1964-12-23 - Get Yourself a College Girl
Summary: Remy's back in town and Vesper is his first stop.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
remy-lebeau vesper 

Nightfall comes early to New York. By six, the darkness sets in thoroughly over Washington Square Park. Vesper maintains an apartment not very far from New York University, a third-floor unit in a four floor building whose claim to fame is a nearby bakery. Christmas has never been a serious affair for her — neither in Paris or Cambridge. Tonight is little different as she reads over her notes. A string of fragrant greenery edges a makeshift mantle formed above a built-in bookshelf. Several bowls and spoons sit upon the counter beside Mastering the Art of French Cooking by one J. Child. The pages marked by copper darts attest to a baking regime. It smells of lavender, thyme, and lemon, comfortable scents but not the heavy spice of Christmas.

Thrilling life, isn't it? The Mezieres girl thumbs through the pages idly and the radio plays ballads with a vaguely seasonal tune, forgotten. Her thoughts are elsewhere. They often are.

It's been a solid handful of weeks since Remy showed his face in New York. Personal business dragged him away, and complications kept him absent longer than he'd planned. Now that he's back, he's sought out a friend. He's got an unwrapped rose (red, naturally) in one hand, which he bites down on so he'll have both hands free.

Rather than the front door, he's opted for a more creative approach. Right now he's standing on the roof and looking down over the edge. A quick breath, half of it exhaled, then he leaps toward the neighboring building. After a brief descent, he catches a windowsill to halt his fall. He pushes off with his legs and launches himself toward Vesper's building, catching himself similarly, but this time on her fire escape.

Once he's hauled himself up and dropped into a comfortable squat, he spits the rose out into a gloved hand and uses the other to rap lightly on her window.

Such a place speaks to her origins plainly. Elegance in details are far away from the shag carpets and hideous textures beloved by Sixties styling. The radio shifts to a Bing Crosby tune, Christmas Is A-Comin' as his mellow, sterling voice rolls out from the speakers. Long fingers tap against the crisp edges of the French cookbook that Vesper surveys with the dogged focus usually turned to sequencing lysine. Who knew these compounds were comparable to the challenges of biochemistry? How can the Brits be so good at one and so terrible at others? Inexplicable to her.

Her auburn hair is pulled back into a chignon and the swan line of her throat bare of its usual colourful scarf. She toys with the thin gold necklace untucked from the boat neck of her sweater. A thump of feet on the adjacent rooftop will not interrupt her. The music swaddles her as much as the soft chenille does. A creak on the fire escape possibly rouses dim awareness over Bing and his chocolate-smooth chorus. He's not the one singing to the rattle of a glass pane. Head turning, the doe-eyed girl surveys the wall and window in kind. Searches do not come fast. Rising out of her seat sends the marked pages spilling on a rapid descent to the floor and landing cover-down.

Not reaching for a knife, a good sign, isn't it? Her milky complexion cannot possibly lose more colour, dark brown eyes dominating that fey face. The window is unlatched, pushed up while the curtain frames her shoulder. "Mon Dieu. Remy…?" A mere whisper of perfect Parisien French. "«What are you doing out there? You'll catch your death of cold.»"

"'Allo, p'tit," the thief greets. He's got a lopsided smile on his face as he offers up the slightly bedraggled flower. "The coat. The coat helps, but it's still cold. Tu ten sors? (Doing okay in there?)"

He looks a touch rough around the edges, but it's Remy. He spreads his hands and bows his head in a grand display of helplessness. "No killing Gambit for surprising you? Good. May I come in? I positively hate the cold. And no offense, but you look like you could use some help."

Cold such as this state possesses comes as a shock to her, the child of the other side of the Gulfstream. Her fingers stray unconsciously to her neck and tease the fine cherry-brown strands, nails leaving a serpentine brand by chance. It helps not that her tongue cleaves to her hard palate and refuses to unhinge itself at first. He is subject to the tyranny of her unblinking regard from beneath demurely lowered lashes, a stitching left to right taking in his entire state.

Alas, she may disappoint him by not swooning into a heap on the floor. Grand romantic gestures meet with the Gallic aplomb that compresses her full mouth into a slight pout. All she can do not to lick them, stepping back. A window separates them, the warmth of home and the chill of the street, the ingenue and the thief. "Come in." Anno Dracula, let's pray she did not do wrong. But he has lounged at her counter and drank her coffee, bantering easily, on enough occasions. Pink blushes her cheeks for a moment, fading out moments later. "Something to banish the cold? There should be something." Her mind turns to the cabinets, hitched on a point. "Help? Whatever do you mean?"

And of that flower, once he is in she will take it. Shock is still keeping her on the back foot.

The sight of the cookbook elicits a raised eyebrow and a hint of a smile from the Cajun ne're-do-well. "I'd take a drink if you have something. It looks like you plan to cook, but you don't know what or how."

As always, he's bold to the point of being brash. He takes a step forward and squares his shoulders. "You also look like you seen a ghost, mimi. Relax. I'm not dead yet."

Vesper's teeth sink into her lower lip at the same moment she curls her fingers around the slender, bitten stem of the rose. "This calls for a rope," she murmurs en francais. Alas, her chandelier is of common stock and not the sort to support Errol Flynn-style ventures any time soon. However, there is a fine restaurant down the street…

She lowers her nose to catch the fragrance in the bloom, if any, pirouetting upon her toes to face the counter. Not just any pirouette; hers is that of a trained ballerina, and she leaves that executed grace behind her. Bait the hunter, and evade, allowing him to pursue. Remy receives a look back over her shoulder. "Bordeaux Medoc wine would be best. I am making ramequin du juste milieu," a puffed cheese dish in a flaky pastry, "and beef tenderloin with roasted aromatic vegetables. Something harder?" Dinner is a more complicated affair, but then, so are they. The very slightest smile appears at the corner of her mouth, that damn coat doing its magic. Imagine the coat versus a magical doctor's cloak. She twirls the flower in her fingers, hand pressed to the counter. Oh, the things that propriety keeps her from doing and saying. Diving right in would be much easier with a fondue stick and bit of herbed bread.


"Ves." He's always been light on his feet, but this time Remy has outdone himself. A few silent steps bring him up behind Vesper. A soft touch to her shoulder spins her around. "No wine tonight, chere."

He holds her eyes for a lengthy, weighted moment before he lets her go, both physically and proverbially. The smile is still tugging at his lips when he bows his head apologetically. "Tch. So rude, I invite myself to dinner. Mon pere would be furious."

The cellar — a pantry cupboard, to be sure — consists of a fair few bottles of red, white, and rose varietals. Can take the girl out of France, but not France out of the girl. A touch brushing over the soft ice-blue chenille brings her to turn again, pinned in against the counter and the taller Cajun. Between a rock and a hard place, she raises her chin for a moment.

His red-on-black eyes should terrify her. By rights, they mark the differences, but her own sedate, sepia irises conceal the blue electric angels that sing every time her genetics express themselves. Sinatra on the radio bubbles, a dip in his croon hitting the baritone range and jumping up to alto that never happens in the real song. A bubble pops audibly. Her moue smooths out. "Your father would be furious for silence to a lady, then inviting yourself to dinner. I can forgive some sins," says the living saint. Just wait, the halo shows up sooner or later. Her rose is tucked into a glass, water from a pitcher poured in. Remy is a conundrum and still there she is, reaching out to brush her fingertips against the cuff of his coat sleeve. "No wine, mon cheri? Bon. Something else?" Open those doors, check what's inside. How bold of her. "Open the oven, take out the top dish carefully. The casserole can use ten minutes longer."

"I only say I don't bring wine. Not that I don't drink it." Remy shoots a wink at his hostess.

As requested, he moves toward the oven and cracks it open for a peek, then lowers the door. Rather than a mitt or a towel, he wraps his hands in one of his coattails when he removes the dish and sets it on the stovetop. "Ahh, excellent. Now I helped. If its good, I get half the credit."

He turns back toward Vesper, still looking every inch the well-dressed rogue. He's got a suit on under that coat, after all. He ruffles one hand through his scruff of a beard. The other brushes briefly against the back of Vesper's.

See, the sophisticate in Vesper acknowledges the need for wine. She dips down to gather the required bottle by touch, extracting the deep ruby Bordeaux and wiping off the cork. Coming up with a screw will take only a few moments and that's on Remy to do. "Will you do the honours of opening it, s'il vous plait?" Certain degrees of heat radiating from the interior of the oven bathes them both and the Gallic brunette hastens to find the platter and a good knife to cut the tenderloin with. Not the first time he has had a girl shaking a blade in his vicinity, perhaps?

"The instructions were clear and the market had fresh vegetables. I think it will turn out well. Though are endives so rare?" A sigh lingers on her lips. Yes, those New Yorkers, confused by fennel and endives. She lacks a deep insight to apple pie, a tradeoff. Lips curved to a smile in spite of herself, she holds still, fork in one hand. Distraction, next exit on the right, quarter mile at 60 mph.

"Have you been keeping well? It must be lucrative business."

"Everything I do is lucrative," Remy admits. "Unless it's altruistic, but that's when I'm feeling misguided."

He accepts the wine bottle, but eschews the corkscrew. Instead, he draws a triangular-bladed poniard from the depths of his voluminous coat. It's used to skewer the cork and twist it out neatly. clearly a maneuver he's performed countless times. "I've been well enough. And you, minette?" he asks.

Rather than waiting for Vesper to produce glasses, he makes himself at home and searches cupboards until he comes up with two. Wordlessly, he pours for them both, but he holds the lady's eyes while he does it.

"Misguided by altruism?" The notion warrants a laugh. In her dulcet French, Vesper can afford to be mildly poetic and certainly sardonic. "Is that what you consider good deeds to benefit the community? We need such things - altruism and humanism - more than ever. A blue alien had to walk from the stars to remind us collectively." Headline news screamed around the world, consistent messages beamed from sea to sea cannot escape even those in the depths of the bayou or locked in dusty basements.

The pop of the cork leaving the neck of the green bottle begets a sigh from no lungs. She watches the timer for a moment, gauging more by scent than anything else when the meat will be done. Never mind the lurch of her heartbeat when he speared the wood. He might catch her surprise there, the slow resuscitation. Frank squeals in the living room again. Her fingers take the stem of the glass, accomplished at that. "Buried in work, trying to pretend all is normal. Nothing truly is, but the conceit is nice."

I've missed you. That look and the text between the spoken words cannot be overlooked by anyone with three braincells to rub together.

Remy softens for a long, long moment. In that moment he's no longer the rogue, thief, or mischievous troublemaker. He's a man who's a long way from home and has found something that makes him feel a little closer and more comfortable. Happier.

When he hands a glass over to Vesper, he holds onto it long enough to cover her fingers with his while he meets her eyes. And I've missed you.

Like hers, there's no mistaking that look. When he releases Vesper, he stays close to her and takes a long sip of his wine. "Delightful," he says, though from the way he's looking at his friend, it doesn't seem like he's talking about the vintage.

"You know I'm not comfortable being… good." He waves a hand vaguely, as if to dismiss the sentiment. "But I do what I can."

"Good takes different shapes. Helping people, rescuing them from bad decisions, defending them against aggression. Write better laws, find cures to disease. All ways of being good, Monsieur Robin Hood." She lived long enough in England to pick up the stories of the band of Merry Men marauding Nottingham. Doubtful he wore a brown leather coat and preferred staff to bow, but the historical record never said he was a mutant.

A sip of the wine satisfies Vesper. His hand? Another notch right up there. Her pearl fairness means blushing is done easily, even when accompanied by a smile or the heat of a crushed grape bloom. The glass set aside, she means to go to the oven.

The meat won't burn to a crisp if she does not, assuredly. The shallow rate of her breath and uptick of her pulse is a damning sentiment.

Words, girl. "You do the best you can, Remy. And that is oft enough. Give more as you are willing." Somewhere, the nuns are circling with their rulers in her mind. Awkwardness in the sentiment of her own kitchen is far from defending her beliefs against a panel of scientists disinclined to respect her because of the additional X chromosome.

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