Who Tells People Stuff Like This?

bruce_icon.png heather_icon.png

Where: Heather's Apartment

When: April 9, 2012

What: When he comes to dinner, Bruce gets a bit more than he bargained for. Questions about crazy people!

Their plans have been fluid. Heather asked for a little time, and seeing him once a week seemed enough. She opted for casual. Pizzas, beers, out on her tiny little patio. Perhaps a movie later on. Mostly she just… sort of wanted his company. When he arrives she's dressed casually — a pair of dinged up blue jeans, bare feet, and a long-sleeved V-necked black top. She lets him in with a little bit of a shy smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes. "Hey.. c'mon in."

Just about on time, a couple of minutes early, Bruce knocks on the door. Depending on where the lot is she might've noticed him pull up in a rather nice, but not obscenely so, BMW. He's wearing a pair of loose cut blue jeans as well that show their age with their comfort and thin spots at the knees that aren't quite thread bare or holy. A simple white t-shirt with a v-neck to it is left untucked, a very traditional and equally well traveled faded blue jean jacket completes his wardrobe choices for the evening. There's a smile for her, a bright flash of his eyes, and he steps inside when she invites him in, "Hi there, how's you?"

Closing the door behind him, Heather shoves a hand into her loose hair. It falls past the middle of her back, straight with the slightest hint of a wave to it. "I'm okay," she replies. "Since you said you'd eat anything on a pizza, I just ordered one with a lotta meat and some veggies. No hairy fish. I hope that's okay." She takes him through her very small apartment toward the sliding door that leads to a tiny patio. There's a stereo playing what sounds like maybe one of the local pop stations in her living room, but the volume is very low. She heads for the kitchen to grab a couple of beers, telling him, "Pizza will be here in about 15."

He sheds his jacket, leaving it on the back of a chair, revealing that the shirt's cut close enough that it fits quite well. With his forearms visible there's a much better view of the shape he keeps in, shown in tan and corded wrists with the lighter lines of a few scars here and there. Settling into a seat on the patio he waits for her to return with the beers, looking at her as she walks back in, "You look great, by the way…and that sounds like the perfect choice in pizzas."

Heather offers a bit of a smile, leaving the music going. It appears that it's not going to be a terribly exciting evening — she's unbent enough to let him into her personal space. It's kind of a big step for her. "I'm glad," she tells him easily, curling up into the chair at the small patio table that she has. It's cool but hasn't gotten cold yet. And all in all, it's pretty quiet here. The beers are already open and she tips hers to him with a shy smile. "Welcome to my… very modest abode."

Spending a moment taking a drink after lifting his own bottle towards her in salute, Bruce glances around and smiles, "It's not really about modest or not, it's about you and this being your place. Thank you for inviting me in for more than long enough to pick you up and take you out again, not an easy thing to do if you're used to it being your refuge." Leaning back into a bit more of a relaxed slouch, his own bare feet stretch out in front of him and cross at the ankles, apparently having left the pair of those five toed shoes he was wearing back at the door. "On top of that, it's a nice place, with a great spot to eat, drink, and chat."

She's grateful that he understands the idea of a refuge — a place where no one else gets to be. Heather's shrug is slight and she says, "I really… don't know what to talk about. It's been kind of a bizarre couple of weeks." A glance at him brings a hint of a smile though her green eyes seem troubled. "I was on the scene of … something. I don't really know if it's a murder, though that's what their treating it as. A girl dropped dead in the middle of a crowd. None of us saw a damn thing, either." She grimaces slightly, taking a swallow of her beer. "It's been on my mind today. One of the other witnesses …" Her dark head shakes negatively. "Never mind. You really don't want to hear the bullshit stories I get told sometimes." She glances at him with a grin. "What'd you do this week?"

Bruce looks curious at that, lifting an eyebrow slightly even as he downs another long couple of swallows from his beer. Her smile's returned with a brief one of his own and then as she shifts to that more troubled look he doesn't quite frown, but there's a concerned sort of interest more than readable in his eyes. There's a shake of his head and he says, "Sounds like you've got a good idea on what to talk about, mebbe just sharing a bit with me will help settle it in your own head..or at least ease your mind a bit about it." A glance away and into the distance, another bit of a shrug and a sort of lazy smile, "I did very very little this week, well aside from a bit of climbing out near the dam."

"How go the business opportunities?" Heather asks instead of elaborating as yet. She's interrupted by the doorbell. "Oh, be right back." Pizza! When she returns she's carrying the large flat box with a local pizza place emblazoned on the cardboard. She sets it on the table, along with paper plates and napkins. "Hope you're up for casual."

"Casual? Pizza's meant to be eaten, at least here in the States, folded in half and walkin' down the street. " Bruce replies with a grin, helping her get things settled and then opening the box. He insists she chooses first, if only simply by turning it in her direction, while he answers. "Mmm, I'm still fairly much on the outskirts of things at the moment..putting out feelers and the like. Might see about buying up one of the local security firms, familiar territory anyway."

As she takes her piece of pizza and settles into her seat again, Heather eyes him thoughtfully. "Bruce… what do you know about Special Forces guys?" she asks him, apropos of nothing.

Bruce pauses for just the barest hint of a moment as he reaches to pick up his own piece, clearly to those with an eye for reading people caught by surprise at the question. That pause recovered from he picks up the piece he was after and settles back into his chair, "Talk about non sequitor. " He grins at her, then shrugs slightly, "Probably more than the average person, just cause of what I used to do, why do you ask?"

"Well… it's kind of what you used to do that makes me ask," Heather admits quietly. "You know, you said maybe I could bounce what's going on in my head off you…" She takes a bite of her pizza and chews, seeming to search for words. When she swallows, she tells him, "When the girl went down… no one was nearby, but someone screamed. When I got there it was pretty clear she was already gone. Eyes open, staring at the sky. You know." There's another pause. "The other witness … tried to do CPR on her, and I didn't really want to be responsible if he somehow COULD have saved her, so I didn't stop him… but when I met up with him today, he was putting some serious pressure on me to get him the tox report from the ME's office." Her pizza rests on her plate, and Heather looks a bit worried. "He claims that he's … like ex-Special Forces, and that the woman was murdered with a toxin that only he is experienced enough to deal with and stuff like that. I… frankly have no idea whether to believe this guy, or to turn him in as a frickin' terrorist."

A bite or two of his slice of the pizza are taken while she elaborates and as more and more of the story comes out he spends more time listening to her than eating. Swallowing that last bite he washes it down with a swig of beer and considers everything for a moment. "Stepping back a moment: Has there been a ruling from the ME on the case yet? As far as this other witness, did you just run into him again, or was it something he arranged, do you think? " Bruce pauses a moment for a second and then adds, "Toxins aren't something that's the usual purview of Special Forces, unless he was a medic or the like I'd think that either he's generalizing - or mebbe somethin' else. Pretty small community though, mind telling me who he is?"

Heather shrugs and says, "It's not my case. I'm… thinking about reaching out to the detective involved, but… seriously, this guy sounded like a complete conspiracy theorist, Bruce." She glances up at him. "Major Superman complex, and then he's spouting off about how the locals can't handle this and how corrupt the government is, and how he's been Special Forces and French Foreign Legion — you can't even do the French Foreign Legion if you're American, can you?" She looks entirely flummoxed. "And no.. it was an accident. I'm the one who ran into him, not the other way around."

"The Legion? I doubt he was US Spec War then..though I suppose anything's possible..if he went into the Legion after leaving whatever group he was with. Foreign Legion's just that, will take damned near anyone. " Bruce says after a shrug, taking another bite or two from his pizza. "Makes sense it's not your case, given that you're a witness. Hmm.. " He pauses then to look at her for a long moment, "..you skipped on the name, and I won't ask you again, but like I said the community's fairly small and I know a few folks I could probably ask around about him if you'd like. If not..no worries, I just be careful around him and trust your gut, if he creeps you out - keep your distance."

"He just…." Heather trails off and admits, "I get the impression that he's thinking about going vigilante. And he seems to think that I'm going to help him. Because don'tcha know, I'm not important enough yet for the corrupt officials to really pay attention to what I'm doing." She seems… bothered.

It's there that Bruce pauses and his tone becomes more intent, eyes hardening just slightly, "Did he threaten you, Heather? Try and .. coerce you into getting that information? Obviously he knows you work with the DA's office…if he is going to go all Batman-like…Heather, I really would like to talk to this guy, mebbe get my own read on him. He's obviously really upset you and if it's me that's talking to him you don't have to worry about involving anyone from your office or the police until you've got a bit more information to work with."

Heather hesitates and says, "He didn't… threaten me or anything." There's a pause. "But he said that … the detective in charge was questioning him because of his background, but he wasn't going to help the police without more information. That for all I knew he was a biochemist with a cure to what killed that woman, but didn't want to give it to them without being sure it's the right one." Her brows furrow. "Frankly, I think man's insane, and he's coming up with a lot really outlandish stories and stuff, but… what if he's a terrorist or something? I told him for all I know he's the one who has introduced this chemical into the situation. He's bound and determined that it's a toxin or a chemical agent and that he's the only one who has the slightest chance of stopping all this. But I'm afraid he's more like… the person who might have caused it."

Bruce offers her his hand after wiping it off with a napkin, looking at her and shaking his head slightly, "You don't want to play into his hand, not until you know more about him and whatever it is that's on his agenda. No biochemist that's on the up and up is going to withhold information from the police when volunteering it would more than likely exonerate them. Hell..it sounds like he knows about something that's going on and is trying to figure out just what it is that the police know."

"Well, that was exactly what I thought," Heather admits, her brows furrowed and her half-eaten pizza apparently forgotten. She slips her hand into his and looks at him, shrugging slightly. "I'm a bit at a loss — I don't have the professional ties here yet that I would trust to take this to, except maybe the detective. But what do I do, go to her and tell her that the guy who performed CPR is really interested in getting his hands on the tox report? I mean… " She grimaces. "It all sounds vaguely insane."

"Unless you know for sure about the detective, and she is trustworthy, it's a hard call to make. Probably don't want to look like the DA that cried wolf or what not and got DHS involved on a 'gut feel'. " Bruce notes with a slight, tight lipped, smile as she takes his hand and he gives hers a gentle squeeze. "You could go to her and explain your feelings, hell it might not be a bad idea to just let her know of the unintentional contact and what happened in general if only to avoid any appearance of hiding things from her. You're really dancing around my offer to chat with the guy, but I really do know a few folk that could at least vet his being in the US Special Forces at some point - and as you've said, I've a good eye for reading folks."

Heather grimaces slightly. "I am," she admits, not looking up to meet his eyes. "I don't like to draw a lot of attention to myself. And I… " She worries the edge of her bottom lip with her teeth. When she finally does look up at him, she confesses quietly, "I guess I'm also not certain that I'm not entirely crazy here, telling you all this. Cuz I barely know you either."

There's a bit of a smile at her not wanting to draw attention, he doesn't comment that she certainly turns heads wherever she goes. "You're not crazy, though you'll likely think me both biased and as you don't know me -that- well it's not going to carry a lot of weight anyway." Bruce replies after a moment, then he gives her hand another squeeze and says, "I do know a bit about stuff like this, assassinations and threats like this are almost more popular amongst the business and wealthy circles than at national or governmental ones. What he's saying is possible, but it's really rather unlikely."

She watches him thoughtfully. "His name's Topper Nash. He owns a strip club called Da Bing," Heather finally says. "He's probably just talking out his ass to try to impress people. I mean… who brags about being Special Forces?? Those guys are trained to be low-key and in and out without anyone being the wiser, right? So to tell me all this conspiracy stuff and that he's a big, bad killing machine who can save the city sounds like a bunch of hogwash. Of course… if it's NOT hogwash and he really was a soldier or something, the man seriously needs a shrink." She pauses. "Maybe he needs one anyway."

"Da Bing? Really? Helluva name choice there hmm? " Bruce replies with a chuckle and then a nod in agreement, "You're right though, most spec war guys are hard to pick out unless you know what you're looking for. Hell, most won't even get tat's at all, much less anything related to what they're doing until after they get out." He gives a slight shrug, "So, it's most likely he's blowin' hot air and either tryin' to get a hold on you for doin' somethin' you shouldn't, or it's something else entirely. Either way, I might go pay a visit to the club and see if I can get a chance to meet the guy."

There's the Eye. Heather has is, despite her reserve, and she can employ it quite well thankyouverymuch. "Is 'meet the guy' guy-code for something I need to know about?" she queries warily.

Bruce can't help but chuckle, noting the 'Eye' and gives a slight shake of his head, holding up his empty hand in a warding off gesture, "You must be hell on cross." he notes with a chuckle and then smiles. "No, not code, I just want to see if he sets off all the same warning bells he seems to have caused to ring for you though."

"Mmm," Heather replies on a murmur. "All right. If you go all Jackie Chan on the guy, though, I'm gonna… find something suitably drastic to do." She gives him an arch look, and then retrieves her hand from his to eat her pizza. She's suddenly starving, feeling a little better about the situation. If nothing else, having someone willing to take her heebie-jeebies as more than just paranoia is helpful. "I learned to listen to my gut about guys," she admits around a bite. "And he's just… coming off wrong. On a lot of levels."

"Jackie Chan, hmm? No..I've no reason to thump him…I'm not quite that much the neanderthal. If he does try and strong arm you though, then I might have to discourage him from that particular line of thought…carefully within the boundaries of the law, of course." Bruce replies with a grin, letting her hand go so that he can fetch himself another piece of pizza and take a few quick bites of it himself before he continues. "Though I'm curious - suitably drastic?"

"I'm not some trembling little flower who needs a great big guy to protect her," Heather retorts. "And waltzing in there just because this guy's a freak and thumping him or something smacks of serious sexism." She eats with a good appetite now, and around a bite of the pizza she offers a bit of a grin.

There's a chuckle at that and Bruce just shakes his head, "Not to mention that it'd be assault, amongst several other things. No, I've no desire to risk anything of the sort, much less show myself to be some sexist pig." A flash of a smile and he finishes off that piece of pizza before swashing it all down with a couple of swallows from his beer. "You'd also not have gotten where you are, the route you did, without being able to handle creepy asshole guys."

"Well… brawls between men over a woman, long as it's just fisticuffs, is something that usually doesn't hit the courts. That said… I'd be annoyed," Heather agrees with a laugh. She takes a swallow of her beer and finishes the last of her slice, eying the box and apparently debating the merits of another piece.

Bruce laughs again and leans back into his chair once more, apparently the two he'd had are enough for him for now. "Somehow I don't think I'd raise your thoughts of me by going all neanderthal-like thug on him without any particular reason to do so. So, you've no worries on that score, Heather…but I will ask around and see if anyone's heard anything on the guy and arrange to meet him."

Heather nods slightly, helping herself to a second slice after deliberation. And while she eats, she tells him mildly, "So you didn't mention what kind of movies you like."

"Hmm, no I didn't did I?" Bruce says with a grin, finishing off his beer and looking at hre for a moment, clearly letting his gaze wander appreciatively before he meets her gaze again. "Anything that's not stupid humor I can stand, slapstick just doesn't do anything for me. I might even be able to manage my way through a tear jerker if there's one you'd like to see."

Heather offers a bit of a grin and looks a little hesitant. "Would you settle for Narnia? I'm dying to see it and haven't had a chance. There's swordfights," she offers cheerfully.

Bruce gets to his feet and offers her his hand up, "If you've a couch that we can share to watch it on, I'll certainly watch it with you. Can't say that I've seen it either, though I loved the book."

"Cool!" There's a hint of the excited kid to her reply. Heather polishes off the last of her pizza and closes the box, moving to take his hand to stand up. Then she hands him the box to set on the kitchen counter and retrieves a couple more beers for the movie.

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