965/A Chance Alignment

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A Chance Alignment
Date of Scene: 03 April 2020
Location: Queens
Synopsis: Metaphors collide at the Queens Symphony Orchestra.
Cast of Characters: Marcus Xin-Murdoch, Alanna Lyons

Marcus Xin-Murdoch has posed:
    It seems the director has been feeling cosmic of late, or so suggests the evening's program. The evening began with Strauss' 'Thus Spake Zarathustra,' an operatic exultation now indelibly linked to Space Odysseys. Next up it will be Holst's 'The Planets,' taking a tour of the solar system by swinging between brassy bombast and sweet strings. But before the audience for tonight's performance of the Queens Symphony Orchestra is sent spiraling into the outer solar system, there is an intermission: a chance to enhance the experience by buying overpriced cocktails, to pursue intoxication while supporting The Arts. The line to the bar is long, but moves swiftly, the dedicated staff filling plastic flutes with passable champagne, swiping credit cards and taking cash if needs be.
    As chance would have it, the dark-suited silhouette of Marcus Xin-Murdoch is next in line. He flashes his high-wattage smile as he orders his drink, tipping generously and offering emphatic thanks before taking his portion of brut and moving to the edge of the space, where the sconced lights leave a little wedge of relatively dimness. Once safely in the this slice of shade his expression lapses into one of contemplation, sipping his drink as his dark eyes sweep across the crowd- pairs and groups converging and diverging, sharing words and gestures, little clusters of social gravitation, and him a comet on the outer edge of his ellipse.

Alanna Lyons has posed:
Two customers behind him, Alanna is ordering her drink by the time he's escaped to his shadow. Garbed in a dark blue dress that playfully stops around her knees and her hair pinned at the nape of her neck, it's a look of someone pushing some conservative influences for something a little more interesting at a classic event. She's alone, no escort at her side. She's less of a celestial body and more of a shooting star anyway.

With her plastic flute of champagne flute in hand, she steps off to the side with an apology in the direction of the pair behind her for being a little slow in her transaction. She moves away, just enough to examine the drink in her hand. She doesn't intentionally talk to Marucus, he just happens to be nearby when the thought pops out. "Do you think if there are enough donations they'll upgrade to glass for next time, or are we doomed to feel like we're only pretending to be 'high society'?"

Marcus Xin-Murdoch has posed:
He hadn't expected this- to be addressed, even inadvertantly. A flash of surprise crosses Marcus' features before he brandishes a smile: more reserved than the one he offered the bartender, and also a bit more spontaneous. "My bet?" Marcus says, tapping the snap-on plastic base of the flute, "they have the money for glassware, but want to maintain a 'scrappy underdog' atmosphere. Queens is not Manhattan, and proud of the fact."

He's answered her question, could excuse himself if he really wanted to preserve his privacy, but finds himself - with the inevitability of physics - drawn into Alanna's orbit. The laws of reciprocity lead him to pose his own query: "Is anyone here 'high society', do you think? Isn't it mostly salaried strivers dressing up like robber barons for the weekend?" He arches a brow, regarding the woman in her blue dress, the dash of daring that stands out all the more next to his well-fitting but laconic ensemble. "Aren't we, as well? Or are you a princess, come down to mingle with the presumptuous peasants?"

Alanna Lyons has posed:
"They should have rebelled entirely in that case. Donated unmatching mugs. 'I heart New York' meets 'Route 66' meets 'Number One Dad'. It could be like fortune cookies... who knows what message will be given to you by some unseeable fate." Alanna seems altogether too amused by her idea--even if it would never stand a chance in seeing the light of day. An amusing thought, at least, that she's willing to share with a stranger.

The initial conversation was an amusing quip, no exchange really expected beyond that, but instead she finds herself smiling. She takes half a step more out of the way of those passing before she fixes her attention back on Marcus. "Perhaps we all like to play pretend sometimes. Peasant or princess alike." She pauses. "But I'll tell you a secret. If I'm a princess, I'm not much of one." She lifts her foot a bit, gesturing to her shoe--which does match the color of her dress perfectly. "These aren't designer. Pretty sure it's a rule that they only leave the house in designer shoes and glass slippers. But what of you?"

Marcus Xin-Murdoch has posed:
Anonymity allows for an openness that rivals intimacy; it's why strangers at a bar can tell their life stories to each other before going their separate ways. They're not quite at that point yet, but Marcus does find himself more casually gregarious than is typical. He's said more in this past minute than he expected to all evening. Well- assuming he didn't meet a prominent constituent. There's always that chance. It's half the point of showing up. But this, this is entirely unexpected.

"We always want what the other half has, because we don't see the whole thing, and fill in the rest with our imagination," Marcus says, shifting ever so slightly to welcome Alanna into his alcove. He's angled towards her, still making the room a shared prospect, but slowly, inevitably, succumbing to his interest. Not that he's quite ready to ask for her name. That might break the spell. "Maybe you're just making your pauper costume more convincing. Princesses are more worldly these days than the storybooks would have us believe. I remain suspicious." Though it's not quite suspicion that describes his gaze, the way he searches her expression. "Me? A prodigal son and would-be patron of the arts, with a secret wish to be home with a book."

Alanna Lyons has posed:
"Now that I wholeheartedly believe. You strike me as a bookish sort, though that makes me surprised you're talking to me. I do have a spine, but I'm afraid I'm not made of paper and a bit hard to read," Alanna seems /far/ too amused by the wordplay. She doesn't get much of a chance to do it. "So, you've at least determined I'm not a book, but are still suspicious of my royal blood."

She takes a sip from the plastic flute. "I would take off my shoes and walk home if it would prove it, but I'd rather not draw that kind of attention. Believe it or not, I can actually be rather shy. Perhaps it's these two sips of champagne. I must be a lightweight."

Marcus Xin-Murdoch has posed:
"So we're both of us acting a bit out of character," he suggests, accepting her analysis, allowing her to shade him in with her imaginings just as he must be doing with her. "And I don't think it's the two sips. Not for me, or for you." There's something measured going on behind Marcus' eyes, in the alcove of alcoves- a weighing and measuring. And then, a motion, a shift in his posture. "I'd guess it's the company rather than the drinks."

He's turned away from the crowd entirely now, offering the rest of the room his shoulder. No longer scanning the space, his attention is hers, without pretense. "The best books are like the best people; inexhaustibly deep. Each with a story, and more than a story: a world."

Alanna Lyons has posed:
"That's a rabbit hole you don't want to fall into, Alice," Alanna says with something of a laugh. She looks at him for a moment, almost unsure, but the expression is brief and immeditely brushed aside with a sip of her drink. Nerves? "Sometimes, though, you want a light, fluffy book. A quick read that makes you feel good. You don't have to think too much. Sometimes it's not even well-written, but you feel good afterwards. Maybe not the /best/ book, but still nothing wrong with it."

She tilts her head as she looks at him. "You seem like the kind of book that people don't realize is any good because it's been buried on the back shelf, lost somehow in the shuffle of more popular books. Mind you, this is a stranger's assessment, so please take no offense."

Marcus Xin-Murdoch has posed:
A very slight narrowing of the eyes, a very slight crease of the brow. Not displeasure, but Marcus is definitely thinking, an activity he takes rather seriously. A sign that he is, perhaps, not practiced with things light and fluffy. "So- like a glass of middling brut in a plastic flute. Effervescent, undemanding. Disposable?" A slight canting of his head, as he pivots into a question, pressing the issue. "Or do you return to the books you love lightly?"

As she makes him subject to his own metaphor, Marcus smiles again, another flash, even more unbidden than the last. That much less guarded. "Are you any more likely to read a book just because it's tucked away? Because it's a mystery? Maybe books like that are trying to remain unread. Maybe they're hiding themselves for a reason."

Alanna Lyons has posed:
"I only return things that are awful." Alanna notes, her eyes focusing on him. "Lightly loved books are passed on to someone who will likely love them more than I. Nothing good is disposable. Everything has a use." She swirls the alcohol in its plastic container before taking a long swallow.

"Perhaps they're hiding themselves because they're afraid of what would happen if they were read. Is being read a bad thing? I've always thought books were /meant/ for reading... but perhaps our metaphor is getting away."

Marcus Xin-Murdoch has posed:
"Most, maybe. But not necessarily by everyone. Sometimes they are for the eyes of a few. Some just for one." Marcus shakes his head, a subtle motion, but from someone so composed a little goes a long way. "And maybe it has gotten away from us a little. I'm enjoying the game, but I'm not sure we've agreed upon the rules." Seeing her drink, he drinks as well, finishing his flute. Fairness, it seems, is something he cares about.

"I-" he begins, and then - lo and behold - the lights flash, on-off-on. Intermission is coming to an end. The Planets await. Marcus' expression turns rueful, his weight shifting from leg to leg, caught by tidal forces. "Well-" he begins, but can't seem to find his way to a finish.

Alanna Lyons has posed:
Alanna's eyes turn upward at the flashing lights. "Seems like it's over before it even started," she laments. While he seems at a loss, her free hand moves out towards him to offer a handshake. He might have been a little unsteady, but she seemed to be right on her feet. "I'm Alanna. And I appreciate the opportunity to talk. This was nice. Unexpected."

She seems to think for a moment. There's the slightest moment of hesitation, then she moves to fish for something in her purse. After a second, she offers forth a small card. It doesn't have anything on it save for a phone number. "In case you get bored."

Marcus Xin-Murdoch has posed:
The offer of her hand brings him back to himself at once, long habit providing a bridge back. Marcus takes her hand and gives it a shake, firm without being close to domineering. Something else practiced about him, something else groomed. But his expression is if anything more immediate than ever before. There's pleasure there, and wistfulness, and - as the card appears - undisguised excitement.

"Marcus," he says, since fair is fair - noting how they each withhold their last name, maintaining some mystery. "This," he says, taking the card in hand and giving it a single comprehensive glance before looking her in the eyes, "is not an if, Alanna. It's a when."

Alanna Lyons has posed:
There's the slightest hint of a brow raise as he speaks. It's clear she wasn't expecting that level of return, and the smile Alanna gives is slow to grow, but certainly there. "Well, Marcus, hopefully your when isn't actually a bold-faced 'if'." She glances towards the direction of their seats.

She narrows her eyes at him slightly, but there's a smile there. "You're the one with the number, Alice. Careful you don't fall in." She gives him a bit of a nod in his direction before she begins to move towards her seat once more.