Log:Careers Coffee and Contingencies
It's early evening and the sun is at an angle that causes reflections to bounce around throughout Big Ben's, casting a few rainbows here and there against the tables, and some longer shadows around the periphery. It's there, on the periphery, that Morrison sits at one of the round wooden tables, his back to the wall on one of the bench seats, with a cup of coffee in front of him as well as the remnants of a sandwich he'd picked up. He'd gotten off shift from the factory earlier and had gone home and changed, so at least he's not covered in grime as he eats his dinner and watches people come and go.
Jade comes in with a book bag slung over one shoulder. It's brown leather, high end stuff. Everything Jade has is high end stuff. He's a Marchant. He looks around, frowning faintly to find the cafe pretty full at this hour. Ugh, tourist season is beginning. The frown disappears when he spies a familiar face, and there's a seat at his table. He approaches Morrison and smiles at him. "Hey, do you mind if I join you?"
Morrison's eyes shift toward the movement when Jade approaches. Even those sitting at the table next to his seem to be sitting a bit further away from him than strictly necessary. Without much in the way of expression, he shrugs a shoulder and says, "Sure." There's no particular reason to deny the Marchant the seat, after all, and he's certainly had worse company. Besides, it means he doesn't have to snarl at a tourist if one was unfortunate enough to ask. He lifts his cup of coffee and takes a swallow from it, looking Jade over for a moment, saying nothing.
Jade sets his bag down on the floor near his feet and takes a seat at the table. "Thanks," he says, "it's getting crazy this time of year. Pretty soon we won't be able to find a table at all." He starts to offer his hand to Morrison, then hesitates. "I don't think we've ever been formally introduced, but I'm a friend of your sister's. Everyone calls me Jade. I know who you are, though. You're the boxer."
"I know who you are," Morrison says when Jade introduces himself. "You're Theo's brother, and my brothers, Landon and Lucas' cousin." He still claims them as brothers, even after the fact that they are not, in fact, blood related, came to light. Though it's true that they've never really been formally introduced, because it was hardly necessary. When Jade says that he knows who Morrison is, he snorts just a bit and says, "You were there for the show at the park. If you didn't before. I'd assume you do now."
"That was just Cash being Cash," Jade says, "I don't pay it much mind. He means well, but he doesn't communicate very well face to face." He waves a hand, like he doesn't put much stock in it. "Besides, every story has two sides at least. Besides, with Landon and Lucas, you're practically family." He smiles sunnily. "Amy looks up to you, and I don't see her looking up to too many people, so you must be something else."
Morrison gives another snort at Jade's commentary on Cash, apparently no more deigning to address the teen now than when Cash'd gone off on him at the park. He holds his cup out as a server passes so that it can be topped up, and then he adds some cream into it. He only nods once when Jade mentions that every story has two sides, at least. That much, he can agree with, it seems. Then he actually laughs, and it's probably startling enough to the locals that know him that a couple look over in his direction. "Yeah," he says, "I'm practically a Marchant." That statement also gets a snicker or two from some of the other locals nearby.
Jade makes his order for an espresso drink, and then he grins at Morrison. "Only if I get to be a Lester," he says. It's no big secret that Jade is a fragile creature, in and out of the hospital in his youth, fighting to survive from day one. A punch from him would probably feel like being savaged by a kitten. Lester, indeed. He shoots a glower at one of the snickerers, and it's kind of impressive how he can run hot and cold so fast. That look could kill, and when he turns his attention back to Morrison, his countenance is gentle as a lamb's.
Morrison looks Jade over and says, "Sure, if you survive the beating, you can be a Lester." Is he serious? The delivery is deadpan, but it's followed a moment later by a wolfish smile. "Stick to being a Marchant, Jade. With that look? You're better suited to it." Does he mean Jaden's overall appearance, or the withering stare that he gave to the snickerers. It's hard to tell, exactly.
Jade smiles as he says, "I guess I am what I am." Yeah, there's no way he'd survive the beating. "I like watching the fights, though," he says. "There's something beautiful and visceral about the raw physicality. Amy says she wants to be a fighter, and I think she'd be good at it. She gave me a bloody nose once." Not something Jade seems to hold a grudge about, since he speaks of the Lester girl with a certain amount of fondness.
"I'd be surprised if she didn't," Morrison smirks as he sits back in his seat, picking up the half of his sandwich that he hadn't finished and takes a bite from it. There's a reason he stayed Amy's hand at the park. He was more than certain she'd have punched everyone there if given the opportunity. She was still young enough to not have learned control, something that Morrison had much less of when he was younger.
It's highly likely she would have, yeah. Jade smiles up at the server who brings his espresso. He takes up the tiny cup in his hand. "So are you going to go pro? I'm surprised there's still people in town that are willing to go up against you in the ring." He takes a tiny sip.
"You need to do a lot of work in the amateur circuit before you can go pro," Morrison says. "I'm still working my way through those tournaments. But yeah, I'll go pro eventually. There's still plenty of guys out there who want to take a piece out of me. I don't win them all." It's probably the most that Morrison has ever said in one go in front of Jade, but it is a topic that he's comfortable talking about with strangers, after all. It has to be, if it's going to be his career.
Jade nods as he listens, and he seems genuinely interested. Hey, just because he can't take a punch doesn't mean he doesn't enjoy watching people beat each other up. "Is there any animosity outside of the ring, or do you take it all out in the fight? I know the competition can get pretty tough just from watching." He perks up, then asks, "Do you ever have to fight someone you like?"
Morrison shrugs his shoulders, "Only if they're an asshole." He's aggressive, and violent, and powerful in the ring, but generally speaking, unless someone pushes /his/ buttons, he doesn't /start/ things -- he just finishes them. "Competition isn't about animosity, it's about outmaneuvering, outlasting, and overpowering the other guy, and coming out on top. You carry too much rage, too much baggage and shit with you into the ring, and you get sloppy. You're not thinking about that leading shoulder, or the weight shift that means that another shot is coming in high or low. You're too busy being pissed off, and that's what gets you KO'd." He takes another swallow from his mug of coffee and then smirks, "You're presuming I like anybody."
Jade says with a crooked smile, "You have to like someone. Or at least tolerate. Even I like people, and I'm pissed off most of the time. I'd be a terrible fighter." He takes another small sip from his tiny cup. "So for you, it's about controlled violence and the art of it? That's pretty cool."
"I'm going to fight people anyway," Morison says, a touch of a smile on his lips. "May as well get paid for it." It's the same thing he'd said to Jade's brother not that long ago. "At least it's given me enough discipline not to beat the shit out of random people when I'm pissed off most of the time." Most of the time. Except for on those nasty full moons, or when his temper gets the better of him, but that's neither here nor there. "That's what I'm trying to teach Amy, anyway, how to channel that anger and use it to power her fighting, rather than let it get out of control."
"She does kind of have a temper," Jade says delicately. "She'd be a force to be reckoned with if she learned to use it to her advantage. I love how fierce she is. I just worry she's going to beat on the wrong person some day and get into real trouble. Especially now that we're eighteen. No juvie anymore for bad behavior." He shakes his head. "I'd break my hand if I hit anyone. I just have to appreciate it vicariously."
Morrison doesn't react poorly when Jade mentions that Amy has a temper. Water is also wet. These things are simple facts that generate little to no emotional response in the Lester. He finishes off the remainder of his sandwich and then shrugs, "She'll be fine." He's clearly not worried. But then, worry doesn't seem to be in his vocabulary, either. "Buy a gun," he suggests. Because it's very clear he's not about to suggest Jade attempt to learn how to fist fight.
"Do you think I should?" Jade says. "I carry pepper spray, but a gun would be a lot more decisive. Of course I couldn't carry it at school. Maybe Dad will get me one and I can keep it in a safe until I need to take it out. Because there are people I wouldn't hesitate to shoot if they gave me a reason." And that's a perfect reason to own a firearm. "I'm not a killer, though. I'd go for the kneecaps."
"Not unless you learn how to use it properly," Morrison says with a faint smirk when Jade asks if he should. "Stick to pepper spray, Marchant. Go for the eyes." He leans back into the bench seat, draping one arm along the back of it, and settles in with his coffee now that his sandwich is done. He glances around the room for a moment, just taking in the people present who have come and gone while they've been talking, and then looks back at Jade.
"Oh, I would go to a firing range," Jade says. "You have to practice something like that, I imagine. Do they have human-shaped targets at the firing range? It would be kind of macabre if they did, but cool. I mean it's not like I'd be shooting at circles in real life." He takes another small sip from his tiny cup, and it's almost gone. Espresso doesn't stretch very far. "So what kind of person does a guy like Morrison Lester like? Or at least tolerate?"
Morrison just nods as Jade talks about going to a firing range and says, "They do," when he asks if there are human-shaped targets to be shot at. Though he doesn't elaborate much more than that. One brow raises just slightly when Jade asks what sort of person he likes, or tolerates. "Why do want to know, Jade? What does it matter who I tolerate or not?"
Jade smiles and says, "Maybe I like listening to you talk about fighting," he says. "And I'm curious. You're interesting, and that's more than can be said for most of the people in this town." He glances around at the other cafe goers as though they were so very far beneath him. Yep, he's a Marchant, born and bred. "I'm just making conversation, anyway."
Morrison considers Jade from across the table, studying him with a kind of assessing gaze, still barely an expression on his features, that neutral countenance giving little away of what he might be thinking. "Why am I interesting?" he asks, finally, as though that statement piques some curiosity in him, as to what exactly it might be that Jade finds interesting. He doesn't bother to look around at the other cafe-goers for the time being. He's already done a sweep of the room. "You don't have to," he points out, about making conversation. "You could sit here and not talk to me at all and it wouldn't bother me."
"I want to," Jade says. "And you're interesting because you box, because you're related to Landon and Lucas." Even if he isn't really. "You know Theo. You didn't beat Cash into a thin paste. You're easy on the eyes, which is always nice in a table companion." He shrugs a shoulder. "I admire strength, and you have it."
"I don't beat up eighteen year olds," Morrison says somewhat flatly about Cash. Because that sure as hell isn't strength. His cup of coffee is set down as he continues to listen to Jade. Perhaps it's unusual for him to have anyone /want/ to talk to him. Most people /want/ to avoid him, or fight him, or need him to do his job at the factory, but almost no one wants to /talk/ to him, aside from family. "I like people who know what they want, who will work for it, and who are willing to put in the time and effort, who can take a few hits from life and it doesn't render them a gibbering useless heap, who will stand by what they believe in, even if other people give them shit for it. I like people who are strong. And not just physically strong. Lucas can't hit for shit. But he'll still get in the ring and take a slug in order to learn how to be light on his feet, how to dodge, how to defend himself even if he's not much on offense."
Jade listens intently. For whatever reason, he very much does want to talk to Morrison. "Lucas is brutal, and I mean that as a compliment. He and Landon both have just rolled with the punches and come out stronger for it. I thought I was going to hate them, because they're so much better at being sons than I am, but honestly, I just admire them." He lowers his gaze to his tiny cup and admits, "I've coasted a lot lately. Growing up, I somehow managed to survive, and now that I've made it to adulthood... I didn't really have a plan. I wasn't expecting to get this far."
"Well you're here now, figure it out. Pick something you want to do and do it," Morrison says with the sort of finality that indicates that it is indeed just as simple as that. "You can always change your mind. You're still only eighteen." He shrugs a shoulder and says, "When I was eighteen, I figured I'd become a foreman, and then a line manager, and then eventually someday the old man'd kick off and I'd end up running the factory. I fought because I liked fighting. And fuck, I don't want to work in that factory for the rest of my life. So.. this is what I'm doing. Sometimes what you want changes. That's alright. The point is, while you want it, make it happen.. or it won't."
"What I wanted," Jade says, "is to date an idiot, but they picked someone else, so now I'm just thinking about school in New York. If I can study dance, I will. If it doesn't pan out, I'll go into business. I want to go into choreography, but if that doesn't pan out, I'm going to become an agent. So I guess I'm in a holding pattern til college. I think I'm supposed to be enjoying this time?"
"So enjoy this time. Go to college. Stop thinking about things not panning out. Figure out how to make them pan out, and make them pan out," Morrison says, reaching for his cup of coffee again. "Dating's overrated." He takes another sip from the cup, finishing it off, and then sets it off to one side, near the edge of the table where a passing server might refill it at some point.
"Tell me about it," Jade says. "People are stupid and feelings are stupider." He considers Morrisons words, then nods slowly. "Yeah, I've got my contingencies covered. I should focus on my first choice. If I don't get into Julliard... there I go again." He laughs a little. "Regardless, I'm going into show biz. I don't even care if it's on the stage. I love the pageantry and spectacle." His eyes are bright as he speaks about the stage. "It's one of the things I love about boxing. It's good entertainment."
"Your contingencies have contingencies," Morrison points out. "Stick to one plan and one fallback or you're dividing your attention too much. Then you're not making progress on any of them." When Jade catches himself, Morrison nods, as though noting that he'd caught it and stopped, like seeing an incoming punch and dodging the blow. "Watching others with skill work their craft is always going to be appealing, whether that craft is dance, boxing, or banking. Watching someone who knows what they're doing, do what they do best, is always worth paying attention to."
"I'm a good choreographer," Jade murmurs, almost to himself. "I dance, but I don't have the stamina to do it all the time. But the moves? Putting them together to make something spectacular? Then watching the dancers execute what you've envisioned, it's amazing. That's what I'm going to focus on. I'll go to Columbia University School of the Arts, major in theater, and start getting my choreography credits there." He nods to himself. There. That's the plan.
Morrison nods once, seeming to approve of this plan that doesn't include planned failure in it. The crowd has started to thin out a little bit, that initial rush after the day's over thinning for a bit before the rush of late night coffee drinkers swarm in after movies, or before going over to Kokomo. It leaves them in relative peace, and Morrison seems comfortable to just sit there, letting the flow of humanity ebb around them for the time being.
Jade keeps a subtle but steady watch on the ebb and flow of people. He seems to have an intense interest in who moves around him. "So now all I've got to do is put up with hanging around here until summer's over," he says. "Fortunately there will be enough parties to distract me. Do you party, Morrison? I think sometimes I might a little too much."
Morrison watches Jade, noting the way that he watches the people around him, but making no comment on it, merely observing from where he sits, having the better view from the back wall of the entire establishment, but then that's why he settled there. Habit. "I'm sure you'll find a way to survive it," he says. Though when asked if he parties, he says "Sometimes."
Jade smiles and says, "You should come to one of our parties. Except I'm sure you don't want to hang around a bunch of eighteen year olds. Maybe we can throw something together for older types. We'll see if we can get Theo to attend. Maybe a fire on the beach or a barbecue." At least he doesn't assume Morrison would be interested in a suit and tie affair.
Morrison smirks and says, "Contrary to what Cash thinks, I don't trawl teen parties." It hadn't been a teen party where he'd run into Hector, after all. It had been a mix of college kids and townies of various ages. That he'd mistaken de la Huerta for a college kid was an accident. Though that smirk grows only deeper when he suggests something that Theo might attend, clearly skeptical. "I'll stick to places where they card." Because he's not making that mistake again.
Alas. The way Jade watches Morrison, he'd happily make that mistake. "If you do that, how will we ever party?" Jade says. "Do I have to wait three years for the honor?" There's playfulness in his tone. "Isn't it criminal that we're old enough to die for this country but can't drink in it? I mean, I do, obviously, but we can't go to bars."
Morrison isn't oblivious. He's noticed the way Jade has looked at him more than once. Even if the guy supposedly has that girlfriend in Paris somewhere. And yet, it's pretty clear that he has no intention of repeating history. "Probably," Morrison says when Jade asks if he has to wait three years for them to party in the same place. But he does agree, "Always thought that was a stupid law. Besides, in Europe kids are less stupid with alcohol because the taboo of the forbidden is removed." He shrugs his shoulders. "It's not as much 'fun' when you can't get in trouble for it."
A boy can dream. Jade finishes his espresso and sets down the tiny cup. "I agree," he says. "They learn how to handle their booze young. Last time we were in Paris, I drank." Hell, he's probably drank this morning. Just not legally. "It wasn't a big deal. Anyway, I should probably think about heading home. I've really enjoyed talking to you, Morrison. Maybe we'll talk again."
"I'm sure we will," Morrison says. They live here, after all, and are connected to a number of the same people. It'd be no surprise for them to run into one another again. He gives Jade a nod, then, when he says that it is time for him to head home. He doesn't move to get up, himself, apparently either waiting for something, someone, or just not prepared to go back home just yet. Either way, he remains seated where he was when Jade came in, watching the Marchant go, thoughtfully.