2237-07-28 - 2nd Time, Not The Charm

Abigail and Micah make another failed attempt to visit the ferris wheel.

Date: 2237-07-28

Location: Argentum Bay

Related Scenes: 2237-07-28 - Wolves In The Bar

Plot: None

Scene Number: 350

Jump to End

If there's one positive thing about Scorpia, it's that the nights are balmy and mild. Micah Knoor emerges from the hotel restaurant already loosening the tie associated with his dress uniform. He never was a strict formal wear type of man. He takes a moment to drink the night in, looking up at the exposed stars and placing his hands firmly in his pockets. He saw Abigail pause before she followed him, and he knew, one way or the other, she'd be outside in a moment. She did, after all, have to either tear his head off or leave with him.

Abigail will make no excuse for her tardiness, nor does she seem to feel she needs to, given the expression on her face, calm, not mild, but she doesn't seem to be inclined to tear anything off, "If you were actually serious about that, Mic, I might never take this dress off again." The dress, that isn't going to come off, but as they walk out on to the manicured lawns, the shoes do. And suddenly, she's back to being short to his tall. A moment, as she starts to bend down, and then a groan, "Help a girl out?" Apparently, she can't reach down far enough to reach her shoes.

Micah doesn't seem to share the same kind of trouble picking them up. "I'd pay money to see you try to tie your boots in that thing." The shoes are handed over with a smirk. His hands find his pockets knowing full well that it was a military no-no only officers seem to be able to get away with. "Well. Since I... got you out of there? Yeah, we'll go with that. What would you say to a night on the town?" He raises a hand, brushing the long, stray hairs from his face. "Movies, food, Ferris wheels. It's your choice. As long as you're my company."

Micah wouldn't share the same kind of trouble picking up Abigail's shoes. Micah is wearing his dress uniform. Micah, however, does get a smile, as she takes the shoes, hooking them by the toes and carrying then in her off right hand, "If I had to put my boots on, I would hike this thing up like it was a tutu." She tilts her head, considering, looking down past the lawn, and the borders of the hotel, the beach beyond, before she looks back, "Are we talking right now? Or are we talking at some point in the future?"

"While I have you in that dress, preferably." Micah replies as he follows her gaze. "I have a sneaking suspicion the majority of the unit is going to have a late work call tomorrow. And for those of us who are sober? Well, the party really hasn't started yet." He looks down at her toes, who are currently framed by damp grass. The sight makes her look almost girlish to him. "Like I said, though. As long as you're my company, I'm good with anything."

Abigail looks, for a moment, thoughtful, as she considers Micah's response, glancing down at herself, as though she hadn't really considered the implications of the dress, when she got dressed in one of the hotel's rooms and took the elevator down. All while never having to move more than one might need to look at oneself in the mirror. "Well, sudden movements are a no go, so laser tag or paintball is right out. It's a bit of a walk down to the boardwalk, but..." At the moment, her toes are wiggling, probably unconsciously, enjoying the cool grass and not being confined in a pair of stiletto heels. She nods, before she looks back at the man standing across from her, "I did promise you a ferris wheel ride."

"I recall us getting a little distracted the last time we tried that. Second time's the charm?" Micah removes that sash and coat entirely. The uniform served it's purpose at the military function, but at this point, there wasn't any reason to having it on. He looks down, ensuring that the 'uniform' now only looks like a pair of grey pants and a white collared shirt. Say what you want about CF dress, but the dress down option really was handy. He wordlessly lends her his elbow, silently acknowledging that walking anywhere in that dress may be hazardous. The coat finds it's home in his other hand. "Your brother. Now that's a gentleman I would've like to hang out with a few years ago. I think he would've given me a run for my money."

"I don't recall that I got distracted at all." There's humour in her voice, as she, waiting for the coat and sash to come off, and for Micah to offer his arm, which she takes, with no small amount of gratitude, allowing him to lead the way through the small area of manicured landscape, on the way to the gate that marks the end of the hotel's property. "I think I recall that you...wanted to get into a little bit of trouble." Abigail, pauses, waiting for Micah to get the gate, glances back towards the hotel, despite the fact that the man in question is nowhere to be seen, "My brother...is a force of nature. And like most forces of nature, there's the storm, and the ravages afterwards. But he's, I think, in spite of everything, what he's always been. A man with a good heart, and a kind soul."

"And I don't recall you telling me you didn't have a good time afterward." She earns a smile from him, his hand reaching out automatically to open the gate for the pair of them. "Granted I must've enjoyed myself enough to want to see you again. So I guess we can call this one a draw." They walk a little ways, Micah's head bowed with his eyes on the ground directly in front of them as he considers. "I'd really like to get to know him better. What I saw in there, though? The man loves life. He wants to take part in everything he can. There wasn't a whole lot about him that felt mean, or resentful. And he loves you. A blind man can tell that. I don't know if he'll ever be fine. But... I don't think that's what broken looks like."

"That's because I had a fantastic time. I will be the first person to admit that." The smile, she returns, before she ducks out to step, first, across that wooden footpath, and then down a short flight of steps to the beach proper. All the dew on the grass means that her feet will be covered with wet sand, but with the walk, all should be well by the time the pair make it to the boardwalk. for the moment Abigail turns, shoes swinging idly in her hand, as she waits for Micah to join her, "Clearly. I imagine, if I were terrible company, you would have found someone else more engaging to spend your limited free time with." In some ways, the military does make you have to choose wisely. "I've no doubt that you'll have a chance. You're both viper pilots. That alone is something to spark conversation." Again, that glance back towards a brother she can't see, before she returns her attention to Micah, "Addison loves life, yes. He wants very much to find himself again, find the joy he took in life. But he's...he knows, better than most, how to mask his pain. How easily being the life of the party can distract people from seeing what's really..." Abigail shakes her head, her voice trailing off, before she picks up another thread of the conversation. "Yes, he does. And I love him. Everything good I have inside of me, I have because of him. I want nothing more, than for him to find the peace he needs to heal." Abigail holds out her free hand, not elbow bent, palm down, as if she were waiting for his arm, but palm out, and faced up, as one might do if they expected a hand in return.

"Give him time, Abby. If he's going to self destruct, and I don't believe he is, I have a sneaking suspicion you'll know before anyone else. There's a whole squadron of us you can call on for help." Micah had never formally met the man, but being shot down behind enemy lines was one nightmare all pilots shared when they closed their eyes. Her offered hand is met when he places one of his own gently on top of it. "Not the least of them being me." Fingers shaped by years of playing the piano wrap around those used to setting explosives, a smile settling itself on his face as they continue forward. The tabloids were going to absolutely eat their hearts out if even one photographer happened to be in the bushes. At that moment, though? Micah probably would have been okay with that. "And if you were terrible company?" He offers with a laugh. "I think I'd have a lot harder of a time enjoying the circumstances of my transfer. Let's just put it that way."

Abigail’s expression, for a brief, fleeting moment, is not her usual calm demeanour, or the smiling, elegant, unflappable woman she was when she made her entrance to the ball. For just that brief moment, she looks like exactly what she is, a sister lost in the face of her brother’s pain. But even that small flash of emotion is curtailed, as she finds her center once again, “I know he does. And I do thank you for the offer of support.” A brief tightening of her fingers in his, “It’s very much appreciated.” As the start off across the sand, once against towards the boardwalk, but now, from the opposite side of the beach from the sixteenth pier, Abigail keeps the pace slow. Not out of a need to dawdle, so much as...she just was not kidding about being sewn in, “Were you expecting it to be terrible? Your duty assignment?” Abigail walks as she talks, only occasionally glancing at the man walking with her.

“I was expecting a new unit. Maybe something still stretching off growing pains.” Micah admits, his own steps matching hers. “I saw this as more of an experiment. Significant infighting, less definition, and a power struggle to see which colony would ‘lead’ the CF were the least of what I was anticipating.” He looks down at her, his expression a blend of consideration and amusement. “I wasn’t expecting to meet you.” He pauses. “Or the thirty other celebrities also on the boat. I kind of wonder if there isn’t some Ensign at command laughing his ass off about the troop dispersion.” A raised eyebrow, a smirk, and a shake of his head follow that statement.”I wish I could say I was trying to be a gentleman and offer support because of you… But I honestly have had nightmares about the same thing your brother went through. I think most of us do.”

“You were expecting the Galactica when she first launched, then. Because, from what I have heard, there was some of that, maybe a lot of that. As for the Wolves...I think, if anything, they have learned from their mistakes. You can’t field a successful force if there’s too much infighting. I have a feeling that the people who were selected for the Wolves were chosen as much for their ability to work well with others as their skills.” After a good distance, Abigail pauses, not so much to catch her breath, but just for comfort’s sake. She remains still, hand still in Micah’s, looking ahead to where the boardwalk is once again looming, “Did you ever consider meeting me? Since I have already told you how I pictured my meeting you...” She turns, just slightly, looking at Micah, “How did you picture meeting me? Or didn’t you ever?” A quirk of her lips, “People who are used to the spotlight, know how to work together and engage people who are not always welcoming. Also a positive.” And then, more gently, “I know. I can imagine. It’s not a position most pilots ever train for.” A beat, “I wasn’t expecting a gentleman. Or for you to do anything for my sake. I appreciate you wanting to do it for him. That means more than you know.”

“He deserves it. Bravado and everything else aside. The guy’s got to climb back.” It appears as though the pilot hesitates a bit with her question, however.

“I did picture meeting you. But you’re probably going to split that dress when I tell you about it.” Micah stops as well. He considers his words with a bit of extra care, chewing on his lip in that signature style of his. “We’re on Picon. I’m on leave…” He laughs at himself, shaking his head and looking at the ground. “You really want to hear this?”

“I’m on leave. Out of pure boredom, I’m in a bar, drinking water and people watching. Being that sulky, dark guy in the corner. While I’m sitting in there, nursing that delicious water that is not from Scorpia, you walk in. From across the room, our eyes meet. For some reason, I always imagine you approaching me. You’ve got a sway to you…” He chuckles at himself again, bringing his unused hand, clenched in a fist, to his lips to try to stifle it. “Anyway! You sit and we talk. We talk about our lives, our careers. You mention that you'd always wanted to see me in concert, but I didn’t play much in Picon those last few years. It was a giant disappointment because you were such a fan. I may have mentioned that I’ve had a bit of a history with models, that people in that profession weren’t always the best choice for me. I consider, though, and take your hand, leading you to the piano. When I sit down…” He pauses. “I play a song and you adore me?” It’s clear that Micah is leaving something out. His eyes are playful, and his hand tightens on hers, but the end of that story doesn’t really match the beginning. “Will you just look at these stars tonight, Abby? Stunning.” The grin continues to ride his features, though. For some reason, Knoor knows he’s not getting off easy.

“If I do, I fully expect that you will surrender your jacket for my use.” That's said with a tone so serious, it almost masks the amusement in her eyes. Certainly, Abigail's curiosity has been peaked. With Micah having come to a stop at well, in anticipation of the story, Abigail turns, enough to be able to study his face. That curiosity remains, as she listens to the first part of the story. It's every story of two people meeting across a smoke-filled room since, well, ever. The curiosity fades, as he gets to the last part of the story. A tilt of her head, as she studies his face. “I feel, all things considered, that that isn't how that story was supposed to end. A more fitting ending would have had me saying something about how I could be a very good choice for you, and you proceeding to lead me off to find out just how good a choice I could be.” There's a definite sparkle of amusement in her eyes. “Though I have no doubt you did eventually play something on the piano.” A light reply, at the end, the squeeze of her hand returned, her eyes not leaving Micah’s face, “Yes, the stars are beautiful tonight.”

“Say the word and the jacket’s yours.” Micah offers. Her words about the remainder of his story draw a smile and an arch of an eyebrow. “If this were ten years ago and you were any other girl? Maybe. But what I had imagined went a little different.” He laughs, his head already shaking side to side. “No, I imagined sitting down and getting comfortable, looking up to find you sitting on the edge of my piano. We were the only two people who existed at that point.” When Abby turns, his other hand comes to rest on hers, those dark grey eyes searching her face. His expression is amused, happy, but there’s something else in the back of those eyes. Memory, maybe? Embarrassment? He sucks in a breath, averts his gaze to the east, because, you know, directions, and continues. “I played you a song. Something brand new. When it ends, I look up and you’re not on that piano anymore.” A pause. “You’re sliding your weight across my legs on that bench, your arm snaking around the back of my neck, instead. I move my right arm, letting you settle crossways on my lap. You are in a dress, after all, and I am, of course, a gentleman.” He smiles, her natural gravity drawing his eyes back. “We sit like that a long time, me playing, you smiling and, dare I say, enjoying it. That’s how our night ends. My walking you back home, telling you how wonderful and unexpected it all was. And then returning to my hotel room.” He breathes, sighing and shaking his head in utter and complete embarrassment. “And now is where you run in the other direction. And you being a marine and me being a pilot, I never, ever, ever, catch you.”

Abigail’s hand, the one still holding her shoes, swings them idly, the red-soled heels striking her thigh in a steady rhythm, as she hears the offer, “I will remember that you said that.” And then, silence, and, while not a laugh, to match the humour Micah’s seems to feel at recounting the story, at least a smile, as she listens to his imagining, the way the meeting might have ended, the music, the drape, the gentleman. She finally does stop tapping out a rhythm with her shoes, as Micah’s hand finds hers, stilling it, eyes meeting his, seeking something there, something curious, questioning, in her own gaze. The rest of the story does not, as one might expect draw any sort of anger, or outrage; no accusations of impropriety. And once the story ends, and Micah finally drops his head, Abigail dips her own, catching sight of his face briefly, before she slips the hand holding the shoes out of his, but keeping hold of his other, turns to face back in the direction they had been walking, starting back into motion, drawing him on, if he doesn’t protest or seem intent on remaining firmly rooted in place, “I suppose then, Micah,” the name, the first time she’s used his full given name, carrying a lilt only possibly with that southern Picon drawl, “It’s a good thing that I am both wearing a dress, and know a bar where we can find a piano.” She glances back over her shoulder towards the man, “But if I am going to risk sitting down in this dress, you had better have something new to offer me in return.”

Micah doesn’t object to being led. “I have a sneaking suspicion that I won’t have a hard time thinking of something with my muse so close.” The artist’s legs move him beside her, their arms swaying while they walk. Luckily, there were no onlookers at this time in the evening. Even the majority of the Wolves were still huddled around the alcoholic hotel like moths to a flame. At this moment, though, Knoor couldn’t care less who saw him. Them. “Just do me one favor.” He asks quietly, a thin brown cigar emerging from the pocket of those dress pants. It finds his teeth. He releases her hand, continuing to walk, only long enough to raise a worn silver lighter to the cigar’s tip. “Drink.” He breathes in a long drag, his fingers feeling their way down her wrist until he finds her hand once again. “Don’t give up anything on my behalf.” He exhales a cloud of sweet, thick smoke. His right hand, the spare hand, removes the glowing cigar from his lips and passes it across his body, holding it silently in front of Abby. “I rather like you exactly as you are.” Their footsteps fall in grass and sand until the concrete of the path presents itself. The glowing sign denoting the building as ‘Ansley’s Chowder’ sits as a beacon, growing ever larger.

That word, ‘muse’, brings a slight, and passing stutter to Abigail’s steps, eyes, slightly wide, looking over towards the man she’s walking with. “Is that what I am, now, Micah?” There’s a gravity in her voice, as though she has some idea of what that might mean, for both of them. Any thought, of other eyes or others who might be walking along the beach, who might mark the passage of the pair seem not at all to enter into Abigail’s periphery. Eyes drop the the cigar, marking Micah’s movement, as he unwraps the cigar, lifts it to his lips, sets it alight. Once it’s offered to her, having no hands free, she simply accepts the assistance, takes a long inhale, and then straightens. Her voice is tight, in that way that one has, when they’re holding their breath. “Thank you.” As for his request, Abigail shakes her head, “A drink is not something you deny yourself. It is something that you choose to indulge in or not. I dare say I had more than enough at the hotel. But if the mood strikes, I will.” Her hand tightens, as she feels the edge of the grass, pausing before she would have stepped onto the concrete. She lifts her shoes, holding them out, “Would you mind putting these down for me? I don’t want to drop them.” Some shoes you just don’t drop like a pair of muddy rain boots. And with her feet now dry, Abigail takes her time, using the dry grass to try to dust the last of the sand from her feet, in preparation for donning her shoes.

“If you’d like to limit yourself to one thing, yes.” Micah says regarding her question as the shoe request draws a laugh. He places that cigar haphazardly back between his lips, takes her shoes, and kneels, placing the heels so that they barely touch the tips of her toes. It’s a movement done by a man with one of two things: a wife or a sister. “I haven’t written music in a decade.” He offers by way of an explanation, seeming to weigh the options of what to follow up with in his mind. “And somehow, I don’t think I’m going to have a problem tonight.” He’s not saying he’s returning to performing, but judging by how he smiles when he stands back up, something says she may not have to work as hard to get him to play for her. Exactly what she’s going to be to him? That’s a talk for sometime later.

When Micah opens the door of ‘Ansley’s Chowder’, the bar seems to be a little less dead than it was the other night. A few more college kids decorate the tables, drinking craft beers and eating peanuts. The legion of old regulars seems to have taken refuge at a table in one of the corners by the piano, their pitchers of beer sitting half empty as they chat and smoke. It’s likely that their conversation is about the younger patrons, in fact, as that’s the direction their eyes keep going. A young couple seems to be occupying the piano bench, in point of fact. They were heavily in each other’s arms, leaning against the ancient instrument as they kissed, oblivious to the rest of the world.

The one ally familiar face to Micah is the short bar tender, who lights up like instantly as soon as he sees the couple. “Ahh! You back!” He says in a terribly accented version of the standard dialect, chubby hands popping the tops off two dark sodas. His head motions to the piano, though his eyes frown darkly. “You two! This is reserved. Go find a table!” This, shouted at the snogging couple who only have time to look up in surprise.

“I’ve never been a woman given to limiting herself.” A self-deprecating smile, in response to the laugh, and Abigail plucks the jacket from Micah’s off hand, so that he can assist her, carefully folding the jacket so that it looks as though it were just a normal suit coat, her left hand, clearly her dominant one, settling lightly on his shoulder. She too, knows this ritual very well, her own brother having often assisted her in her preparations. The heels, as she slips them back on, being nearly five inches, because, go big or go home, right, bring her height to a full five feet and eleven, barely a pair of inches below Micah’s height. Her tone is amused, “Thank you. You have surprising skill with that.” If nothing else, it makes eye contact that much easier. And the smile easier to gauge, as he returns to his feet, her hand drifting off of his shoulder. “I have a feeling that you will not have trouble finding something to fulfil our bargain.”

There’s something, almost indulgent, in Abigail’s look, as they step into the pub. Yes, it’s still a dive bar, yes, the peanut shells still crunch under foot and yes, the smell of the food from the kitchen still cannot seem to dispel the smell of beer and smoke, but there seems to be something about the place that please Abigail, if only because of the memory of their previous visit.

A smile, warm, and friendly, for the bartender, eyes falling to the bottles he’s opening, before Abigail, finding Micah’s hand once again, continues into the pub, walking gingerly across the floor, as she makes her way towards the piano. And if the bartender got a friendly look, the two at the piano bench do not. And despite the attire, there’s something in the look that make the two teenagers nearly fall over themselves to clear the bench. Abigail pauses then, waiting for Micah to settle himself, a hand settling on the edge of the piano, “Sadly, I will not be able to sit on this piano...but...” A hand flourish indicates the bench reserved for his use.

Micah watches the two depart the bench with an air of amusement. Stormy eyes track them retreat to a far table, looking with wide eyes between the bartender and the beautifully dressed but somehow terrifying blond that seems to have claimed the piano for her own. Less than ten steps take Micah forward before he stands before Abby and the shabby old piano. He considers that bench for a moment. His eyes, softly searching the wood as if he’s meeting an old friend that had left him on less than ideal terms. Their night had been one of the best he’d had in some time, but he'd be damned if he wasn’t still wary of the instrument. That cigar’s cherry glows an angry red as he steps around, adjusts the position of the rickety old bench, and sits. Smoke comes from his nose, surrounding that tarnished gold hair in a bit of a haze for only a beat. “Watching you work, Abby, makes me want to borrow you for use against junior lieutenants in the air wing.” His hands come to rest on the wooden cover over the ivory keys. He traces the cracked lines in the old oak, before gently lifting the wood into its ‘up’ position. “I have a sneaking suspicion I’m never going to see that ferris wheel. Right now? I think I’m oddly okay with that.”

No, she will never be able to sit on the old upright, but Abigail knows how to lean to best effect, and so she does, weight settling on the hip that now rests on the edge of the wooden key enclosure. She's content to wait, as well, for Micah to greet the instrument, to decide, perhaps, on the terms of their duel. Her attention moves away only twice. Once, to accept the bottles with easy grace, the second to find an ashtray, setting it on the top of the piano. “I have learned, in my time, that I sometimes need to... project, in order to have anything take me seriously. Respect should be earned, but sometimes, it needs to be demanded. I will be happy to sub in for you, as needed.” A rich, full throated laugh, that throws back her head and lengthens the column of her throat. When it fades, she settles her eyes back onto Micah. “Gods willing it will be there for a while longer, waiting for you. But if that is an onus for, you have my sincere apologies.”

He watches her for a moment before migrating his gaze absently to the piano. He seems to look at that spot of wood what would hold music for any other player, his mind a machine of turning gears. “Anyone who doesn’t take you seriously, Abigail?” He looks back up to her, a smile playing at his lips.. “Is a frakking idiot.” His cigar is placed in the ash tray with a murmured word of thanks. This allows those fingers to begin picking out a few notes, again getting used to the old, out of tune piano. “Hm. I think I need a warm up.” He transitions into chords, creating a deep, melodic sound that seems to transition a few times from hopeful, to happy, to completely and entirely sad. Such is the magic of major and minor chords. “Something new.” He says to himself, tilting his head in consideration of those keys.

Abigail seems content to remain in repose, allowing him to watch her. There’s something practiced and elegant about her posture. That combination of experience, knowing just how to stand and pose for best effect, and self-confidence that is nothing at all to do with dress or accessories, no matter how elegant they might be. It seems only fair, though, as she’s also watching him. Once he finally looks away, her eyes fall to the piano keys. Whatever else there might be for entertainment, this is about the music, and the man finally allowing himself to confront this particular demon. “You say that because you know me, at least a little, Mic. Enough to see past all of the costuming.” She falls silent, however, once he begins to play. Even the practice is an art, the fluid collaboration with the old piano to pluck the notes from its strings.

“My knowing you will make this fun.” Micah answers, his steel eyes glancing back over to her as that private little smile emerges. It’d been ten years since that man had sat on a bench and tried to dream up a composition. His fingers move along those keys as though it was yesterday. The piano sings, belting out a surprisingly clean, complex melody. After taking a moment to get used to the music, so does Micah. The song isn’t like anything anyone would’ve heard out of him. It may have sounded like some of the recordings early in his career, but there was a suspiciously bluesy undertone to it all. It was something that used his more matured voice rather well. The style, though? That was pure Micah Knoor. Simple enough to be hauntingly beautiful but complex enough to look good doing it. The artist, for his part, smiles and brings his dark eyes back up to Abby, that piano continuing to fill the din of the tiny bar.

The smile is met, returned, before her eyes drop back to the keys. Oh yes. The song is, most definitely, new. If anyone would know that, it would be Abigail Walker. And it immediately draws her in, from the opening instrumental, to the moment when Micah begins to lay words down over the melody. She’s still, almost perfectly so, entranced, perhaps, but not so much that the meaning of the words don’t affect her. And while she does not rise from the lean she’s taken up on the piano, her free hand does rise to allow her fingertips to draw away the sparkle of tears, the rueful melancholy that colours her expression. Because it is pure Micah Knoor. At his most insightful. Still unflinchingly able to take raw emotion and meld it effortlessly to melody. It isn’t until he actually looks at her again, that she finally straightens from the place where she’s been resting against the piano, moving to the bench, but not, as she did the last time that they were here, settling on the edge of the bench, but to urge him slightly back on the bench, so that she can, if he allows, settle sideways on his lap. It’s no small feat, to move so fluidly, given the delicacy of the situation, the dress requiring a particular amount of poise, possibly outside assistance to settle her comfortably.

Micah raises his eyebrows in mock surprise when Abby nudges him back. He obliges, though. His hand rises from the keys to assist her, causing the piano to fall into a dark and unassisted melody. The vocals stop as well, his amused, contented smile directed at her until she seems to get herself comfortable and leans back against his left arm. His chest, strong from years of doing a naval amount of push ups supports her without any hesitation. For the pilot, that’s sort of a given. It’s the scent of sandalwood and bergamot mixed with cigar smoke that she may find a bit of a surprise. “If you’d ever told me…” He starts, his voice quietly remaining between them. “I’d never have believed you.” His right hand comes back to the keys, returning to a much softer version of the song from earlier. He takes a few lines, building the song back up before he sings. This time, though, he’s singing to the woman he’s holding rather than than to the bar. Those words do come much quieter, and the quietly contemplative eyes glance at her during the chorus of the song.

Abigail takes her time, the single, left hand melody playing out like an interlude, as she makes herself comfortable. But there is one aspect, that doesn’t quite fit Micah’s recollection. She isn’t tall enough, now that she’s out of her heels, to wind her arm around his neck, and so, instead, she will have to settle for slipping an arm around his back, arm draped to allow her hand to settle at his waist. And then she is comfortable, her height, if it makes one aspect impossible, makes another easier, as she can rest her head against his chest while he plays. Except to lean up, as she hears his soft words, her own given just against his ear, “I know. Who would have thought I was this short in person?” And then, she’s content to settle back, listening to this second, softer iteration of the song, all of her attention paid to the music, the melody, the words and the man bringing them to life. Occasionally, she does lift her eyes, meet his gaze, but for most of the song, she’s content to listen, take meaning and memory from the sound. Even the rest of the bar goes without a single glance, the bottles, of course, long since gone warm, the cigar’s cherry ember turned to ash.

“Yeah. That’s exactly what I was thinking.” The words are spoken as the song does its one, final, crescendo. Again, the piano dies abruptly. The last line comes without the assistance of music, drawing Micah’s eyes closed and stretching his voice’s depth enough to, dare I say, cause murmurs from behind him in the crowd. “Well.” He breathes, left arm snaking around her back. His right keeps playing stray little tunes on that piano. It wouldn’t be anything she’d recognise “Do you think I may have impressed the girl? Or did I just achieve a monumental level of ‘fool factor’?” The words are spoken for her and her alone about her and her alone. “That actually felt really good. You must have made some kind of impression on a humble man like me.”

“I know that it was.” There’s a comfortable humour in Abigail’s voice, at Micah’s reply, her own voice soft, even in the sudden stillness before his voice carries that final, achingly poignant final line alone. And if there’s a murmur from the crowd behind, there’s a shiver from Abigail. It’s a powerful thing, to not only hear the sound of Micah’s voice, but, in the rare position that she’s in, to feel it as well. “Well,” she calls back to him, as settles now, into the curve of his arm, “I think that you may have impressed the girl. I only think mind you, I can’t be sure.” There’s something playful to her tone. “That was exquisitely beautiful, Micah.” A tilt of her head, still on his chest, but allowing her to study his face in near profile, “You are humble. Which I think would be surprising to most people if they knew.”

“It’s a trade secret.” The humor carries over into Micah’s tone, Abigail’s words actually causing a small chuckle to shake his chest. “It’d probably kill you to know that I actually wanted to work in the film industry as a kid, right?” He nods at the piano even as his hands motion to the bar. “Writing soundtracks for movies sounds dangerously appealing to a six year old. I thought I might be able to meet movie stars.” The thought of Micah Knoor, rock star extraordinaire, passing out at the sight of a movie star makes even him laugh. Her eyes quiet the smile, though. Looking into them with anything but awe seems immediately sacrilegious at that point. “Like I said earlier, Abs. Any human being who can look at you without respect has no idea what they’re looking at.” He pauses, eyes downcasting for only a short second. “You’re the type of person who deserves to have someone write songs about her.”

Abigail shakes her head, a small gesture, more felt that seen, in deference to her position, “No, I don’t think that that sounds surprising at all. Any six year old would love the idea of meeting movie stars. I imagine there were stars, even when you were at the height of your fame, that still left your dumbstruck when you finally met them.” With the music now silent, it’s possible to hear the murmuring of the bar, but it’s hushed, not the raucous shouts or conversations that might usually fill the bar. Rather, it’s almost soft enough to be background noise. Well, perhaps to the two by the piano, it is. “I’m nobody special, Micah, honestly. I’m only me, Abigail, from up the beach. No matter what else I’ve done in my life...she’s the only person I’ve ever wanted to be.” As he downcasts his eyes her free hand rises, fingertips cupping his chin, bringing his gaze back to hers, “Isn’t it lucky then, that I know just such a person. He might be capable of the task.”

“She’s the only person you ever wanted to be?” Micah repeats with a tone that is mild and amused. The din of bar goers serves to fill the silence left by the pilot’s consideration. Their glasses clink and their bellies laugh. From everywhere, though, eyes glance curiously to the couple at the piano. “Abigail from up the beach.” His voice barely rises above the noise in the bar. The words, more breathed than spoken, are meant only for her. “You’re making a hell of an impression on me.” Her hand, soft and cool against his chin, doesn’t meet any resistance. The man’s stormy grey eyes study her like like a priceless tome, though. It’s as if he’s trying to memorize that face. “Abby?” He breathes, nearly close enough to brush his lips against hers… before he turns his head slightly to half investigate the sounds of the bar over his shoulder. As much as his captured face will allow, that is. “What would you say to getting the frak out of here? I know a place a place a little quieter.”

“Yes. Whatever I eventually ended up doing, I just wanted to be me, doing those things. I didn’t want to...to wear a mask. To have to pretend to be someone that I wasn’t. I’ve never wanted that. No matter what the job was, or the duty station. I’m just...I’m not the woman I’ve been painted to be. I never have been. No more than you were what the industry made you, I think.” Even the noise from the bar can’t seem to really penetrate the bubble of stillness, of near silence around the piano. It should be uncomfortable, being so close, the eye contact immediate and direct, Abigail’s eyes studying, accessing. Should be, but isn’t. And there’s something there, in her gaze, a question, but unvoiced, that is nothing to do with the actual question she actually voices. “Micah?” The answer on her own lips, so close she can feel the heat of his, warming her own, but without direct contact. She does, however, as he turns his head, drop her hand to free his face, leaving her lips now, to offer soft words to his ear, “I’d say that might be the second best idea I’ve heard all night.” And then, just an edge of humour, “But I might need a hand up.”

“Who? The bubbly surfer blond who hangs off guys, does nothing but tan, and wears makeup to bed?” Micah’s chuckle is more felt than heard, the din of voices drowning the sound out entirely. “If that were you, Abby. I mean really you? I don’t think you would have had my attention 10 minutes.” He sounds like he’s going to say something else, but stops in the middle of the sentence. Instead, dark eyes shift from the rabble of the bar over his shoulder to that beautiful face against his chest. The faintest hint of a smile pulls one corner of his mouth into an arch. Her request, though, coming in clearly from over the sounds of drinking, causes a wider grin. “That dress. Gods damn, you look fantastic. But I feel like it should have come with a sewn in handicap sign. You’re tiny. Could anyone move in that thing?” When he helps her up, Micah stands, placing his body between her and the crowd until she can beat the dress into submission. Yes, there may have been strong hands used to piano keys around her hips for a moment, but who was going to say anything?

“In point of fact, I never wear makeup to bed.” Indeed, she barely seems to be wearing any makeup now, save perhaps some mascara and lip gloss. Just the few touches needed to accent her natural features. “But, yes, that exactly. Though I do dearly miss sunning myself on the beach.” Because Picon. “And, for my part, I think...I know, that I’m glad that you’re not...Micah Knoor, rock star.” There’s a moment, as she waits on that momentary lapse, waiting for his next words, brows creasing when they don’t come. The smile though, that she’ll return, her hand slipping down from around his back, to the edge of the bench, to begin to lever herself up from his lap. “I didn’t pick this dress because I wanted to move in it, Micah. I picked this dress, and these shoes,” because you can’t do anything adventurous in five inch heels without risking snapping your ankles, “Because I knew I would look like a showstopper.” She seems to have no trouble admitting she was dressing to impress, “Sometimes...you want to be noticed.” A brief stillness, as his hands settle on her hips, as she gets herself back in order. Finally, “Lead on.”


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