2011 06 14: The Invited

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Mission Name: The Invited
Date of Mission: June 14, 2011
Locale: Tamara's apartment

After having invited Ashley to her apartment, the two discuss amongst other things, her snottiness.

Ashley Tamara

Tamara has been busy lately, but that doesn't mean the befuddled coroner has dropped off her to-do list, oh no. She thought for some time on what sort of pretence to use to see him again, but then, in the end, opted to just invite him over. Simple, clean, and other than seeming a bit indifferent as to whether or not he takes her up on the offer to see her new place, no mind games. At least none that he can see, anyway. The apartment is still rather barren, like it came furnished and Tamara hasn't added any personal touches to it yet. She lingers now at the kitchen island, idly flipping through the newspaper that she found on her doorstep this morning. The previous tenants must have forgotten to cancel their subscription. Oh well. Hers now.

Ashley, on the other hand, has no idea what has brought him to Tamara's doorstep. He wears a white button-down shirt, blue jeans, and polished black shoes. Even in his casual state, he carries the air of someone who doesn't really know how to relax. His eyes look a little bloodshot from lack of sleep and he's got a bit of five o'clock shadow growing. Who knows how many hours that he's been on duty before coming here? After debating mentally with himself for a moment in the hallway, he finally knocks on Tamara's door.

"It's open," Tamara calls out, not terribly concerned about security. She's got at least five weapons ready-at-hand if it turns out to be someone she doesn't want to see, and besides, she's fairly sure it's Ashley, since he's the only one she's given this address to so far. The slight element of uncertainty is just what makes it fun. Even as she's calling out the invitation to enter, she's also straightening up to begin sauntering towards the door, leaving the paper splayed out across the island in her wake.

The man raises a brow when Tamara simply says 'it's open'. He opens the door and steps inside with mild apprehension, spotting Tamara and smiling. "Ah. It's a pleasure to see you again, Miss… err, Tamara. You look well." His tone carries the politeness of someone raised in all the right social circles who has been taught etiquette from the time he could walk and talk. He looks unsure when he steps into the apartment though, putting his hands in his pockets. "You have a nice place. It's very… clean. I like it."

"Miss Tamara. Well, that's an improvement, at least," Tamara teases him with a gentle smile, inviting him further into the room with a sideways cant of her head. "I'm glad you could make it Ashley. Please, come in, make yourself comfortable." She can do the social graces as well, when she feels like bothering. "I'd say 'make yourself at home', but it's not quite there yet. I've only just moved in," she explains, as she begins moving back towards the kitchen. "But yes, it will do. I couldn't take living out of a hotel room much longer. Can I get you something to drink?"

"No, thank you." Ashley says, moving to sit down on her sofa. He keeps his hands in his pockets and looks around. He seems on the verge of paranoid, but moreso than that, just plain insecure about what he's doing in a stranger's apartment when he should be out investigating deaths. Finally the man lets out a tired sigh and cuts to the quick of the conversation. "I don't mean to sound rude, Tamara, but I'm wondering why you've invited me here. Let's both just be honest. You're way out of my league and I'm just a coroner. I'm not even remotely interesting and that first time we met, I was almost as dead as a doornail. If you want my kidneys, I'm sorry to have to tell you that they aren't very good."

When he declines the drink, Tamara gives a little shrug and just grabs a bottle of water for herself from the almost-barren fridge. She doesn't rush to answer his question, waiting until she's moved to join him in the living room, choosing the love seat rather than joining him on the couch. "You've got an air of old money and yet you aren't an asshole," she replies with a shrug, seeming unbothered by the abrupt inquiry. "I don't mix terribly well with the poor - they seem to think I'm a snob - and finding someone in a higher income bracket I can stand for more than a few minutes, well. It was enough to earn you an invite over." She twists off the cap of her water and takes a small sip, giving him a level look as she re-caps it. "Why did you accept?"

Ashley watches Tamara for a fleeting moment before focusing his attention his shiny black shoes. He wets his lips with his tongue and then looks up at the blonde once more, tilting his head at her in an inquisitive fashion. "I guess out of curiosity, mainly. And to find out why you would invite me here. This is New York city and you barely know me. I barely know you, for that matter. Either one of us could have nefarious schemes up our sleeves." He doesn't mention whether or not he personally thinks Tamara is a snob.

"Ah, but I'm new in town. I guess I haven't learned all the ins and outs of nefarious scheming just yet," Tamara points out with a shrug and just enough of a smirk to suggest she's not really trying to sell the hapless bumpkin routine. "I get that I scared you off before. I didn't mean to come on so strong, but I'm not really the type to hesitate or second-guess myself. You're cute in a bumbling scientist sort of way and you seem nice… and scheme-free. I wanted to talk to you and so I did. You've probably given it more thought than I ever did."

"Overthinking and rethinking is part of my job. After all, it would be easy enough to conclude that a man died from a heart attack if the signs were there, and to overlook subtle things such as fingernail marks on the neck. But you just can't. So yeah, I probably did over-analyze the situation." He pauses and reaches up to adjust his glasses on his nose, glancing at the blonde with a furrowed brow. "I apologize if I'm being rude. These things just don't ever really happen to me — perhaps because I'm at work so much, and well… obviously most of the females there don't want to date me for one reason or another." Because most of them are usually dead, yeah. And then he realizes his faux pas. "Not that this is a date or anything. I'm just saying. I don't get invited anywhere by attractive young ladies. I've accepted that I'm past my prime for anything."

"Now, that's depressing," Tamara tells him in a discordantly light tone. "You probably don't get invited anywhere by us attractive young ladies-" The phrase clearly amuses her enough to bear repeating. "-because you don't exactly seem interested in going anywhere. And few attractive young ladies are as stubborn and ballsy as I am." She does take some pride in that fact. "And you can stop apologizing. You're not being rude; I really doubt that you could if you wanted to. But you're welcome to try. I'm annoyingly hard to offend, you'll discover. Say what you want to say."

Ashley raises a brow when Tamara says 'ballsy', but he ends up flashing a bright white grin at her. "Stubborn is good sometimes. In small enough doses…" His teasing tone seems to indicate that he might realize she's more than just a little stubborn. The man finally relaxes enough to place his back against the sofa, crossing his legs at the ankle. "And you're right. I'm not exactly interested in going anywhere. It's a… long and depressing story, really." He doesn't say much more than that for a moment before he finally snaps out of whatever silent reverie he's lost in, smiling at her. "You're right. I doubt I could offend you. I sense the Force is strong in you, young padawan."

Tamara isn't oblivious to her word choice and the reaction it evokes, but that only seems to amuse her. He gets points for not overreacting, at least. "Mm. How small are we talking?" she replies, like the amount of stubbornness might be open to negotiation. Not that she's ever going to fit within a measure described as 'small'. "Ooh, long and depressing stories. My favourite. No wait, opposite of that. So you're not that interested in going anywhere. Guess I solved the mystery of why you don't get invited." She toasts her own cleverness with another sip of her water. The Star Wars reference gets a little laugh. "Careful, your geek colours are showing."

"I don't think you're capable of that small." Ashely simply says, smiling at her. "If geeky is the worst thing that I get called for the rest of the month — or Hell, year — then I suppose that I can live with it, honestly." He doesn't embark on his long and depressing story since Tamara has vetoed it, making him look significantly relieved. "Yeah, case closed. Guess that was an easy mystery to solve. You didn't even have to Scoob and the gang, or haul the van out."

"No, probably not, but I do like to know what I'm up against. Could never resist a challenge," Tamara replies with an easy grin as she settles back on the couch herself, bottle of water held loosely in one hand. "And, well. Sticks and stones, right? Besides, I bet I hear worse than you do on any given day." Does the competitive edge go to the snobby bitch or the isolated geek in this case? Either way, from Tamara's attitude, the insults only serve to amuse her like anything in life. "So, yes. Now that I've figured you out, I'll have to find something else to do with my time. Maybe one of those double-sided jigsaw puzzles."

Ashley seems to pick up on the hint that he may well be considered a challenge. His brow quirks before he just smiles at her. "I feel like I should say 'no offense' again, but since you've intimated that it's not necessary… you do carry a certain air of snobbery around that my father and mother would simply adore. You're not from Connecticut, are you? You should be." He tips an invisible hat to the woman in kudos at her snottiness. It… even sort of came off like a compliment, weirdly enough. "Double-sided jigsaw puzzles cause nothing but frustration, but I can't promise that I won't do the same."

"Mm. Well, I am going to take that as a compliment, I think. I'm from all over, really. I've been to Connecticut. But hometown pride, if I had any, would belong to Florida, I'm afraid. As it was, I left as soon as I was legally able to," Tamara replies indifferently. It was all so long ago. And so fictional. "I like the good life. I don't see why I should have to apologize for that." There's no defensiveness there, just a simple explanation, complete with a languid shrug of her shoulders. "You sound like you speak from experience. I guess if I'm taking the chance on being frustrated, you're a little easier to talk to than a puzzle of the Hang In There kitty."

Ashley nods a little bit at her before he smiles and shrugs his shoulders. "Florida isn't exactly where I'd picture the wealthy population coming from. Admittedly, I do tend to associate it with geriatrics and oranges." There's no hint of distrust in his voice or any inkling that he might know she's fabricating her answers. "I should be a little easier to talk to than the poster. I'm a doctor of psychology. If I weren't at least approachable… I'd be a total failure, I guess. Instead of just the half of one I am now." His self-deprication makes him grin.

"Ah, well, don't forget Palm Beach," Tamara replies, lifting her eyebrows slightly. She's kind of amused by his vision of Florida, just the same. "Plenty of old people and citrus as well though. Some things are much better left in the past." She pauses for another sip of her water, crossing one leg over the other as she considers him, comparing him to that poster of a kitten hanging from a tree branch. "I think you might come out on top, yes. Admittedly, I haven't checked on the cat's credentials. Until then, I can't rule out that he's a Nobel laureate. But for now, I'll grant the victory to you. Psychology, hm? How do you get from there to coroner? I can't imagine they give many helpful answers when you put them on the couch."

"The position was open and I have a minor in criminology. I do suspect that the family name got me in good with the city officials, however." Ashley doesn't say it in a conceited way; it's just a matter of fact statement coming from him. He smiles over at Tamara and gives a shrug of his shoulders. "Well, if the cat does in fact have some kind of degree or award that I don't and is of more prestige than I am, I won't be offended if you decide not to call on me again. Thank you for your graciousness so far." He winks at her before finally taking his hands out of his pockets, only to reveal his cell phone. He's checking the time.

"Funny how it is. You can have all the degrees in the world, and it will still come down to your last name," Tamara muses, just reflecting on this peculiarity of life rather than celebrating or railing against the injustice of it. "But I say, when you have an advantage, use it. As long as you enjoy the job. And try not to let it kill you." Yes, she still suspects him of overwork. His tiredness upon arrival did not go unnoticed. "As for you and the cat… I shall let you know how it turns out. You should know you've been a strong contender either way." Her eyebrows lift just slightly as she catches him eyeing the time, wondering his opinion on the lateness of the hour more than caring what the actual time is.

Ashley nods affably in the blonde's direction. "That is how some things in life seem to go. I feel bad sometimes for having such connections. It doesn't seem fair. But just the same, I actually did my own work throughout school and strived to be the best I could. I realize that without money and a name, it would have only gotten me so far. I suppose I should be thankful." Ash sounds a little less than thankful, however. He makes no remark about the job killing him, grinning over at Tamara. "I assume that my invite over here means I'm a strong contender for something. I have no idea what, but you strike me as a woman full of surprises." There's a brief pause. "Unfortunately, I should be going and getting a few meager hours of sleep before I start my shift in the morning. At least I'm not on call." Ashley stands up and waits for Tamara to walk him to the door.

Tamara seems genuinely pleased when Ashley confirms interest in a second … whatever this is. Is it because her plan is coming together or something less insidious? Possibly even she doesn't know. "I look forward to embarrassing you at work then. Everyone could do with at least a little scandal in their lives." She follows him towards the door, offering a little smile and a nod. "I hope so as well. And no, murder and weapons aren't exactly my thing," she assures him, finding some inward amusement at the multiple layers of meaning. "Have a good night, Ashley. I suspect we shall talk again soon."

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