Archie, Nicole, and Natalie
"Jesus! For a second, I thought you were from...you know, it doesn't matter. So, you're him from the house, huh? Well, I guess we both know each other's secrets now,""I have to spend weeks digging the truth out of you, but as soon as I do you turn around and start sharing with the world?"
Archie stuttered a few times, trying to find a way to reply properly to Nicole. For a brief moment, he genuinely thought she was upset with him. These fears were quickly dissipated when he turned around to meet his friend's gaze. He still wasn't used to thinking of that word, friend. His momentary fear melted away, and he spoke in a way that didn't at all conceal his mirth. "I kinda owed her this one. She... saw me.
" He said, using his hands to try to emphasize that he was not in the same state was he was in now."Saw you?"
Nicole asked, eyebrows raised, "I guess you did say you changed. Changed how exactly? Oh, hold that thought a moment."
Turning back to the door, she went to finally lock up. When Nicole returned and introduced herself, Archie mentally face-palmed for forgetting his manners. He wasn't a complete boor though, and waited his turn to make his own introduction. Natalie shook Nicole's hand, and answered the cafe owner's introduction with her own. "I'm Natalie. Yeah, I'm not....I wouldn't say I'm antisocial. Scared of opening up, maybe? Sorry for not really talking to you before now."
Archie, seeing his chance, reached towards Natalie to initiate a handshake. "Archie. Anderson. Uh, Archie Anderson." He said, offering her an awkward smile. Nice moves, Archie. For being such a lady killer in high school, his ability to talk to women had eroded quite horribly. He had been told that by the divorce counselor, that most recently divorced men had difficulty getting back into the whole flirting-dating scene. Damaged goods are always harder to sell.
he thought, reminding himself of what he was deep down. He pushed those thoughts from his mind and focused on the woman in front of him. This was not the time, nor was it the place. "It's, uh, it's a pleasure to meet you."
She returned Archie's handshake, and reciprocated the smile just as awkwardly. It was certainly true that the prospect of romance didn't even cross Natalie's mind while talking to Archie, but that wasn't necessarily all Archie's fault. She hadn't moved on in the past two years, and had no desire to move on. When you watch the person you love murdered right before your eyes, you don't merely 'miss' them. You get horrible nightmares about their death every night."Natalie Ellis. It's nice to meet you too. At least properly. We didn't exactly talk earlier."
They shook hands and Archie, being himself, immediately feigned incredible pain as if his hand was being crushed. This was all a joke, of course. The alcohol in his system and the camaraderie or the situation was bringing out a particularly laid back side of him that was comfortable with letting loose for once. Natalie looked terrified at this, and recoiled her hand in fright. Seeing that Archie's hand was fine, the wild look in her eyes calmed down and her face relaxed. "That wasn't funny,"
she retorted, as she started giggling. Before long, she had put her hand over her mouth and was convulsing with repressed laughter. There were tears forming, though her eyes were gleaming with joy and relief that seemed alien and unpracticed in them. She'd never joked bout her power before. It was a stretch to even say she'd accepted it after all this time. She tried her hardest to ignore it, but Archie's joke had opened something, and all Natalie could feel right now was relief. She wasn't even sure why. Archie smiled and sat down at the table Natalie was had been at, as if to converse with her. This was somewhat exciting, and different but in a good way considering how life had been as of late. Since Nicole was locking up, he figured it was probably a good time to get out of her hair.
"Do you two want to head over to the The Tír na nÓg?" He said, throwing a thumb over his shoulder to the door behind him. "Might stop other late night strays from thinking this' a good place to get some coffee.""I'm not sure about drinking right now,"
Nicole hedged, "Especially right after coffee. I suppose we could go for the atmosphere though, it'd be nice to get out of the shop for a while."
"For once, I agree with you." Archie commented, glancing quickly to his coffee but not saying anything further. "But as far as bar food goes, it's pretty good.""I don't drink, but I wouldn't mind something to eat. Besides, if I didn't go out with you guys, I'd probably just be sitting in my apartment. I could do with this,"
With that, the three set off to the bar together with a feeling of contentment that none of them had felt in a while. They entered not long after the Fosters had left, and did their best to ignore the crime scene not far away. That was life in this city, after all.