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December 31st

Maria was lost. She was lost in her mind and she was lost in her emotions. So here she was, late in the evening on the last night of a difficult year full of highs and lows for the young woman. Some people were about celebrating New Year's Eve. The would-be starlet, however, was not in the mood for a party. She had been invited to several, if for nothing other than a last ditch effort on the part of the wives that belonged to the firm she had worked for to make her feel less desolate at this supposedly happy time of the year.

She missed her family, she wanted nothing more than to talk with her now dead brother or to finally find her highschool sweet heart after his time in the war. The secretary needed someone to comfort her, alas, here she was in the middle of Washington D.C. staring out across the Potomac River as a ferry lazily pushed against the current.

Pulling her coat around her tighter to prevent the cold air from cutting against her fair skin, Miss Grace began walking some more, her fashionable pumps clicking against the hardpack as she tried to figure where she was going to go. Kicking a pebble into the water she continued onward for a while until she almost felt tired enough to hail a taxi to bring her home. However, as she did so, she looked up and caught sight of the lights and glitter of the cinema.

"I could watch a movie..." Or two. It was a double feature, and just what she needed to take the edge off this atrocious past two weeks. As she approached, and took the time into consideration, she realized she had already missed the featured film. Wild Orchids was the second though. A romantic melodrama, and almost a silent film. It was one of the strange films that came right at the cusp between silent and talkies. There was some sound, the most profound of which being a crowd and some clapping as well as a slamming door all to punctuate the actions that were occuring on screen. Plus, there was always the music.

Maria approached the teller window and handed over the five cash before heading in and grabbing a bag of popcorn and lemonade from the stand. "Happy New Years." She said to the girl behind the counter as she picked up her movie snacks and headed into the darkened theatre just in time to see the beginning of the flick in the abandoned theatre.

"Just as well..." She said under her breath as she moved through the aisle toward the front of the theatre where she counted back seven rows on the left hand side. It might be seen as a peculiar habit, but she always did it, and then she took her seat two seats in from the aisle, she hated to be right on the edge.

Settling into a comfortable position, Maria crossed her legs and then set the popcorn on her lap while shrugging off her coat leaving her in a dark skirt reaching to just below the knee and a white button up. The Catholic girl took a sip of her soda before starting in on one of the kernels of fluffy buttered corn. Overhead the screen lit up with the ship setting off for Java with Greta Garbo's character, Lillie onboard.

Maria smiled and rested her head against the back of the seat, reflecting on her past as much as watching the film. She was thinking of all the people she had wanted to see since she was in D.C. and yet hadn't. In addition to that, she was thinking of what she was going to do now that she had lost her job. There was only so long she was going to make it. Her boss had paid for her next month's rent, so she had that atleast, but beyond that? She decided she didn't want to think of it as she ate another piece of popcorn.

--Maria Grace


The almost-eldritch glittering of the cinema was truly impressive- the glow of the screen always awe-inspiring by virtue of the technological prowess required to create such a marvel. The lovely starlet on the screen looking, at the moment, rather saddened- tragedy lighting upon her countenance, filling every inch of her face. This was melodrama- and it was, in its own way, quite beautiful. The rawness and overaccentuation of raw human emotion was always endearing in its own way.

Maria's view of the movie was interrupted, though, as a rather imposing man cut before her, eyes dark and nose rather large. His hair was black and slicked back, as was fashionable in those times. He looked rather wealthy and well-dressed, to be sure, but there was a sleeziness about him, a sense of grim foreboding. Of course, Maria- being familiar with politics to the degree that she was- would recognize the man only vaguely. He was not exactly among the upper echelons of politics, yet, but he was a rising star within his own party. The name, though escaped her. Nickleson? Richard M Nickleson? Could that be right?

Something to that effect- his nose and beady eyes regarding the young Massachusetts girl intently as he moved past. "Move, lady. I don't have all day." The words were spoken in a kind of drawling accent that Maria would not be capable of immediately recognizing. There was a woman at his arm-- a woman who was decidedly younger than him. In fact, while the other man looked to be about 35, the woman was perhaps 18, if that. She giggled ferociously- as if it were her pastime, blonde hair continuously being pushed back behind her ear. She seemed a bimbo, and she was most definitely not Mister Nickleson's wife... not that this was especially surprising, in a city like D.C.

What was surprising, perhaps, was the moment that came only a few minutes after the two had passed Maria and were seated- and the sounds of soulful kissing came from the pair, his face planted firmly over the blonde youth's, her arms wrapping almost comically around the powerful politician.

Surely not a comfortable situation to be found in, by any stretch of the imagination.

--Aenigma


Koast grumbled as we walked the streets. That taxi driver gouged me, he had to have� stupid jerk If it wouldn�t have been a futile effort, he would have sneered back at the driver. Instead he simply settled to check the straps on his backpack, already confidant of the contents within. Maybe it hadn�t been the best of ideas to try and hail a cab while in his ratty attire� Ah forget it, what happened is already past.

Koast looked around the street, and then began plotting his course of actions in the city. It took a bit of effort to concentrate though. He kept getting lost in taking in the sights of DC. It took him a bit of effort, but he managed to get his mind straight. I need to find a place for the night, and I will need to find a job� That is a lot easier said than done�

Koast couldn�t help but remember the time he had in Virginia. It was strange, but he could swear the time he spent there might have not been that bad. It seemed more of a thing of curiosity that he came to D.C., an interesting thought to him considering his wanderlust practically brought him to Virginia from Massachusetts on foot.

Koast then let out a big yawn and couldn�t help himself from stretching. Ok, that topic was boring. Lets look into that place to stay.

Koast spent a good deal of time just walking around the city, taking in all the sites and learning the layout. All the while he could hear a voice in the back of his head telling him �You expect to get an apartment at this time of night?� The thought stopped him dead in his tracks as he let out a sigh.

It took all his mental willpower to not let any of this father�s �encouraging� remarks to slip into his memory, but it didn�t take long as a new sight definitely helped him clear his mind.

A movie cinema� its been a little while since I have been in one of those� I am sure I can take this� little break to see just one movie�

Alexi walked up to the entrance almost like a moth flies to the flame. He didn�t make much of the title, Wild Orchids, but then again he never did. He always watched the movies to be lost in the story, finer details were irrelevant to him. And, as the last of Koast�s resistance, like he was resisting in the first place, melted away he walked up to the front counter and handed over the cash.

He walked into the theatre almost in a trance, not bothering to get any drinks or popcorn, he never really bought much anyway. When he got to the theatre, his trance was abruptly broken by the sounds of a couple passionately� doing their thing. Koast wouldn�t have thought much of it, if it wasn�t for the fact that in the lighting, the man involved in the kissing looked to be an unwrapped mummy. Or at least he did to him.

Koast took the seat closest to the doorway, as was his habit and started watching the movie. It didn�t matter much to him that he had missed a bit of it, now was just as good of a time as any to be lost in the story� or would be if that blasted geezer and his floozy would stop making all that noise!

Koast turned over his shoulder to case the theatre, trying to see now how on earth anyone would be tolerating that kind of behavior when he noticed something that seemed to be plucked right out of his own memories.

It was different, it couldn�t have been, but it maybe, maybe it was, he hadn�t seen her in over a year, but to the best of his ability, in this light, it seemed like it was her up near the back of the theatre, sitting almost precisely where she always had.

It can�t be� is that Maria?

--Alexandyr


Maria was completely enrapt by the sights upon the great screen as the black and white flashed over the face of Greta Garbo putting her in the role of the exotic wife. The sultery star was everything that Maria wanted to be. Oh to be rich.. oh to be famous. She imagined herself in the role, and already, as she sat back, she was mouthing the words to the overly acted piece. Perhaps she had seen this one a few too many times. It was probably due to the fact that she so involved with what she was watching that she didn't notice the approach of the politician or his accessory.

"Hmm? What? Oh." She scooted back in her seat. A whole damn theatre... empty even... and they two of them need to sit in my aisle? Her eyes rolled slightly as the giggling girl passed by her knees, her back pressed up against the backrest of her seat as much as it could be. "Sorry." She mousily said, her Catholic manners still firmly in place, even if inwardly she cursed.

But as the man went by her, and she got an image of his profile she realized she had seen him before. Nickleson..? Why did that seem incorrect? She would have to look into it later, for now she was wishing that the sound track of the film could be turned up a notch or two so that the sickening sucking sounds would be drowned out. Loudly she sipped her soda and then filled her mouth with popcorn, hoping to crunch away the added auditory effects, however, it didn't help much.

Immerse yourself in the movie.. you've dealt with worse distractions. She took another handful of popcorn and began to munch. Jesus, Mary and Joseph! "Excuse me, I'm sorry, but you are being terribly loud, could you possibly keep it down a bit?"

It was ironic in a way, the movie portraying an unhappy wife, turning from her husband and seeking out the Javanese lover, and here was a married man, cheating on his wife during the film. The only difference was that Lillie was quite unhappy with her relationship... this greedy politician was just looking for some action on the side, with a girl that was younger than Maria herself.

The secretary smiled at the thought of Mrs. Nickerson doing something as brazen as the lead in the film once finding out about such an affair. I'd almost pay to see a old woman with an elephant rifle chasing that bimbo... She shook her head and then looked back at the screen. The girl had noticed that someone else was sitting closer to the screen, she hadn't seen them enter, but now she was regretting sitting in her routine spot.

--Maria Grace


Mister Nickerson coughed a bit, looking quite uncomfortable at Maria's words- his eyes blazing like twin shards of coal, though he said nothing immediately. It seemed he was afraid of causing too big a scene, at the moment- understandable if one knew who he was, and what he stood to lose- but was content to glower with impotent irritation at Miss Grace.

The woman, for her part, was another story.

Staring hideously at Maria, lips curled in a soft sneer. "What's the matter, honey? Jealous that you can't get any, so you spend your infertile life praying that you were a starlet?" She smiled, as if her own star were on its meteoric rise. "I know people like you. Frustrated with your own incapability to get a man, so you take it out on everyone around you. Well, I'm not going to listen to your whims, or my name isn't Dolores Sutt--"

By that point, Mister Nickerson had clamped a hand over the young woman's mouth and had consolingly touched her arm, smiling forcedly at Maria. "I'm sorry... I think my... friend... has had too many drinks, and I'd better take her home." The last spoken with emphasis as he positively glared at both Maria and Dolores, though more frustratedly at the latter. "Good day, miss."

And then they were sliding down the hallway, having a muttered squabble- apparently, from the tone and sound of their voices.

--Aenigma


Koast listened to the exchange, completely wordless as the tension rose drastically and at the same time dropped as the old man clamped his hand over the bimbo�s face. He could feel his anger rise at everything those two were saying to her, but was especially thankful when the pair began to leave. Something was odd about the old man, something seemed, well, odd. Odd enough that Koast made sure to get himself a good look at the man�s face before he disappeared.

Koast thought for a moment and mulled what he had heard through his head. Ok, no more doubt, that WAS Maria�

He sat there for a few minutes, mulling over in his head what to do next. I haven�t seen Maria in, what, about a year� What is she doing here? And then, what am I going to say? Do I just walk up to her and say hello, act like we used to? No, I never did that easily anyway� Maybe I should have a plan, like look like I am heading back and drop something� ah screw it.

Koast turned around, making sure to swallow any apprehension, because hell, he hadn�t seen her in a year, and had left rather abruptly� I think my cheeks are steeled for a slap, I hope.

�Maria? Hey is that you?� Koast could feel his heart somewhat jump into his throat, all hinging on whatever her reaction would be. She probably was the closest thing to a friend he had ever had, so he really hoped he didn�t have to endure a slap to the face.

--Alexandyr


Maria looked at the woman with contempt. Such a sad slut... She didn't voice that comment, however, rather relying on her good Christian morals to keep herself in check. Not that it was easy, this skinny little bimbo was calling her out on what was supposed to be a fun evening out at the movies. As the politician placed his hand over her sneering lips, the girl felt a wash of relief, atleast that torrent of insults had been snubbed. As they passed by she returned the glare with equalled ferosity.

Stupid people getting in my face when I'm just trying to have a nice night out. She rolled her eyes and then turned her attention back to the screen, and had another piece of the popped corn. The black, white, and grays flashed across the screen, covering her in the dim haze of the larger than life film. She chewed vigorously, somewhat getting out her tension through the crunching and as some approached she nearly died of annoyance.

"Listen I'm sorry if I disrupted your --" She had begun speaking at the same time he had, but had still heard what he said, and as she realized what he said she paused and actually looked up at him from her seat, two spaces in, as he stood in the aisle. "Koast?" Maria stared up at him dumbly. "Hi." The actress finally said, as she tried to think of what else she could possibly say to the guy that she hadn't seen in a year. Has it been that long? "I was just thinking about you." Stalker... "--Because! I was coming into the movies, and thinking of seeing this one with you before." She said uncomfortably as she dug herself further into her padded chair.

"I -- uhm. Do you want to sit down? Sorry, you should be just standing their in the aisle." The girl reached over and picked up her jacket that was laying on the seat next to her. "How have you been? - And where did you go? You left so suddenly, I thought I would hear from you again or something, but never did." For the moment, the movie had faded into the background.

--Maria Grace


Ahhh hell, I did not think this through, that question is a given� Koast swallowed a bit before giving his answer, he couldn�t spill his guts about the situation, for very good reasons that he would figure out later. However he did owe her something, she was pretty much his only friend. But what to say� �I� I had to go attend to some family matters. I decided to take some career advice from my father��

The memory flitted in his head completely unbidden. �You are coming with us and enlisting in the service, or god help me, you are going out onto the street!� Oh yeah, some advice�

Koast almost shuddered to himself at the memory, but quickly moved past it. �I have been alright. I have just been moving across the country, just taking in all the sights and everything around me.� Mostly because all of it was so boring Koast made sure to only think to himself. It was definitely strange talking to Maria again, it had been ages, and he so desperately wanted to write her while he was aimlessly wandering, but he had never been one for addresses�

�What about you? How have you been? And what have you been up to?� Koast almost spurted out, not wanting to dwell on his thoughts long enough to come to any embarrassing conclusions. A blush I want not to grace my cheeks, heh Koast was still somewhat stunned to just run into Maria, the thoughts of the aggravating old man having completely left his mind.

--Alexandyr


"Oh? Carreer advice?" She looked at him with some lacking of assurance. "I thought your pops was in the military though." If the pale girl could've blanched any whiter, it was luckily barely noticable in the bare lighting of the cinema. "You.. you didn't go to war, did you?" She thought of her brother, he had been her closest confidant, and then of her beau, both lost to her because of a large scale game of chess. The notion of war appalled her, and she thought Koast was not the type to go into the army.

But as he spoke further, saying he had been travelling over their country, she was a bit relieved. "I'd like to see more of the US." She said. "Certain things, you know? I guess not all of it, but it would be nice to go see the Pacific and maybe down south, except not in the middle of the summer, I hear it gets really hot. I don't think I could handle that. Too much of a New England girl." She smiled. "But that's just me, I guess."

"Me?" Just watching as my life crumples around me and starring roles pass me by... "Not much, either. Mostly recouperating from the war, I guess. So many of our boys were lost, I hope that it doesn't come to fighting again, ever. Peace would do us all well --" She paused and looked up at him.

"Are you going to sit down, or what?" Maria asked, motioning to the seat once again. "You're making me nervous standing in the aisle like that. Promise I won't bite." She laughed and waited for him to sit. "Popcorn?" With a fair smooth skinned hand she lifted the paper container and offered him some of the buttered snack.

Whether he took some or not she set it back down in her lap afterwards, cradling the food between her thigh and the arm rest of the chair she was in. Her right leg, crossed over her leg, bounced a bit, in beat with the music of the movie, as it continued to play in the background of their conversation. This had happened before, they would finded themselves immersed in some sort of a story and completely forget that they had paid to watch something in the theatre. Other times, though, they silently watched the film.

Now was much more about the two of them, though, so it made sense, having not seen one another for about a year made it so that people needed to make up for lost time. Maria, really, had a lot she could talk about, but most of the things that had happened in the past year had been the most traumatic of her entire life, and it definately wasn't light conversation by any means.

Reaching into the small paper bag Maria pulled out a piece of the popcorn. "I just got fired, though." She said and nodded, then licked her full lips to get the remnants of the salt from them. "I guess that's a bit more than 'nothing much', eh?" The Catholic girl laughed a bit, that way you do when you are trying to make light of a situation. "Yeah. I was working as a secretary, for this big law firm... then the lawyer did something." She shrugged. "So I lost my job."

She popped another crunchy piece into her mouth only to have it result in a kernel getting lodged between her backteeth. Damni -- darn.. it... Need to stop cussing so much. Since being in the city, Boston first, and then DC, she had found she had picked up several un-Christian habits, one of which being swearing. "I think that's probably my most exciting tid-bit. That and this..." She looked around the empty theatre. "I'm really glad I ran into you, I haven't seen anyone from up north in a while, since I moved here, none of my family or anything. A familiar face is very nice." She nodded in emphasis and then took a sip of her soda to try to wash down the kernel. "To think I wasn't even planning on going to the movies, I sort of just ended up here while walking."

--Maria Grace


Koast felt somewhat chagrined and felt himself almost blush a bit. �Sure, I will sit down. But I am still not too certain that you aren�t a biter.� Lame joke. Very lame joke, however it would make more sense for me to blush at a lame joke than it would to be just standing in the aisle like an idiot He ducked past her as quickly, and inelegantly, as he could and plopped himself down on the seat next to her. He made the proverbial bull look like a surgeon with his exploits, but he didn�t care� well until the next time he stumbled into someone.

He shuffled around a bit,, almost preening to get himself situated properly into the seat, the antithesis to his previous performance. It always amused him to think of how conflicting those behaviors seemed to those around him, well, save Maria. She never did seem to notice or care about that specific peculiarity of his, something that he couldn�t believe he had forgotten. It really has been a year hasn�t it?

Koast looked up at Maria and remembered what she had been saying before his acrobatic display. Taking a piece of the proffered salt encrusted, buttered, crunchy treat, Koast thought to himself a moment before responding. �Yes, I do think you are right that things are better at a peaceful state. However, not everything can return to a peaceful state��

Koast thought a bit to himself about his family situation. He did not miss his father at all, but that was not the issue. His mother had always been there for him, and she had always been quite useful as a source of guidance. Now there was little chances to ever return home to her. Especially now that the war has ended and Koast had not done �his civic duty�. His father would never let him come back. Not that he wanted to return, but he knew that with just his father, it must be miserable for his mother� What am I doing thinking about this. Snap out of the heavy stuff.

� From the frying pan into the fryer� Koast thought to himself as he heard Maria tell him about her employment woes. �I am sorry Maria, that must be quite frustrating to lose your job out of under you like that. Especially if it brought you out here.� Koast was definitely sympathetic, although he didn�t quite understand what it was like for her. He had never stayed long enough with one job for it to even consider firing him. It was an alien concept to him, so strange.

�You know, that is the oddest thing too.� He said after she mentioned just wandering in. �That is exactly what I did. I was more looking for a place to stay instead of a movie, but I just couldn�t help myself.� Koast noticed that Maria now had a bit of an air of consternation about her, or at least it seemed like that. He couldn�t quite place it, so he settled for just popping another handful of popcorn into his mouth. These things do have some sharp kernels, if one got in my teeth I would be after it for ages.

--Alexandyr

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