03/15/2014 3:05 PM
Subject: Hollis Building Repair Request
Hello Mr. Lewis,
I am writing you to report that the garage exit on the Green Street side of the Hollis Building is malfunctioning.
It appears to be a simple matter of a gear having come off track, but I was strongly discouraged by the parking attendant from attempting to fix the issue myself.
Thank you for your attention to this matter,
03/16/2014 11:42 AM
Subject: RE: Hollis Building Repair Request
Greetings polite dude.
I regret to inform you that you and seven other people that apparently park in the Hollis Building and use the Green Street exit have reached the wrong dlewis.
I am a mere science intern in London, and am thus unable to respond to your repair request. (And I actually kind of want to, since you were soooooo nice. Seriously, your co-workers were all assholes. Dishonor on their families. Dishonor on their cows.)
However, I have taken the liberty of forwarding your request to the right dlouis and he sounds like he’s gonna get it done. Leave it to Stark to actually find a maintenance man that does maintenance.
If you know of one of those in London, help a girl out. (So not kidding. I’ve got this old floor radiator heating system in my apartment and radiators aren’t radiating, if you know what I mean. Obviously, I don’t know what I mean, but building maintenance does. Not. Give. A. Shit.)
Anyway, in the future:
email@example.com = super awesome science intern freezing her ass off in London.
firstname.lastname@example.org = head of garage maintenance at the Hollis Building in New York City who seems like a nice guy.
Have a nice night. Or day. Time change and what not.
03/21/2014 5:58 PM
The garage door got fixed. Last week actually, the day after I got your reply. Every time I drive out of the garage I think of you and my poorly behaved co-workers.
I can’t help wondering if your maintenance man came through?
If not, I actually do have some experience with old radiators. Even European ones.
Thanks for being so understanding about the mix up.
03/21/2014 6:17 PM
Subject: RE: Warm?
Today I woke up in a ball of blankets. A literal ball of blankets, like nine blankets and the rug. I’m not ashamed. Do you know where I was before this? New Mexico. Nice, hot, desert heaven New Mexico.
And when I woke up? I was still cold. This is complete bullshit. I even tried bribing those assholes! I sent them cookies! The nice kind in the gold packages that everybody gives at Christmas!
Did they fix anything? No. Did they say thank you? No. Did they even look up from their television at the lobby security desk when I stomped away from the broken elevator to take the stairs up to my icy lair on the fifteenth floor? NO.
NO, GRANT, THEY DID NOT.
If you have any tips for getting this chunk of metal working, I am all ears and one functioning hand. I totally burnt the shit out of myself trying to huddle over a Glade candle for warmth. It was not very warm, but it did smell like cinnamon rolls. So I was cold, injured and craving baked goods like a mofo.
Take pity on me and SAVE ME. Seriously, if you help me get this radiator going, you will be my personal hero.
I’d try to express the proper excitement for your whole garage door thing, but I’m typing with hands frozen into raptor claws right now.
Ice Raptor Darcy Out
03/21/2014 7:37 PM
Subject: RE: RE: Warm?
I’m actually not that good at typing. You’re probably better with your ice raptor hands. So I tried to attach some instructions I wrote by hand and scanned.
The not good at typing thing is actually a not good at technology thing, so I hope it worked. None of this really makes sense to me.
03/21/2014 7:41 PM
Subject: RE: RE: RE: Warm?
Dude. There’s nothing there.
Tell me the truth. Are you fucking with me? Seriously, you need to tell me now. And stop. Not cool, man. Not cool. No way you’re working for Stark and you don’t know how to attach something.
Unless you’re like my boss. She’s surprisingly clueless about some basic life skills. I’m only giving you the benefit of the doubt because of how nice you seemed in your first email.
Seriously not amused,
03/21/2014 7:58 PM
Subject: RE: RE: RE: RE: Warm?
I promise I’m not pulling one over on you. I really am clueless about technology, and being around Stark products doesn’t help. I got stuck in an elevator in the Tynham building because the doors shut before I realized there were no buttons. It took twenty minutes before someone else got on. (To operate the elevator in the Tynham building you put your finger on the panel next to the door and brush it upwards to go up, and downwards to go down. Leave your finger touching the panel until you reach your desired floor. Just in case you ever end up in New York.)
I tried to attach the scans again. I’m sorry.
03/22/2014 10:38 AM
Dude. You are my hero. I’m not even kidding, Grant who can’t even scan things without getting his hand in the image.
There is no way for me to be exaggerating my thanks, it’s even colder outside tonight. WTF, London? Seriously, never again. The chipper weather people are saying this cold snap is breaking records, reaching lows that haven’t been seen for seventy years.
Like 1943 or some shit.
And now here I am, all toasty warm and snuggling with only one blanket while I partake of the heaven that is Netflix and slather my hand in burn paste in my heat controlled apartment. All thanks to you.
What department are you in? I’m sending you a thank-you basket.
Eternal gratitude and adoration,
03/22/2014 6:24 PM
Subject: RE: Warm
I didn’t realize Britain was experiencing such a weather anomaly. I had actually heard about that ’43 cold snap before. It was pretty horrible, so I’m really glad that my suggestions worked. People died. It’s actually really dangerous to be by yourself when it’s that cold, so if your radiator breaks again, maybe try to go a friend’s house? I don’t mean to be overbearing, but it’s actually really common for people to freeze to death in their sleep. You just fall asleep, and then don’t wake up.
No need for a gift basket, I’m just glad it worked. I’m going to go now, this actually took me a really long time to type. More of the low tech stuff, I’m afraid. I’m not used to typing. One of my co-workers complains that it’s painful to watch me ‘hunt and peck’.
03/24/2014 11:44 AM
Subject: You’re in the directory
Dude. It’s not that hard to find you. Grant Eyesman, Archival Modernization Department, Hollis Building. Your thank-you is on its way across the pond.
I thought it was super weird that Tony Stark would let anything in his company sit around long enough to need modernization, but then I clicked on your department and saw that you’re the only one in it. Are you working in some forgotten basement with stuff Stark’s dad worked on?
I don’t actually have any friends in London. I came here with my boss, but she is currently out of the country. My job is pretty much hoarding all of her research and work so no one swoops in and tries to steal it while waiting for her to come back and the pay checks to start back up again. Thus the shitty apartment with the shitty maintenance guys. (On that note, I hope you like your thank-you basket okay. I couldn’t really spend a lot of money, thank the gods that the London SI office let me internal the box to you because overseas shipping is crazy expensive.)
So really, man. Thanks for signing off as my friend, I’m past the point of being embarrassed to admit that I really, really need one.
03/27/2014 6:28 PM
Subject: That was a really great thank you
It seems strange to thank you for your thank you, but I can’t not thank you. Not only did you give me a chance to use my newly minted USB skills that apparently no one appreciates at SI, but I also learned something new.
I liked the playlists so much I wanted to move them to my StarkPlay, which I had never done before. (It was really easy, but I’m glad now that I know how. Less chance for my lack of skills to become a joke or a weakness in front of others again.)
Also, the pictures of London that you included were great. I actually spent some time in London, and I really enjoyed seeing what things had changed and what has stayed the same.
Yes, it is just me in the archival modernization department. But I’m not down in a forgotten basement, not by a long shot. I’ve actually got a lot to catch up on, and most of the time I have no clue where to start. It’s kind of lonely, so I’m glad for a friend too. Especially one so far away that they aren’t witness to my floundering.
Seeing those pictures made me think of a restaurant that used to be near the Thames that served this really good shepard’s pie. It’s not there any longer, and it really wasn’t a very nice area. A buddy of mine managed to get the recipe for me – he could be very charming with the ladies. So I started some of that this morning before I went to work, and now I’m eating it while I listen to your ‘Stay in with a Friend Who Can Cook’ playlist. I cooked, and since I’m new to New York I don’t really have a friend to invite, but I decided writing you would count.
Since you shared your playlists, I’ll share the recipe. It’s really good when it’s cold out.
03/28/2014 3:48 PM
Subject: Ha ha ha
Hahahahahahahaha! Oh, man.
I totally can’t cook. My kitchen skills are limited to tasks utilizing the microwave, freezer and toaster. That’s why that playlist specified that the friend can cook. I mean, the recipe sounds really good, but it is way, way beyond my skills. I’m not sure I would be able to even find some of those ingredients in the grocery store. Pretty sure the last time I visited the produce department of a grocery store was over a year ago.
But good job attaching the scan on the first try. Mad props.
03/28/2014 6:16 PM
Subject: I’ll help you
You should try making the recipe. I’ll help you. If you have any questions, just email me. I’m going to be in my office all day tomorrow, so I can set your email to ping my phone. I promise to immediately check in to see if you need advice.
Or we could do it Wednesday if you don’t want to run to the grocery tonight. It’s best to start the recipe in the morning and let it simmer the full eight hours. I’m off desk and in meetings the rest of the week.
Also, not that it’s any of my business, but you should talk to your boss. Or your boss’s supervisor. It’s not right that your paychecks aren’t coming through. It seems like SI is a good company, can you contact the main office?
03/28/2014 6:21 PM
Subject: RE: I’ll help you
Time difference, yo. It’s going on midnight here. (You can usually find a setting on your email to show both times, the time you received the email which will be in NYC time and the time I sent it, which will be London time.)
I really don’t think me trying that recipe is a good idea, even with live help from NYC. I have totally set something on fire in a toaster oven before.
You know SI is a good company to work for, you work for it. SI offers the best benefits package maybe in the world and has an incredible rate of promotion from within.
My boss doesn’t really have a supervisor. She’s like subcontracted or something through the London SI office, and that had barely started when the whole alien attack thing happened. She was injured during that, and she’s now incommunicado while she’s off recovering with her boyfriend. We’re friends and I don’t begrudge her at all. She needs this time away. So she’s only somewhat ‘working for’ SI, and I’m only her intern. I’m pretty lucky they let me use my badge for free coffee when I hit up the London office and let me ship things through the mail room.
Anyway, two random things (because it’s late and I totes hit up the SI vending machines for free chocolate, so sugar rush) : 1) Did you say you’re new to NYC? I LOVE NYC. You have to go to Little Ernie’s on Orange Street. HAVE TO. That’s an order, buddy. 2) Did you ever watch Lost? WTF is even going on? I don’t understand, but I can’t stop watching. Advice? Support?
03/28/2014 s: 6:42 PM EDT
Subject: RE: RE: I’ll help you
I can’t believe I forgot about the time difference.
I wont write much, because I’m still a slow typist and I don’t want to send this too late on your end.
This is the last I’ll say on this matter: Maybe you should contact your boss and see if something can be done about the pay. Either way, I hope you’ll be compensated for your expenses during this time. I hope your boss’s recovery goes well.
I’m eating the leftovers now, and they’re almost better. I really mean it about the help thing, and I think you can do this. It’s much easier than it seems, and it’s really just putting it in the pot and leaving it all day.
Random answers: 1) I’ll go there. Can I order anything, or is there something specific I should try? 2) I have never watched Lost. What season are you on? Can I catch up?
03/28/2014 r: 7:07 PM EDT s: 12:07 AM GMT
Fine. I’ll try it. Wednesday.
You totes have to be available Tuesday night though, while I shop in case I need ingredient identification assistance.
And at Little Ernie’s order the double cheeseburger Ernie-style. If you’ve got a big appetite, get the chili fries too. But I warn you, they’re hard to resist and most likely you’ll eat it all and leave miserable. Gloriously miserable.
Have a good night!
04/03/2014 6:06 AM EDT
Subject: All yours
Okay, I’m awake and ready to assist. I’m all yours.
04/03/2014 r: 6:37 AM EDT s: 11:37 AM GMT
I am now back to thinking you’re fucking with me. Oh my gods. What the hell was I thinking even buying a piece of meat this big? And this apartment came furnished, so I have knives, but I don’t think they’re up for this job.
Status Report: It has taken me exactly forty-seven minutes to cut this meat into one inch cubes. My hand hurts, and I’ve still got carrots and potatoes to go. Seriously considering giving up.
04/03/2014 6:46 AM
Subject: RE: WTH
You can’t give up now. The hard part is over. Just plop the meat into the pot with the broth and the onions. You can take a break, the potatoes and carrots don’t get added for a few hours.
04/03/2014 r: 6:47 AM EDT s: 11:47 AM
Subject: RE: RE: WTH
Onions? What onions?!? Why would you do this to me? I thought we were friends!
04/03/2014 6:48 AM EDT
Subject: Calm down
You were supposed to have chopped the onion. It’s okay though, you’ve got time. It won’t take long. Just set the meat aside and chop the onion, then you add the onion and the oil together in the pan to cook for a few minutes before adding the meat. Then break time.
04/03/2014 r: 6:49 AM EDT s: 11:49 AM GMT
Subject: RE: Calm down
Chop the onion how much? Like what size onion pieces am I supposed to have? Is this small enough?
04/03/2014 6:50 AM
Subject: RE: RE: Calm down
Perfect. So into the pot with those and the oil. About five minutes, then add the meat and the broth, put the lid on and leave at medium for about three hours. Take a break.
04/03/2014 r: 7:01 AM EDT s: 12:01 PM GMT
I hope you know you’ve driven me to day drinking. Whatever, it’s after noon, right? See you in a few hours for panic part 2, new and improved with Tipsy Darcy!
04/03/2014 r: 10:42 AM EDT s: 3:42 PM GMT
Subject: This doesn’t look right
Hey, does this look okay? It doesn’t look right to me.
Also, is this minced enough?
04/03/2014 10:43 AM EDT
Subject: RE: Does this look right?
Both look exactly right. I’m kind of jealous, I ate the last of my leftovers. But I am planning on going to Little Ernie’s for lunch today.
I figured I would go ahead and give you my phone number so you could text me during lunch if needed.
You’re doing great!
Darcy 12:07 PM
Confession time. I totally caught a kitchen towel on fire and burned a hole in the linoleum. Picture forthcoming. It’s not so bad right? The landlord probably won’t even notice.
Grant 12:09 PM
You really meant it when you said you weren’t much of a cook. The rest of the floor doesn’t look to be in that great of condition, so I can’t see your landlord trying to make you pay for the damage.
Darcy 12:22 PM
Okay, so I’ve got everything in the pan. It all fits, but it’s really, really full. Stirring is gonna be messy. Do I really have to wait another two hours?
Grant 12:23 PM
Picture? And yes.
Grant 12:25 PM
Was that the biggest pan you had? I guess I should have asked at the beginning of all this, sorry. It will still turn out delicious.
04/03/2014 r: 2:49 PM EDT s: 7:49 PM GMT
Subject: Soooooooooo Goooooooooooood
I would pay some serious money for someone to make this for me. And I’m glad I did make it, but never again. I burned the shit out of my other hand, started that small fire, and I’m not sure I’m ever gonna get that burner clean.
I’m eating this and watching season 2 episode 4, you’ve seriously got to catch up to me. I can’t sit through this kind of suspense alone!
My next recommendation for NYC. Go see the stained glass house. If you like stuff like that, plan to spend a few hours, and go so you can see it late afternoon through the sun setting. At dark, they light it up from inside. If you’re not up for that kind of time commitment, it’s still worth stopping by. Plus, there’s a Lil’ Whip on that corner. Get the Sparkleberry Swirl for me!
Thanks for the interesting experience and the delicious food. (Do you cook like that all time? Is the whole archival modernization thing a scam, and you’re really Tony Stark’s personal chef in hiding now that he’s a BAMF superhero?)
04/03/2014 2:56 PM EDT
Subject: RE: Soooooooooo Goooooooooooood
I’m glad you liked the recipe. About halfway through I started really worrying that you wouldn’t after going through all this trouble. I even started making a list of items I could send you in an apology basket. I still might send one, what with the burned hands and damaged kitchen and all.
Have you been to Eel Pie Island? I went there while I was in London, but I hear it’s been going through some changes. It still might be worth a visit. I also went to the Churchill Museum. I stayed outside of London for a while, in the country where you could overlook the city but feel apart from it. It was really the first time I spent any time out in the country for any stretch of time.
I’m on the last episode of season 1, so I’m getting there. Maybe once you’ve had a chance to recover, we can make a meal together. At the same time, I mean. Something that will work for lunch for me and dinner for you. And we can watch Lost together. At the same time.
I heard a song I liked today at Little Ernie’s, which might have been the best burger I’ve ever had, even if I was surprised by the onion rings on it. I'll try to attach a link.
Would you look at that? All these emails have led to a marked improvement in my typing.
04/08/2015 r: 8:07 AM EDT s: 1:07 PM GMT
Grant, you totally didn’t owe me a thank-you box for exchanging emails with you!
Now that that’s out of the way, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!!!!!!
This might be the most awesome gift anyone has ever given me, and I did once receive an 8 foot tall gumball machine for my birthday.
Tickets to the Churchill Museum, a ferry ride to Eel Pie Island, a gift card to East End Coffee, AND a transit pass? Dude. You just saved me from boredom.
In your spirit of a thank-you for a thank-you, I’m sending you something. Not another box, I’m flat broke until next week. But I’m sending you a map of New York with all my favorite places marked.
And I like the song. It has a good feeling. It’s so sad, so accepting, that it somehow ends up being hopeful? I guess? Probably I just sound crazy, which is pretty much the norm for me. Whatev.
All of the thanks!
04/12/2014 7:47 PM EDT
Sorry I didn’t respond sooner, I had to take a trip for work. They come up kind of last minute, and usually I don’t have access to my personal tech.
When I got back your map was waiting for me. I think I’m going to have it framed. Did you study art? I have a partially completed art degree myself, but I haven’t drawn for a long time. I’ve been thinking about picking up a new sketchbook, but there’s nothing worse than an empty sketchbook taunting you.
I was in the army for a while, and I finished up the sketchbook from home, even if it took me longer than it did before. But I bought a new one and carried it for a year without ever being able to actually draw anything.
Sorry, this is a little heavy, I guess. It wasn’t a very good trip, and the team I’ve been working with, relations aren’t what I would like. We’re pretty fractured into our various groups – scientists, security specialists, and me. Things would go much more smoothly if I could get us all on the same page, but we’re all used to being independent and autonomous.
It really makes me miss the way things used to be in the army. I had a good unit, and for some reason building the team and camaraderie just came so easy with us. I didn’t really appreciate it then, but now… Well I’ll just say, I wish I could send them all a thank-you box or two at the very least.
I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to dump this all on you. Long story short, I’ve got a long weekend here and I plan on catching up to you. Maybe on Sunday we can do our simultaneous cooking/ watch party?
Re: sadness and hopefulness. The song does make you long for that kind of pain. I’ve felt it before, and the absence of it is… debilitating? Numbing? It creates a vacuum that only grows, adding a feeling of disconnect to even the mundane.
And again with the deep thoughts. Probably shouldn’t send this. Let me know if it’s too much.
Wow this is a really long email. I really must be getting better at typing.
Let me know. (About Sunday and the deep thoughts.)
04/12/2014 r: 7:58 PM EDT s: 2:58 AM GMT
Subject: RE: Hi
Wow. It’s really late here, but I wanted to reply. I’ll send you a much better email tomorrow. Are you okay? Do you need to talk?
I’m totally cool if you do.
I’m glad you wrote, I’ve been kind of worried about you. Stupid, right? I’ve only ‘known’ you for a little more than a month, but we’ve emailed almost every day and then you just stopped responding and stopped answering my texts. (On that note, the deep thoughts? Not too much. Totally not too much. I’ve got my own kind of disconnect going on over on this side of the pond.)
I even checked the news to see what the Avengers were up to, if any more aliens had attacked or super villains had set hyenas loose on the city. (What is up with super-villains?) I would have felt really bad if you got squashed by an alien or something at one of the places I told you to go. But it was all quiet on the Avenging front, and NYC seemed to remain alien and hyena free.
In closing, I’m glad you’re okay. Call me if you need to talk, any time. Right now included. Yes, I’m down for Sunday, but please pick something simple. My hands are just now completely healed.
Sending peaceful vibes,
Grant 8:04 PM
Go to sleep. Why did you even check your email right now?
Darcy 8:05 PM
I have it set to ping, of course. I told you I was worried about you!
Darcy 8:05 PM
Are you sure?
Grant 8:06 PM
Totes sure. Go to sleep. I feel better already, and I’ll talk to you in the morning.
Darcy 8:05 PM
Well, if you’re totes sure.
Grant 8:06 PM
I am! Plus, I’ve got Lost queued up. Night.
December 28th, 2007. That was the last time the London SI office had received direct communication from Pepper Potts. Then she’d still been Tony Stark’s senior assistant, but even then she’d been running the show and all of the individual presidents of various SI offices had known.
It had been the first visit from the main office since a disastrous laboratory visit from Mr. Stark in 1994. The London office consoled themselves that the disaster caused by Mr. Stark’s drunkenness had been forgotten by an effect of the same source.
The London office is the fourth largest SI office in the world, but it is safe to say that it had been neglected by headquarters since Howard Stark’s favor had ended in the early 80s.
The New York offices may be Headquarters now, and LA claimed highest manufacturing output. And maybe Tokyo had overtaken them with their expansion in ’99, but SI London had history. The building is an architectural landmark, and had been a scion of strength, innovation and hope during the second world war.
They were the sole SI property in the world permitted to produce certain classified materials in bunkers buried deep under the city streets that were grandfathered through but forbidden in new construction.
And they had a strong bid in to take on the company’s new prosthetics venture, one that was far more competitive than SI Paris (Ms. Pott’s preferred European office) or those uppity morons at SI Sydney.
Needless to say, an email sent only to SI London, directly from Ms. Potts, caused quite a stir. And no small amount of excitement.
(The entire two story lobby area had walls dedicated to a memorial of the war effort – SI London is reminded every day of its glory days when important figures visited Howard Stark in his penthouse office, when Stark shook hands with London SI’s best scientists on a near weekly basis, when SI London had functioned as war headquarters and then second only to Headquarters in New York.)
This communication was brought on by a simple email from Barbara J Winters, head of their HR department, to Andrew Vinton, junior HR officer at Headquarters.
It had come to London HR’s attention that a young woman was frequenting the building. No one, not security, cafeteria personnel, HR or any of the department heads could figure out what exactly she did in the building, other than avail herself of the mail room, cafeteria, coffee shop, the vending machines, and once the medical bay. She has a badge, activated seven months previously, but no employment information. The activation stamp came from New York admin, thus the email.
Barbara ends up with a collection of multi-colored post it notes which had been left stuck to various places. Praising the addition of tropical flavored Skittles to the vending machine, ‘spinach quiche!!! Yum!!!’, complimenting AJ Benson in security for his 'awesome skills', and so on.
She worries the woman might be a spy. Her visits had been sporadic once, but for months now the woman had come every day. She greets people in the halls by name, and Barbara’s sources say she’s won over a few of the cafeteria staff, who keep her favorites in rotation.
Ever since she complained about the micro sprouts, the cafeteria staff had hated Barbara. How was she supposed to know that they’d grown them in a joint project with the green lab down on 14?
But now Barbara is staring at an email copied to Pilar Escondida, the president of SI London, saying to give Darcy Lewis whatever she required, without limit, including access to all lab spaces and inventories.
Shortly Barbara is called up to Pilar’s office. She might discreetly sit on her hands when Pilar dials Ms. Potts direct line to confirm the email. It was only proper, giving an unknown person such unrestricted access to protected SI floors.
“She expected my call.” Pilar says after the exceedingly brief call. It is the first time Barbara has ever seen her employer anything other than completely in control. “She verified the email.”
“I don’t understand!” Michael says, his tone slightly pinched as it gets when he’s stressed. He’s Barbara’s junior HR officer. If New York has one, there’s got to be something there. Or at least, that had been her reasoning in requisitioning the position. Michael had proven himself indispensable. “I’ve checked everything for her. School records, scientific journals, military records, everything.”
“She’s redacted.” Pilar murmurs. “Well. We’ll keep an eye on her.”
Of course, that isn’t what happens.
It’s predictable. Barbara has worked HR for twelve years now, six of them helming her current office. There are forty-seven floors and three thousand six hundred and twenty seven employees. Every change, every bit of gossip, filters through one hell of a game of ‘telephone’.
04/29/2014 6:47 PM EDT
Subject: You were right
And yes, I know you’re saving all of these up to rub in my face later. You’ve told me. I liked every song on the ‘Most Awesome of Awesome’ playlist, and it did make me feel ‘pumped’. I listened to it during my run.
It was kind of interesting, having it so loud in my ears when the morning was quiet and empty around me.
Anyway, I’m headed off on that trip. I’ll most likely be back in contact by Friday. Have a good week, and try to eat some real food!
04/29/2014 r: 7:16 PM EDT s: 12:16 AM GMT
That’s totally eight times you’ve said I was right. Someday you’re going to try to start a beef with me over something, and I’m gonna make it rain hard cold, printed evidence of my perpetual rightness. Then you will have the sads and will have to make me victory waffles. (Oh my gods. Waffles. Waaaffllleessss.)
Dude, what the hell time are you running that 1) its “morning” (wtf is that???), 2) NYC is empty, and 3) it’s quiet? Bad Grant! Bad! Your bed doesn’t deserve this kind of maltreatment.
Have fun! Buy a cheesy souvenir for me!
Charles at the security desk leans back, tapping his wedding band against the metal pillar next to his chair.
Anita at the reception desk looks up, her hair pulled back into a sleek bun as it is every day, red frame glasses perched on her nose.
He gives her a nod, and her eyes widen. She immediately reaches for her phone. Relaying the information. Miss Lewis is here.
She bursts through the doors, cheeks pinked with chill and hair whipped by the wind. She’s wearing a pretty red sundress, but the early summer weather has been fickle and without the sun the day had turned towards cold and gray.
“Charles. Coffee.” She stops next to the desk as always, smiling as she waits for her scan.
“On its way, Miss Lewis. How are you today?”
“Prayin’ for quiche, my man. Prayin’ for quiche.” She smiles at Greg, not her normal bright smile, that’s reserved for on her way out, after she’s had her coffee. “Hey, you’re getting good at that.”
Greg, the new guy, blushes from the tips of his ears down past his collar.
“Aw, Greggie.” Oliver teases.
Darcy whirls on him. “Don’t think I didn’t notice you preening in those new pants, O. Whatcha got there? Slim fit? Work it, boy.”
“Good morning, Miss Lewis!” The skinny kid from the coffee shop arrives, slightly breathless. He holds out a large coffee. Charles can smell the chocolate and caramel from a meter away.
“Kyle. Dude. You don’t have to bring this down for me.” She frowns but takes the drink. Her eyes nearly cross as she inhales. “Is this using up your break?”
“No, Miss Lewis.”
“Darcy. Please guys, Darcy.” She props her hip against the desk, ignoring one of the guys from accounting as he completes his scan. “Anybody know what they’ve got for breakfast? Man, yesterday- Hey. Tad?”
“Hi Miss Lewis. How are you?”
Darcy’s eyes narrow and Tad shifts on his feet. Tad straightens his shoulders and meets her gaze head-on. He’s one of the interns from the business office, and they’re all tough as nails. “Walk with me, Tad.”
Several pairs of eyes watch them as they walk away, Miss Lewis’ voice echoing.
“What’s with this, dude? Why are you following me?”
Charles knows the happy little sharks Ms. Escondido kept in the business floors. If Tad had been showing up and sticking to Miss Lewis like he was her shadow, it wasn’t by accident.
He’d seen the way Tad followed her around, phone in hand texting ahead, coordinating her visits. Charles had even seen some of the colored post-it notes Miss Lewis liked to leave messages on sticking out of the pocket of Tad’s hipster-tight suit jacket.
05/21/2014 11:02 PM EDT
Subject: Definitely Okay
Hey. I didn’t want to text you or call this late, but I just got back to my apartment. I promise that I wasn’t grievously injured in the attacks, so I command you to stop worrying. I even got a quick work out in at the gym before coming home.
Are you sure you’re okay? I know we’ve only talked a few times before, but most of it was watching Lost together so I’ve got Darcy grunts and squeals down, Darcy worried not so much. Everything alright over there?
Tell me that sad looking burrito you posted on Instagram wasn’t your dinner last night.
I’m exhausted so I’m going to hit the sack.
05/22/2014 r: 6:41 AM EDT s: 11:41 AM GMT
Subject: Re: Definitely Okay
I waited for as long as possible to send this since I know you sleep light, soldier boy.
I sounded perfectly appropriately freaking freaked out, thank you very much! I called you and there were laser sounds!!! And then on the telly (as they say here, and I’m getting my kicks where I fucking can) I see that there are flying laser bots destroying SoHo. Problems: 1) you were in SOHO and you didn’t tell me 2) someone I care about (yes you, you emotionally illiterate man child) was in close proximity to laser robots 3) large parts of the section of the city that you were in (see evidence from points 1 and 2) caught on fire and BURNED THE EFF DOWN.
I also have other friends in NYC, so I worry.
Re: your last point. Yes, it was my dinner and it was deeee-licious. I washed it down with some chocolate milk. Quit tortilla shaming my burrito. What does a happy burrito even look like?
Stay away from lasers,
P.s. And fire.
P.p.s. And SOHO unless you’re buying me things.
Darcy: 6:47 PM
That is a happy looking burrito. I really should have known better than to throw down that challenge.
Darcy: 6:51 PM
Holy fuck noodle! Hurley!!! What is Hurley doing???!!! CURSE MY LIMITED MINUTES PLAN, I CAN’T DO THIS ALONE!
Grant: 6:51 PM
Locke really has a problem with the hatch. Jack needs to examine the motives behind that.
Darcy: 6:52 PM
The hatch is creepy as fuck and someone needs to blow it up. With explodes. And fire.
Grant: 6:53 PM
I would blow it up. It seems like a trap, and is most likely monitoring them somehow. It could even be capable of defensive and offensive attacks.
Darcy: 6:53 PM
This is why we’re friends.
By the time Miss Lewis came to tour some of the labs, they’d already heard about her. Many of the tables were extra shiny, and some people nudge their best work into view.
“Are you sure it’s okay that I’m in here?” Miss Lewis asks, walking in slightly ahead of Tad.
Some of the excitement in the labs faded at the sight of Tad. From business. Where everything had to have a market value and be profitable and cost effective to produce and serve a purpose.
But Miss Lewis stops in her tracks and stares wide-eyed at Mallory Sweet and George Towers’ anti-gravity field generator. She didn’t seem at all put off by the sparks the machine spat out, instead beaming at the floating banana and flashlight.
“Sweet!” She walks around the table, seemingly automatically avoiding the sparks. “Oh my gods, are those double mallow pop tarts? I will trade someone,” she yanks open her purse and starts digging, “Uh. Crap. You can get all this. I know, what if I fix that error in the equation?”
She points to a large light up marker board.
Afterwards she absolutely refuses to take the entire box, stating firmly that it’s a rare flavor and she’s not a douche-nozzle. Then she listened to them explain how they fortified the transistor, how they redirect the current, on and on, staying attentive even as Tad breaks down and slumps against a wall.
Hours later, after she’s long gone, one of the lab techs emerges from the small attached rest area clutching a neon pink post it like it’s the golden ticket.
They totally tried to use it during their budget meeting to secure more funding than lab 23, and it might have worked.
Miss Lewis frequents the observatory lab, lab 31, and lab 56. She introduces Kit Howard from the observatory to George Towers, pointing out that Towers’ research in gravity applies to Howard’s conundrum in the pulls applied to orbiting objects, and also that they would be great together since they both enjoy karaoke.
She then started a betting pool on how long it would take them to start dating which had two hundred and thirty participants and caused minor disruption to day to day operations as different bettors attempted to influence the pair in their own favor and various groups formed alliances. Luckily George kissed Kit while the pair waited in line for turkey cranberry sandwiches before HR had to step in, and it turns out the various alliances had accomplished what multiple attempts at staff bonding exercises had not.
The petty complaints over paperclip theft, electricity hogging, and accusations of inter-corporation espionage dropped by thirty-seven percent. And George and Kit’s house warming party was shockingly well-attended.
06/03/2014 r: 11:57 AM EDT s: 6:57 PM GMT
Subject: Mild failure tastes good
Made the stupid quesadilla recipe. Filled them too much and the filling squished out the sides like molten lava out of a piñata, but they taste good. The pan may be a lost cause.
We still on for the season finale this weekend?
Darcy: 6:47 PM
Oh my god. Grant, where is this going? Why? Why?
Grant: 6:47 PM
Calm. We’ll know by the end. It’s the finale, they have to tie it all together.
Darcy: 6:49 PM
What world do you live in? Are there fluffy unicorns and candy mountains? They don’t have to tell us anything. Haven’t you heard of Firefly? Of Heroes?
Darcy: 6:50 PM
What are you eating?
Grant: 6:50 PM
Darcy: 6:51 PM
Uh. Stop holding out. Homemade? (You whore.) Ordered in? (From Castellanos? You whore.)
Grant: 6:52 PM
Well, if you’re going to be like that. Homemade. With fresh mozzarella from Vitos. Carmelized onions. Tomatoes actually from Italy. Here, I’ll send a picture.
Darcy: 6:52 PM
And now I’m not talking to you.
Darcy: 7:01 PM
HOLY SHIT!! Are they dead, Grant? Have they really been dead this whole time?! Where is the twist you promised me???
Grant: 7:01 PM
Darcy: 7:02 PM
Good thing I don’t have work tomorrow, like some pizza braggart assholes. I’m so gonna be traumatized.
Grant: 7:03 PM
I’m gonna need you to let that go because this is going someplace where we’re both gonna need a friend, Darcy.
Darcy: 7:03 PM
06/09/2014 3:12 PM EDT
Subject: Can’t stop thinking about it
What did it mean? I might maybe be not paying as much attention as I should at work. I’ll attach some links to a few analyses I’ve found online. One of them starts pulling in Buddhist frames of reference, but another one is sure it’s all about Christianity.
I thought it was just a sci-fi television show.
I mentioned it to Sam, and he said he stopped watching around season 3 and never regretted it. He called it a mindfuck.
To steal your line, why did you do this to me? I thought we were friends.
Your assignment is to read these. Figure out your stance. And talk me through this. Or we can figure it out together, but we are figuring it out.
06/09/2014 r: 4:22 PM s: 9:22 PM GMT
Subject: RE: Can’t stop thinking about it
Ugh. Assignments, Grant? I feel like I’m in school.
I actually went to SI today and I ended getting swept up with this group of scientists going to explode things in the basement. I have to say, I really, really miss science and scientists. It was awesome, and it helped me deal with my grief over Jack and Kate not getting together. After Charlie/Claire, they were where it was at. (You are not being supportive enough over my loss.)
I read the articles. Wanna call me when you get off work to talk them through? I think I’ve got a solid theory, but it might be my own wishful thinking that makes it seem so ironclad to me.
I’m taking back the wanna call me question. You have to call me, because I’m feeling kind of lonely after the awesome science! this afternoon. I miss my boss. I miss poptarts and small fires and all nighters.
Mostly I miss my friend.
“Oh my god, Tad. Thanks.” Miss Lewis accepts the second coffee, then leans against the wall with a groan. “I stayed up way too late watching Jurassic Park with a friend stateside. All four. Why?”
Tad glances at the hallway full of people who suddenly need to linger in the area. “Because they’re good movies?”
“They are awesome movies Tad. Because dinosaurs.” She frowns and looks around. “But any mad scientists should remember that lots of people got eaten. No bringing back any prehistoric besties.”
She points at the guy from lab 34 who always wears dinosaur ties. “I’m talking to you, Rick.”
Tad sees a familiar bracelet on her wrist. It’s looks like blueish metal, finely made into several mesh cords, then woven intricately together. Well, that is what it is. Tad knows that lab 56 made it for her, and that it unravels into varying lengths of unbreakable cords, from a small enough one to use as a head band, to one that will stretch two hundred and forty feet.
Miss Lewis had professed unending love for the object’s ‘total awesomeness’, and had promptly looped it around her wrist seconds after being gifted with it.
Tad has yet to see her without it in the month since.
“Have you watched Lost, Tad? All the way to the end?”
“I can’t say that I have, Miss Lewis.”
“Don’t do it. Take it from me.”
“I did. It was stupid.” A woman that looks vaguely familiar says. Almost everyone in the tower now looks vaguely familiar to Tad after following Miss Lewis around. “Mystical powers kept that substation beneath the hatch going? Bullshit.”
“Exactly, Mayumi! Exactly!” Miss Lewis nods her head empathetically. “Okay. Who has something awesome to show me? Hannah? Patrick? Come on guys, I’m dying here.”
Hannah and Patrick look at each other, then at Miss Lewis before nodding. Hannah and Patrick are the bane of Grace Fowler’s existence. She’s in charge of marketing for their lab, and they are notorious for being perfectionists and extremely protective of their work.
They never think it is ready to show.
“Yay!” Miss Lewis sings, beaming back at Tad. “Come on, Tad! Epic adventuring in lab 16 it is!”
It is the first time that Tad sees Hannah smile. It may, in fact, be the first time Hannah has smiled on SI property. Miss Lewis claps, and then she listens as they explain everything. Tad hates this part of their lab visits and pulls out his phone to distract himself.
Miss Lewis loves it. He can tell. She gets this science stuff. She is a scientist. But not. Tad doesn’t like scientists, so he’d know.
About an hour in she inquires if everyone has eaten. She’s very concerned about the scientists eating. Her consistent questioning had led to twice daily snacks being delivered to all lab areas.
Speaking of, Tad glances around the room looking for the small glassed in area that served as a rest area in each lab. He would find comfortable furniture, a place for napping, and a small kitchenette and table.
He spies it, and the day’s snack on the table. Ants on a log? Tad loves ants on a log. The scientists always get the best snacks.
Tad comes back out, wiping his face discreetly.
“And then I told him, not with that spectrometer!” Patrick finishes.
Hannah practically beams as Miss Lewis throws back her head and laughs.
Tad sighs. Science jokes. But Hannah does look particularly pretty, her cheeks slightly flushed and her eyes bright.
07/11/2014 3:12 PM EDT
Subject: Phone died
Sorry I’m not texting back today, I sort of destroyed my phone. It’s been weird going all day without talking to you. Since I know you’ve been pestering me about it even if I can’t get the messages right now, I had a club sandwich for lunch and a strawberry milkshake. I was eating with a co-worker, but I wasn’t about to ask him to borrow his phone to take a picture. You’ll just have to live, or even better, start eating decent food yourself instead of just using me for food porn.
Speaking of my co-worker, you kind of came up in conversation. He’s worried I’m being catfished? I’m almost positive he’s going to speak to the rest of the team about it. They worry about me since I’m so new to tech stuff.
Replacement phone should be ready by tonight or tomorrow. You’ll be the first to know.
07/11/2014 r: 7:16 PM EDT s: 12:16 AM GMT
Subject: Re: Phone died
I was getting worried again. I refrained from checking for Epic Disasters in NYC, but just barely. Sorry in advance for blowing up your phone, you’re right about it being weird not talking. But since you weren’t responding I started feeling like a psycho ex-girlfriend or something. (Apparently my reaction to feeling like I’m texting you so much that it’s getting weird is to text you even more. All of the texts. Darcy awkward social instincts for the win.)
Dude, catfishing is when someone asks you for money to be sent to some foreign account. (On that note, DO NOT tell your friends (THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE GRANT, STOP DENYING IT. YOU GO OUT TO LUNCH, YOU KNOW THEIR GIRLFRIENDS, YOU LIVE IN THE SAME BUILDING AS SOME OF THEM. FRIENDS. ACCEPT IT AND MOVE ON) that you’ve been sending me gifts, or that I’m out of the country.)
Anyway, signs that you’re being catfished are lots of emails and photos, and maybe a few phone calls. But scheduled calls. Like they wont pick up 99% of the time when you call. Also, diamond mines, jewelry stores, money orders, inheritances etc. are often mentioned. They almost always request help.
But now that I’m thinking about it, maybe you’re catfishing me. You did contact me first, supposedly by accident. You do refuse to Skype me. I have to send things to your work address. A lot of times you’ve gone MIA for a few days or weeks only to come back and say you went out of town unexpectedly.
And now I’ve gone through everything you’ve sent me, and hours later, I realize that you don’t tell me very much about yourself. What you’ve had for lunch, yes. Where you’re going, yes. Where you went to high school? No. Where you grew up? No.
AND NOW I’ve just checked the armed services records and there is NO RECORD of someone named Grant Eyesman serving in the last 20 years. AND you're not in any of the SI public records.
FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK YOU. YOU ASSHOLE. What was even in this for you? Jane's science?
Miss Lewis visits the labs. Not her normal kind of visit though. She’s not breezing through, looking things over, joking with everyone she runs into. In fact, she’s been in the building for a solid three hours and has not used a single post-it note.
Tad has the blue glittering ones that are her favorite. And he made sure to show her the four different colors of pens he’d special ordered.
It is obvious to everyone that something is wrong.
Miss Lewis had been her normal kind self, but her actions and words are dimmed. Her smile is tired and false. Her eyes are also red rimmed.
Tad is uncertain what to do about this. It doesn’t help that everyone keeps looking to him. Anna Chatworth and Laura Nagle had presented her with their latest taser prototype, a gift he knew they’d been working on for months.
Darcy had thanked them, stilling when they said she should use it against whoever made her look like this.
“You look lovely, Miss Lewis.” Tad says firmly.
Laura’s eyes widen. She looks at Anna desperately.
“Lovely.” Anna repeats in her monotonous tone. “But also like you’ve been crying. And not sleeping.”
“All of those things.” Laura says, nodding earnestly like they’ve fixed their faux pas.
“We’re going to leave now.” Tad says, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. “Miss Lewis is on her way back to the observatory.”
Tad had spent many hours in the observatory lab with Miss Lewis. The scientists there enjoyed her company – she could easily keep up with them and often pointed them to obscure academic articles.
After months of their presence the observatory scientists ignored Miss Lewis and Tad. Miss Lewis was allowed to sit at a station and manipulate the output so she could gaze at the stars, and Tad sat undisturbed at another catching up on his work.
Today though, the scientists are obviously distracted by her presence. As they had been the day before. Miss Lewis watches her stars with an unbearably sad expression.
Even Tad has a hard time focusing, and he’s looking over the most finely written contracts he’s ever seen. Masterpieces!
Tad asks her as they move back through the building, after a stop at her favored vending machine on floor 56, if she would like a security escort. The question is asked at the behest of Ms. Winters, the fiercely competent and businesslike head of HR, who has apparently received many concerned emails filled with suggestions to help Miss Lewis that are varying degrees of appropriate and or useful.
“What? No.” Miss Lewis smiles, again one that does not begin to reach her eyes. “Sorry, Tad. I probably should have stayed home, huh?”
“Of course not, Miss Lewis.” Tad answers. Miss Lewis not showing up would be extremely worrying. It would, in fact, throw off the routine at SI London terribly.
Tad’s days function the same, he arrives and attends his early meeting. He works at his desk until Anita calls and then he goes down to assist Miss Lewis.
Miss Lewis’ arrival marks the beginning of brunch, and the cafeteria prepares for a fresh crowd which may soon overtake the size of their actual breakfast crowd. The brunch crowd is more prone to causing explosions, fires, and general messes than the breakfast crowd as many of the scientists bring small projects to share with their cohorts and Miss Lewis.
Most days Miss Lewis then chooses a floor to visit. At least once a week, a stop at the observatory is included.
What would happen if Miss Lewis did not arrive, and Anita did not call, and brunch never started? Tad still dislikes scientists, but he knew most of them skipped breakfast to wait for brunch, and Miss Lewis is adamant that scientists need at least one solid meal a day.
After Miss Lewis leaves, putting off his insistence that she should always come to SI, and Charles’ worried hovering, Tad does not follow his routine.
He does not go back upstairs to his desk.
Instead he heads down to lab 16, standing just outside the viewing window. Hannah and Patrick are arguing quietly. Patrick sees him first and ignores Tad’s panicked head shake, nudging Hannah with his elbow.
Hannah looks up, her expression confused. Her dark brows knit together, then she raises a hand that is inexplicably purple in a jerky wave.
Tad’s throat knots together and his hands are suddenly clammy and sweaty at once and he resists the urge to run. Instead he reaches to straighten his tie, remembers as his fingers fumble at his front, that he’s wearing suspenders today, and feels a blush take over his face and ears.
He raises his arm, points at the watch on his wrist, then walks away trying to project that he is doing very important things.
07/17/2014 10:14 AM EDT
Subject: Please read
I swear that I am not catfishing you, which yes, I realize is exactly what someone who is catfishing you would say.
I’ve been trying to call you and text you all day. My phone wont connect, which according to Google means you’ve blocked me?
I realize this wont help my cause at all, but I had to leave town and I just got back or I would have responded earlier. Immediately.
Our friendship means a lot to me. I’m going to come to London. Please call me and tell me someplace we can meet, and I promise I’ll explain all of this to you.
07/19/2014 9:35 AM EDT
Subject: Flight Info
I hope you respond to this. I’m just going to keep emailing you, so you know what I’m doing either way.
My flight will get in early on Thursday. Can we meet at East End Coffee? I’ll be there at 10:30 AM and I’ll be wearing the shirt you sent me.
I’ll have an executive mocha waiting for you, extra whip, extra sauce.