and leave poor Greer alone. While the blond didn't seem to mind the company, Joshua was pretty certain his idea of an evening out hadn't included being fallen on by one hundredth of the population of Liechtenstein. Although, he mused, that would make an interesting Facebook update.