1963-11-03 - Coffee, Lies, and Spies
Summary: Barney savors freedom from jail. Jennifer savors freedom from assassination attempts. Silencer savors rescuing scarves.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: None
barney jennifer silencer 

Everyone who bothers to wander out into Brooklyn in the morning ought to have a cup of coffee. Maybe several. The brisk wind is not doing any favours to ladies in their dresses and businessmen running for the buses and trains feeding over the bridge into tonier areas.

Jen, however, works here and thus blitzes the local bakery for a box of croissants. Coffee is already had in a paper cup she has probably finished three times over by the time the croissants arrive. These might act as a midnight snack. The down side to being her, and fabulously green most of the time lately, is that her metabolism literally can eat her out of a bakery. Or a restaurant. Or a supermarket.

For the moment, though, she's just herself: brunette, calm, waving to Mrs. Milani, the keeper of all things pastry and breakfast. The GLK&H office is just around the way down the main drag, but there is something to be said for how beautiful the autumn can be, when bundled up appropriately. Her bright red and blue scarf flaps around behind her, a bit of a cheerful note. Don't look too close to see the webbing pattern.


"…the deal was for half. Half. That or no deal, mate. Bloody amateur…"

Terry Walker hangs up the handset in a payphone booth, swearing in his Australian accent and shaking his head a bit as he steps outside. It was not his intention to be in Brooklyn this morning — but recent… misunderstandings with his co-workers have had him running errands to try and clean things up.

Some of those errands are here.

There short-haired Aussie merc casts a glance either way up and down the street, pulls out a cigarette and lights it up. Passing by a bakery — and a leggy brunette in a hurry — he pauses outside, contemplating something to eat.


It's amazing what a hot shower, a shave and clean clothes can do for a man. Back in a suit and tie, Barney's got a longer coat over it all and a light wool scarf wrapped around the back of his neck. He's got hands in his pockets, headed up the street towards the bakery, blue eyes keen on his destination. Coffee, donut, and with the newspaper that is tucked tightly under his arm, maybe, just maybe a chance to enjoy it without the possibility of 'falling down more stairs'. Bruises on his face are gone, scrapes are all but healed, but there are a couple of cuts left. (Soon enough, they'll be gone, too.)

There's a familiar-ish face coming from the bakery, now. One he'd run into… where? As Barney slows his pace, he's working his memory as to where he'd seen the tall woman- a-ha! Harlem. Coming out, well, while he was being thrown out of Waters' printing office.


Barney's coat is closed only but a couple of buttons, but enough to keep most of the wind off, and he speeds up for that cup of coffee. He starts to pass the Aussie, catching only a hint of that accent before he's past, and he keeps his eyes forward, but there comes a hint of a smirk to his face. Maybe things won't be so quiet?


A place in Harlem, a girl looking for a rather notable gym. A young lady who had few compulsions about capturing a lookout in one hand, and possibly hurling a car after trouble.

Even in her regular form, Jennifer is notable if only for wearing a suit. A lady's suit at that, but she does have trainers on rather than a pair of high heels, a deviation from the norm acceptable given she has to traverse the unfortunate gutters full of runoff and New York trash. Maybe there's even a run up the stairs from a subway line. Brooklyn, the heartland of practicality in the boroughs, has slightly lax standards compared to Midtown. Her coffee is sipped, the black poison a fabulous diversion.

"Pardon me," she tells the Australian, squeezing out the door with her fresh box of golden horn goodness. The wafting scent is probably mouthwatering. God knows she would tear into it if a storm of flakes and a smug look were acceptable.

Her calm expression is friendly enough, even if her thoughts are spinning. It might not be immediately that she notices Barney but, soon enough, she will. Things tend to imprint themselves on a lawyer's memory. Like, you know, being shot at in a certain man's company.


"Pleasure," Walker replies with an all-too-obvious look over the lawyer; his expression is something of a combination between: 'women can be in business now' and 'helloooo, beautiful'. Still, he steps aside to let her past, but doesn't go into the bakery yet.

Still smoking his cigarette.

The former soldier does another look around the street — noting Barney, if only a little — and leans a shoulder against the shop-wall by the door.

He smirks.

Somewhere nearby a conversation goes a bit quiet — not enough for most people to notice, but still… a group of old ladies start raising their voices to be heard… to no avail.

A half-second later, the lawyer-girl's scarf mysteriously unravels 'in the wind' and falls to the ground. Walker appears to notice some seconds later and goes to pick it up.


ROLL: Barney +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 52


The chances of being shot at have risen exponentially while in Barney's company, unfortunately. And as days progress, weeks and months, the count of how many want to see the man dead and buried will climb. Now that his name has resurfaced in certain circles, it's only a matter of time.

But right now is the time for coffee, and there's a gentlemanly wait for Jennifer to exit the establishment before he is ready to step in, letting the smell of fresh pastry wash over him, even for a short moment. He's got coins enough for a cup of coffee…

But one usually recognizes one's 'own'. It's one of the survival instincts that is honed from Day One. While not completely sure, there is the decided subtle tells that only one 'in the business' would pick up from someone like Barney. Places of cover, surroundings, ever aware of surroundings, and escape routes. No shame in an ordered retreat!

As Barney has the door open for said leggy (gotta be the legs, right?!), that breeze sends the lady's scarf off, and he allows the door to close in preference to reaching for the bit of fabric. Seems the other man has the same intention, and he straightens, allowing the other to do the gentlemanly thing, though keen blue eyes watch the interaction. Is she a target?


That pretty scarf effectively shows all the hallmarks of someone with a taste in yarn. It's soft, rather than a printed cotton or silk thing. Attorneys make big bucks if they have a certain set of equipment, and next to nothing when they are minorities or the second-class sex. Albeit GLK&H breaks with tradition for the most part, doubly because that woman there holds the account for the Fantastic Four in her hot little hands. And something about Stark Industries. She dared to challenge Howard Stark on a kidnapping, though the papers did not bleat loudly about it. They might have, knowing she was capable of turning into the 'best costume: Liberty and/or Justice statue.'

Still, that girl has enough manners hammered into her California upbringing not to shy away from giving thanks where it is due. For someone holding the door open for her, for a friendly nod in the street, or someone stooping to capture her rogue accessory wandering away. It's a blustery day. Such things happen, even in sheltered doorways to a bakery.

A smile touches her mouth anyways, kind rather than the stomach-clenching expression her alter ego tends to inspire. "Have a fine day," she says in passing, though the stilling of certain factors stands out. Some habits die hard, especially when they literally involve dying in the street.

She looks back. The mild glimmer of her grey-blue eyes alight upon Barney. She tips her head. "This your way of saying sorry, sir?"


In the next moment, while the scarf is being retrieved, and the gentleman doing the courtesy disappears, Barney is left at the atrium. He watches the other man tuck in and head off before he returns his attention to the lawyer. "Ah…" he starts before a ghost of a smile appears, "Sure. What was I apologizing for again?"

Barney steps forward and hand darts out in order to theatrically snap his fingers, the smile growing. "Warning you before you were shot. That's right." He bobs his head, pressing his lips together, and for that moment, the expression on his face matches his eyes. "You're welcome, darlin'." A glance down the road is given, even that a bit theatrically, and brings his hand out in grand gesture, "Need an escort again?"


The scarf is taken back, wound around her neck where it belongs. She tucks the ends under her coat to avoid the same problem happening a second time, the safekeeping of her precious acquisition requiring a few more moments to set herself to rights.

"Yes, those lovely high calibre weapons that men like to wave about in lieu of…" Her lips touch the rim of the cup, never finishing that sentence. Jen doesn't really need to, eyeing Barney through her glasses. Nothing implies a willing and readiness to bite his head off. "Do you think I'm at risk of being harmed here? Oh my. I wasn't aware I was remotely of interest to anyone."


Barney never did get that coffee, but no matter. Not right now, anyway. Instead, he pulls his coat a little tighter around him, rolling one shoulder a little more than the other for it to sit right. Brows rise and he chuckles, "You never watch spy movies, huh? Bond? You were sent to the wrong address. I didn't realize that until it was almost too late. So, I guess that's a question you need to answer, darlin'. Who did you tick off enough that they were willin' to set you up in the first place. Mob? Labor Union?" He's ready to start walking again, and shoves his hands into pockets as he does so.


That coffee will presumably be had if they go back into the bakery, but not a chance of Jennifer darkening its doorstep. She testifies to the sensibility of attorneys, or the fact they are evil incarnated, by walking much. "I read them." Well, there's a start, she is a Fleming reader. No doubt the world is all boiled down to martinis, hot women, and fast cars written by a man languishing in sunny Jamaica. Her shoulders tip back. "You'd be surprised. Probably grandma unhappy I got her a good insurance settlement. You tell me." She walks alongside him, and if her bullshit radar is pinging at the salvo of missiles, nothing is revealing that fact on her face. Maybe she'll humour Barney.


Bookworm? Can't go to a drive-in and read!

Barney glances up to see if she's 'with' him and when he gets that basic confirmation, his attention moves back to the path before them. "Must have come from someone you know well, too. You were pretty insistent on the address even when someone else told you that it wasn't there." His tones are so conversational, he could be talking about the weather or traffic, or even the plans and preparations for the upcoming holiday and not the fact that he's giving her fair warning that she may be the object of someone's lack of affection.

"Couldn't tell you. I'm workin' with what I know, not what I don't know. Harlem. Heart of discontent and depression. Someone tells you that there's something you like in an area that no cops like to enter. 'Sure', you say." He looks up, brows rising, and he studies his companion for a long moment before he shrugs with a single shoulder.

"You don't have to do anything with it. And maybe grandma appreciates all the work you done for her."


"Sad to think that corner of the city has been so forgotten. And you, up to all kinds of good or none at all, fighting the good fight?" Another sip of coffee is taken with an eye for how long the next pot will be. Jennifer is not an addict, she just cannot sustain much of a buzz off it when her body identifies the drug and obliterates it ferociously, all the more so when she's tinted the colour of a tree's foliage. "I will keep it in I mind. Though I have more to do than worry about someone shooting me. They kill me or they don't. I keep living until I don't." That's something of an alarmist statement from a woman not even at her twenty-fifth birthday, but gravity is sort of her profession's armour.

She shrugs about it, and then gives Barney another of those little smiles. "Gotta make the best of what you have."


"That's me… spreading all that's good and kind," is given in amused dry tones. It could be! Barney shrugs into his jacket again, proof against the chill. "Don't say no one said anything." He's given warning, and all that's left is coffee. And a bagel.

Street vendors are everywhere, and particularly for NYC bagels. Coins are pulled out of a pocket, and he tamps other pockets to see if he's got enough for a cup of coffee. As quickly as he'd made money only days ago, it's gone. Accounts are drained. Finding another quarter in the corner of a pocket, he pulls it out and gets his coffee, black, and a buttered bagel.

"Lemme guess. Person who gave you the bad info was a friend from work, right?"


Coffee and a bagel. Or her box of croissants. The paper cup is getting low, but Jen probably has every last place that schleps coffee memorized from here to the far side of Brooklyn. She gestures towards the vendor with her cup. "Refill if you please. Thanks, Pete." Yep, she knows Pete, the guy who gives her a smile and she smiles right back. A few nickels and a dime are fished up, shared over, and she holds up her hand. "Keep the change, you keep a girl going. Say hi to the missus and the boys for me."

It never hurts to be friendly, even when one represents profiles of clients above the street and below it.

"Newspaper clipping and references in another gym. None were targeted at me. You had a good yarn going, though," she says cheerfully.


The coffee is sipped first, tentatively, then a swallow once it's determined that it won't burn his throat on the way down. Each in turn, though that left arm is a little stiff in the way he moves it. Barney shrugs now, given the new information, and chuckles before he takes a bite of his bagel. With a half-mouth full, he continues but it's offhand. "If you say so. Whoever it was wasn't shooting at me." He'll concede the setup, but he's still pretty sure there was a hit. Matter of how.

Wait a second.

And he should care why, exactly? Barney looks at the lawyer again and waits for her to finish with the vendor before he takes a step further. He doesn't. Not really, but it does bug him that a contract slipped through and he didn't see anything for a lady.

No women, no children.


"You never know. Your charm could have been the reason. I've seen it before, jealousy, anger, mistaken identity. You say the wrong thing at the wrong time, or there's no reason at all. You get in the way." His own words might be nearly thrown back at him, if Jen were mocking him. She isn't. Not on the surface at any rate, partly distracted by chatting up Pete for a few moments more. He fills off her coffee and waits with that pot, awaiting her to sip and hold it back out for a top off. He'll shake his head. She'll drop another nickel in the jar, and duck her head to blush because the routine demands it.

There it is, the sip. "That's fresh, goodness. Next time, I blow on it," she says, blowing out a stream of air to cool the black, molten surface. "Oh goodness. You were smarter, waiting." Still, she holds out the cup. Pete obliges. "Thanks, good fellow. I'll have Edith's lemon chiffon pie recipe out of her before Thanksgiving, you know it. You tell her I'll cross my heart not to share it." The gesture is drawn, just in case he needs some serious backup.

Knife through the ribs of guilt, no doubt. Pete. Edith. Ronald and Peter Jr. That's how it goes.


Barney's seen it all before, and he shrugs again. He's got the 'whatever' vibe going now; he's said his piece, and if she chooses to take it, fine. If not, well, all's well that ends well. He raises his coffee as he stands just a little way off, and with another sip of his coffee, he washes down whatever he's not yet swallowed.

"I guess you'll be fine, then." It's the best he can manage and still sound sincere, and a step away is taken. "I'm sure you got this." Barney's got the tell-tale manner of departing, and to underscore it, he raises the hand that holds the partially eaten bagel slightly into the air. "Take care. Happy Thanksgiving." If nothing else, he now knows the name of the street vendor, the wife, and the fact she makes a killer lemon chiffon pie.


"Happy Thanksgiving. Try to keep out of too much trouble, you know it?" Jennifer pops the lid on the cup, jostling the box in her other hand. She might be able to break things apart easily enough when tall, but not so much in this stage. Still, it matters that she goes to the gym, that she practices this way, and it all transfers to better character overall. With a glance to the newspaper and then the man, she says, "See you around."

In one way or the other, maybe they will. Then she legs it for GLK&H, to avoid being late and having Priscilla stare her down. No one ever upsets Cilla without consequence.

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