Fresh Air

Title: Fresh Air
Who: Colin and Tiago
When: August 25th, 2010
Where: Coffee shop patio in the Melting Pot
What: Tiago randomly strikes up a conversation with Colin over coffee and the two end up exchanging their fancy business cards.

===< The Melting Pot >---------< OOC|#98 >===

The Melting Pot is a very laid back and exotic part of San Angeles. Low cost housing is available along with bars with plenty of personality, coffee houses that often feature live poetry readings and bands, occult bookstores, dozens of private art galleries, antiques shops, tattoo parlors and the less mainstream shops that wouldn't be viable in more upscale locations. The best ethnic restaurants can be found here, usually arranged in clumps of a block or two holding both food and shops of a particular ethnicity.
The architectural style of the Melting Pot is a sort of history of the architecture of California. The streets are laid out in a spiral pattern with the area surrounding Norton Station being the most modern, and then changing gradually from style to style as one moves towards the center of the area where the bulk of the galleries can be found.

Mandiba……………………<MA> The Other Change of Hobbit…..<CH>
Market Row…………………<MR> Beachfront…………………<BF>
Residential District………..<RD> Norton Station……………..<NS>


The late afternoon sun still shines down along the main drag, which has a bit of commuter traffic both in cars and feet. The main drag is home to a row of various small shops; one of those shops for neo-Pagans with crystals and tarot cards, another is a quiet bar with an upper balcony. Along with botiques, delis, specialty shops, and the ubiquitous coffee klatch places. Said coffee spots usually involve an indoor area, and an outdoor patio that's fenced off, but the fence is low enough for people sitting outside to people watch. Along one edge sits one Colin Reed…who has never had to commute to a job a day in his life. He's dressed in tan khaki shorts and a black t-shirt with sandals, enjoying a hot mug of…something as he relaxes. Namely, Rose told him to get out of the lab and get some fresh air.

Working from home most of the time has its benefits but being cut off from the rest of the world isn't one of them, especially for a man as sociable as Tiago Ferruguento. Visiting coffee shops, indulging in people watching and chatting up the occasional stranger is a habit he's gotten into in recent weeks. It helps avoid the onset of loneliness, even if it does cut into the time he's supposed to spend working. There's a bag slung over his shoulder, in which lurks a sketchpad that he can use to get some work done if the mood strikes. His costume is also bundled up and stashed in a corner of the bag. Just in case. Having procured something suitably black and steamy in a pleasingly rotund mug, he wanders back outside, an easy smile on his lips as he glances around at the tables. One or two of them are free but he's not interested in that right now. Instead, he ambles towards a man in a black t-shirt, offering him a smile as he tugs the sunglasses from his face. "Is this seat taken?" he asks, gesturing at an empty chair close to the man.

It's when he hears a voice that Colin is taken slowly from whatever thoughts he was dealing with, and he turns his head to an angle to get a look at the man with the question. The outer patio is pretty crowded, between regulars and tourists and shoppers on break, and the brown-haired man lifts a leg to scoot a chair out from the table. "Nah," he says. "I'm not expecting anyone. Go nuts."

"Obrigado," Tiago says softly, allowing some Portuguese to slip out. He offers an appreciative smile as he carefully places his mug down on the table before letting his bag drop from his shoulder. Sliding it under the chair with his foot, he settles down into the seat and takes a grateful sip from the piping hot beverage. Tasty. As he savours the heat on his tongue, he turns his gaze up to the sky, squinting against the rays of the sun. It's far from sweltering but it's a pleasant enough day. "A nice day, isn't it?" he says. Apparently he isn't one of those people who minds their own business once they've invaded a stranger's personal space. "Beats being stuck indoors, yes?"

"That," Colin replies with a soft laugh, "is the second time I've heard that today. I have a…friend to remind me when they feel I've been working too hard." This is punctuated with a lift of his shoulders. My computer told me to get out, is what he doesn't say. "It's nice…I like the breeze, but I have to drink this slowly," he says, indicating the mug in hand. "I'm used to working, so when I'm not, it's like brain-lock. Like I should have a laptop or something." He takes a pull of the coffee, feeling the drink work its way down and the heat assaulting sore muscles.

Tiago laughs softly, the kind of easy laugh which suggests he doesn't feel at all awkward or uncomfortable about making conversation with someone he doesn't know. "I know what you mean. I admit, I brought my work with me," he adds, leaning down to tap on the side of his bag to indicate what he's referring to. He pauses to take a sip from his drink, gaze drifting beyond the fence as he does so. The sun is just bright enough to make him squint, he realises, so he elects to slide the shades back onto his face. "So what are you getting away from?" he asks, before deciding that sounded a little nebulous. "What do you do for a living?"

"Uh…" Colin is not the most eloquent of speakers, the scientist in him usually holding the reins. He sets the cup down, taken in by the other man's gregarious nature. "I'm a scientist," he explains. "Working with biologicals, plants in specific. Botany, Biology, Genetic Science…I do a lot of research, to see what effects plants can have on the environment, and what can be done with them to assist people. Waste control, disease prevention, that sort of thing." He becomes a little more animated as he speaks; this is his 'thing.' "And finding natural alternatives to materials like plastics and other non-bio-degradeables." He stops for a moment. "Obrigado? That is…not Spanish, is it?"

As the man speaks, Tiago listens with interest, his thumb absently rubbing against the handle of his mug in between occasional sips. His eyebrows raise a notch, which is a sign that he's impressed. His own trade may be one which is usually regarded as vacuous but that doesn't mean Tiago himself is. The fact that he spends so much time with magazine editors and models just makes his current conversational companion all the more interesting. "So you're a scientist? That must be fascinating. A good job to have," he declares, leaning back in his chair even as his grin broadens. "Certainly more impressive than mine. I just design clothes." His smile remains at the language question, a brief shake of the head offered along with it. "Portuguese. That is where I'm from originally." He pauses, before deciding to hold out his palm in the offer of a handshake. "I am Tiago, by the way. Tiago Ferruguento."

In answer, the scientist…who looks a bit young for the vocation, extends his hand. "Colin Reed," he says. "There's a 'Doctor' on the front of it, but I leave that to the academics and business aspects. Here, I'm just…well, Colin." His eyes widen a bit. "So you can draw? That's awesome!" Colin…has not that ability. "Do you work for one of the big-names, or are you working on your own studio?" He nods, as he is corrected on the Language. "Portugal? Fantastic. There's some native plant strains there that are unique to the planet, and…" He coughs. "I was told not to bring my work with me, see."

"If I had 'Doctor' before my name, I would force everyone to use it all the time. I would insist," Tiago grins, shaking Colin's hand firmly before letting go. Doctor Ferruguento would sound terribly impressive, in his opinion. He smiles as Colin enquires about his work. "I'm one of the designers at a fashion house called Delirium. It's a little indie label but we're doing pretty well these days. Not so well that I can afford to fund my own studio just yet though," he adds with a wry smile as he lifts his mug. "One day maybe." He takes a gulp of his coffee as Colin briefly becomes a little more animated again. He's just met the guy but he can already tell that the way to get him excited is to talk about plants. There are too many passionless people in the world, in Tiago's opinion, so Colin's enthusiasm is good to see. "Please, talk about it all you want. I think it is interesting," he replies, his words coloured by his soft accent but sounding no less genuine for it. "Have you ever visited Portugal? There are some beautiful places there. I bet that you would like it."

"I'm afraid I haven't," Colin replies. "I haven't done a whole mess of travelling, but the way you describe it, it doesn't sound bad at all." He adds a laugh. "When I first got my degree, I was 'Doctor' this and 'Doctor' that. I admit it. Just…it wore thing with me after a while. I couldn't explain it. So I've been judging time and place and all that, for when it's appropriate." His own fingers runs along the rum of his mug. "If you ever want to show me designs…well, I'm a bad judge of that sort of thing, but I'd look."

Tiago smiles as he listens to Colin talk. He often attempts to make conversation with strangers in situations such as this but people aren't usually so forthcoming. It makes for a refreshing change and an enjoyable conversation. When Colin offers to look at his designs, Tiago's face brightens further. "I can give you a look at the design I'm working on right now?" he suggests, tugging his bag out from between his feet as he does so. Unzipping it, he reaches in to pull out his sketchpad. His costume is wedged in a corner but he's not worried about Colin spotting it. All he'd see would be some black and white material, nothing too incriminating. Given that he works in fashion, it wouldn't be odd for him to be seen carrying fabric around. Once he has the pad free from the bag, he rests it on his knee, turning his chair a little so that Colin can see. He flips through a few pages of sketches, as well as a couple of pages with samples of material fastened to them before reaching his latest masterpiece. It's a tight, off the shoulder dress, coupled with a long scarf and an elaborate headdress. Most of the dress is painted in a vivid midnight blue, save for the lower half of the skirt, the only incomplete part of the drawing. "Ignore the headdress and the scarf," Tiago says. "They're just extras for the runway. The dress is the real design. Or it will be, if I can ever get the hem of the skirt right," he adds, hs brow crinkling as he casts a critical eye over his work.

Shifting his chair over so he can sit closer and get a better look, if Colin notices the black-and-white fabric inside the bag, he either doesn't say anything or just assumes it's because Tiago works in fashion. And seeing the swatches on some of the pages reinforces that theory. His eyebrows lift as he sees the design, and he chuckles a little at the designer's explination of the props. "I've seen some old pictures of fashion shows, and always thought they knocked each other over with all the big stuff," he adds, but nods as he focuses on the dress itself. "I like the color," he says. "It's…I think of evenings and outdoor parties looking at it. Like, formal things." He shakes his head. "I'm afraid I can't help," he offers. He's in jeans and a polo shirt. Not even designer brands; just straight off the rack. "But I think it looks cool."

Apparently Colin gave the correct response because Tiago grins happily. "Looking cool is what I'm shooting for so that is good to hear." He pauses as he eyes the picture one more time, before rummaging in his bag and emerging with a pencil. "This is for a line of evening dresses we are trying. We usually target our clothes at club kids so this is a departure for us. My idea. So there is a lot riding on this next show for me," he admits, a look of worry just about visible in his eyes behind his usual cheeriness. He quickly scribbles a note beside the drawing, apparently having had an idea for the skirt while they've been looking at it, before flipping the pad shut and sliding it back into his bag. He turns his gaze back up at Colin as he struggles with the zipper, the full force of his smile back on his lips. "I would ask to see some of your work sometime but I am not sure I would understand it. Your world sounds a little more intellectual than mine." His grin suggests that the shallowness of his industry doesn't bother him, but he does recognise it. "Do you work for one of the big companies in the city or…?" He doesn't really know what the set-up might be for someone in Colin's field.

"I'm not sure…" Colin shakes his head, embarassed. "It's not an intellectual thing, but it's a little more complicated than just growing plants." He admits to working with plants. But he knows the Mad Science he pulls off with plant-based technology tends to weird people out. Flora put him to the question when they met months back, and she had a background in such due to her powers. "Another time, I promise. I don't really work for the big companies other than contracting for some R&D. I keep my own private lab." In a giant redwood in the park. For that brief moment Colin feels so very not normal. "But pure intellect is countered by creativity," he protests. "Don't sell yourself short, please."

Tiago's smile becomes a little softer and he inclines his head in a slight nod. "I will try not to." Having finally convinced the zipper to play ball, he shoves the bag back under the chair and lifts his coffee mug, taking a bigger gulp now that it's cooled down a little. "I would like to see what it is that you do though. I am being truthful with you, I would find it fascinating," he says, his accent getting briefly stronger for no particular reason. That happens sometimes and he never really knows why. He's still easy enough to understand so he pays it no mind. "I do not often have the opportunity to see the inside of a lab. Not since school, in fact. And yours is probably a little more impressive than a school lab, yes?" he adds with a laugh. A thought occurs to him and he puts down the mug again, once more pulling out his bag and opening up a side pocket to retrieve something from it. He might as well have just dumped the contents of the bag onto the table when he first arrived. "This is my card," he says, handing Colin a small laminated card with Tiago's contact details on it in a slanted font. There's a Photoshopped transparent image in the background of three faceless models wearing his designs. It makes him grin that he has see-through people on his business card, even if he's the only one who gets the ghostly joke. "Feel free to give me a call any time you want to meet up for coffee again. Good excuses to get some fresh air are good for both of us, I think," he smiles.

"The lab is…something to see, I admit," Colin admits, his smile going a bit sheepish. He did build the thing. "It's not like most labs, for a few reasons, but it's clean and composed, and since I have my living space there, it's all…" He waves a hand. "In the same pattern, right? So it's not contrasting with the rest of the place." He knows what he means, but this isn't his forte, explaining it. "Oh, cool," he whispers, eyeing the holograms and the card, as he reaches into a pocket to get hiw own. "Um, part of my design," he explains, with the pale grey-green card with darker green ink. "The paper, naturally, but the ink is a plant-based design of my own, with no artificial components. Biodegradeable, and a little easy to produce, but only on the small scale so far."

Tiago nods along as Colin describes his lab. He seems to know exactly what the other man means, probably because he has the sensibilities of a designer, even if interior design isn't his area. He has a small makeshift studio at home that doesn't really look like a studio because it's designed in the same way as the rest of his apartment so he's in much the same boat. Reaching out, he takes hold of Colin's card, casting his gaze over it approvingly. He only looks more impressed as Colin reveals he created the ink, his eyebrows shooting upwards as he glances between the card and his new friend. "You did this yourself? Incrivel," he murmurs in Portuguese, before remembering himself and clarifying. "Incredible." Smiling, he wags a finger at Colin, using his other hand to slide the card safely into his pocket. "You are a very clever man, Mr. Reed. I am glad to have met you."

"That was what I could do with my computer system at the lab," Colin admits. "But I really like the hologram stuff on yours, too. I might be able to figure out a non-plastic substitute, but what's there is the extent of my design aesthetics. Yours is a bit more eye-catching," he continues with a smile. "You, Mr. Ferruguento, are a very creative man. The honor of meeting is mine, and I am sure you will go far." He pauses. "And coffee. Coffee's good. And that fresh air everyone's raving about."

"Your design aesthetics are fine. Simple and elegant, there is never anything wrong with that," Tiago smiles. His smile grows as Colin compliments him, and he lowers his head slightly in a bashful but appreciative gesture. "Yes, this fresh air isn't so bad, is it? We should both sample it more often." He suspects they won't though. If Colin is anything like him, and he certainly seems to be, he won't find it any easier to drag himself away from his work than Tiago does. He takes a final gulp from his mug before offering Colin a regretful smile. "On that note, I am afraid I will have to leave you. I have a meeting with the make-up artist for the show later today. I should probably get my notes prepared before I see her." Pushing himself up from the seat, he extends a hand towards Colin for a second handshake. "It has been very good to meet you, Colin," he says with a warm smile. "Until we meet again, do not work too hard, okay?"

Readily taking that hand, Colin answers with a quiet, almost shy, smile of his own. "You neither, all right," he says, on the subject of working too hard. Alas, Tiago is correct: Colin is a lab rat and borderline workaholic. His computer tells him to go out of doors, most of the time. "But in the meantime, kick some ass tonight, all right? For all of us." His smile widens into a grin at that, though he doesn't seem to be getting up. He has time; he'll sit, ponder, and occasionally look at the card he got today and chuckle.

"Always do," Tiago replies, with a playful grin. In fact, he has plans to invisibly hit the streets after his meeting so there's a chance he may be doing some literal ass-kicking later. Or he could be on the receiving end of one. Or he might just turn in early with a good book. Time will tell. For now, his smile remains as he picks up his over-worked bag and slings it over his shoulder, taking a step away from the table. "Adeus, my friend," he adds with one more bright smile before disappearing through the door.

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