2046-02-20 Open Mic

From X-Factor

Open Mic
Date Posted 2016/02/20
Location Oddball Coffee - Mutant Town, NYC
Participants Huruma, Richard
Summary Richard catches Huruma at open mic night at Oddball.
Oddball Coffee sits on the edge of Mutant Town, near the northern 14th Street border, which may be why it's managed to keep its windows intact and its varied clientele happy. An eclectic, open-minded place, Oddball regularly showcases mutant artists and performers on its walls and on the tiny stage near the back. Framed photographs covering every spare inch of one brick wall show off wild feats that are only possible with mutation, and a few of their baristas make a show of using mutant powers in the making of their drinks. It's made Oddball one of the few businesses which manages to appeal to both tourists and locals. The shop is nearly always busy, and it's not unusual for a stranger to request the empty chair at a full table.

It is a winter night. The weather is cold and flurrying.

Oddball's array of artists that come in and out of the shop to perform are one of its better draws, along with the mutant baristas. They have Open Mic nights on days with no special artists, or off hours between other acts. There are flurries outside and the shop is at a usual subdued bustle.

A young man with tousled hair and a guitar is coming off of the stage when Huruma moves out to replace him; some of the regulars in the neighborhood are likely to recall her easily. She is hard to miss. In a collared, knee-length black dress, her garb draws no eyes, while the dramatic gold eyeliner does. There's no instrument with her, but an instrumental in the background when she moves to the classic old mic stand. She can't exactly pull around pianos with her on a whim.

Richard is actually not a huge regular at Oddball -- or any of the coffee shops in the neighborhood. He's more of an occasional. (Where he's actually a regular is the bars.) So no one recognizes him particularly when he comes in and gets in line. The guy getting off the stage with his guitar might pass him by, but he doesn't actually look over to notice Huruma setting up yet.

There's still a slight stagger of musis as she settles in, eyes hooded at the sprinkle of light in front of her gaze, and the shadows of minds she has go force herself to try not to feel so readily. Her senses pull inward as she wags up one brow at the nearest patrons and makes somewhat of a show re-sizing the microphone to six-foot-five. There's at least one snicker for her show of humor.

Enough goofing around, though. Her music swells up towards a vocal start, and she's stepping back with a beat in the tip of her head. The song is old and Huruma's voice a powerful, deep, smooth thing-- a lonely song from an album Richard likely missed-- but Adele's songwriting is rather unmistakable in 'River Lea'.

It's the music that draws his attention from where he waits in line, and then the recognition that follows. Huruma's speaking voice he knows, of course, but this is different; Richard's brows arch upwards with not unpleasant surprise. His attention is focused enough that the barista has to kind of lean over with an extra-emphatic "Sir!" to get his attention again when it's his turn. Oops.

With her field turned mostly inward, Richard is outside of her purview and out of her attention; Huruma's concentration is simply elsewhere, on her breath, the hooded close of her eyes, and the sound of her own voice drawing into her ears from the speakers. The movement of her hips, arms, and shoulders are subtle, but invoking of a great many soulful singer, parallel with the beats of the music.

Richard keeps getting distracted from ordering, making him this barista's least favorite of at least the hour, and then he bumps into someone else on his way down the counter to wait for his drink because he looks over at her again. Finally he finds a spot to wait and can just watch for the time being, clearly impressed.

The song is only a few minutes long, even when Huruma draws it out with an arranged section that slows it down. Only when the music stops does she turn her senses outward again, the difference clear when her eyes open up and zero in on Richard from the small stage. Her audience is kind to her, hands clapping amid her study of him. She pauses a moment before breathing in and issuing a soft "Thank you." to the coffee shop patrons, hands making a gesture of gratitude, waist making a slight bend before she fixes down the height of the microphone and slinks off of the stage.

Richard just stands there quietly as the others around the shop applaud, but when Huruma zeroes in on him he smiles and lifts the coffee he just picked up in a sort of salute. He waits until she's made her way off the stage and then, after a hesitation, he slides through the crowd to approach her. "I didn't know you sang," he says.

Saluting aside, Huruma does not close the distance between them until Richard is already coming halfway, and when they connect she is quick to give him a flash of smooth smile. "You would not be alone in that." Her eyes flick up to the next person moving onstage; she links her hands loose in front of her stomach, edging alongside Richard in order to face the stage while they talk. "I thought I might take advantage of an open stage."

"You're good at it," Richard tells her, in case she wasn't aware. He lifts his cup to sip, careful of the temperature. "Nice song, too." Which no, he doesn't know. He missed that one.

Huruma answers the first with a lift of her eyebrow and a tighter, coy smile. Yes, she knows. "Thank you." But she can't be called impolite, for sure. "I found a copy of the album at the Seward Market. I'd not heard much of Adele's earlier work, and I was... fond of the piece."

"/Oh/. Wow, Adele. That must have been -- after my time." Richard scrubs a hand along the back of his hair and falls quiet. There's that low-level ache in his emotional breakup, that depression that lies chronically beneath the surface whenever he sees her. But layered on top of that is an unrelated weariness and even some lingering feelings of -- contentedness, perhaps. And most immediately an interest just this side of neutral as he watches her and her coy smiles.

Huruma doesn't chance a remark on the timeline at first, her eyes resting on Richard's features with a measure of patience. "I suppose that it would have been." She decides on something very neutral herself, after a silent breath. She would have been eleven when the song came out-- so at least it's not horribly aged quite yet. "So do you ...listen to much music, Richard? Live or otherwise?" Huruma's question carries a slight note of hesitance, but it disappears into her familiar dark drawl just as quick as it came.

"You know, New York's a hotbed for live music, but I don't really go out to any concerts, no." The smile Richard offers her is almost apologetic. "But I listen to it, sure. Mostly stuff that everyone now thinks is old and dumb."

No offense taken. Huruma's lips curl into an amused expression at the admission. Pity. "I have been to some lovely clubs-- I think those would be more your speed. You do not seem a mosh pit type of person." Huruma breathes a small laugh. "If it helps you feel better, my tastes run similar. 'Old and dumb'." She parrots.

"See, it's just vintage for you," Richard says with a low breath of laughter. "But if you think I never wound up in a mosh pit as a stupid teenager, you'd be wrong."

"Now, I didn't say that." Huruma scoffs lightly, teasingly. "But you've probably grown out of that, or am I wrong?" She shifts as the next person on stage finishes up some instrumental work, giving a calm little clap for her piece, gaze roaming back to Richard, a laugh on her mouth and in her chest. "We are only, what, twenty years apart? Perhaps not //so// vintage. You are making yourself old at heart."

"Ah -- yeah, it's been a while," Richard allows with a tip of his head. He smiles, somewhat sadly. "No. I only mean there's a difference between the music that's being made as you grow up and the older music you kind of -- find along the way."

"Ah, I understand." Huruma's eyes narrow as she mulls over his words, pupils dilated in the dimmer light of the coffee shop's evening hours. "I suppose I could say the same things of someone of Orianne's age. That they would see the tens similarly?"

"When people Orianne's age start listening to the music I grew up with, /then/ I feel really old," Richard says with a snort.

Huruma cracks a wider grin and radiates a chuckle at this. "It could happen. I am sure Moody has quite a collection, being in her field. Should I stop now?"

"It could happen. It /does/ happen. My music is her--" Richard looks pained. "--classic rock."

Huruma bends her brow upward in what reads as exaggerated sympathy, mouth pursing when she shakes her head and tuts. "Perhaps best not to think of the numbers, then."

"Yeah." Richard's smile lingers faintly. "Listen, I've gotta run, but you were great up there. You should do it more." He shifts his grip on his coffee and gets ready to head out.

"Thank you, Richard." It is a note of gratitude with a personal touch, Huruma's gaze calm and her crooked smile casting an aura of ease. "I think I may. Be seeing you."

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