Baby Food Taste-a-thon

Tonight it isn't heartburn that has Ashton out late, it's work and wanting to avoid being alone in a big old house. She's pottering around in the EZ Mart, pulling on one of those wheelie baskets that is a cross between a small cart and a hand held basket. The store is relatively empty with only a handful of customers; a peach-fuzz cheeked teenage boy stands in front of the condoms looking very confused while a harranged looking man several years his senior has a sleeping baby on his chest and is buying milk. The garrish lights do nothing to make any one in the store look better, but in Ashton's case her baggy NYU hoodie and leggings aren't going to help either.

Samuel is in usual attier, something faded and comfortable looking, older than need be. Its a hoodie with Northeastern U. on it, probably picked up before even going to school there, some local team to support. His t-shirt is old high school stuff too. A late night, still probably will return nearer closing time to the Firehouse. But here, he's out for his own needs. He's deciding near the fridge, sour cream and onion, or ranch. For a dip, probably for chips too. Its a tough call, both so good, but he's not a glutton, can't get both. Dilemma has caught him. The buzz of the lights overhead a constant, he'll take the wheels of cart over that buzz of florescent lightning that could stand some new bulbs. Turning to look, he spots the driver of said mixed/mini cart thing, with extandable hand thing maybe. "Hey, more milk, or something else sounding good." A pause, a look, he holds both up, the "If you could only choose one?"

Ashton pulls her basket towards the fridge unit and comes to a stop when she sees Samuel. A lazy grin tilts her mouth, "We have to stop meeting like this. People will start to talk." She snaps her fingers then, "Oh wait, they're already talking. About me that is." Her basket is filled with random junk food and wierdly jars of baby food.

"Well, I sort of like it, gets me talked about meeting you like this," chuckles Samuel at the idea, "Otherwise, just quiet old Sammie I guess." He moves closer, holding both dips all the same. "You know why they talk, jealousy. You have a life, and the evidence to prove it." In the oven so to speak, "And they just have whatever soap opera or TV drama is recorded on their playlists, so make their own drama, even if its not real at all. Do I need to do something stupid, take the heat off you for a bit?"

She laughs quietly and nods towards the ranch dip. "Go for that one, just in case you end up not being alone. You might want to avoid bad breath." There is a bag of ridged potato chips in her wheelie basket but it's hard to see if there is any dip. Ashton grins at him, "Hang around me, Sam and you'll get to be all the rage when it comes to the curtain twitchers talking about you." Her head tilts and she sked, "Couldn't sleep?"

Laughing at the selection, Samuel nods, "Ah, yes, that is a good factor to consider." Reaching for the fridge door, he opens it, returns the one with onion. "Maybe I should look for the mint flavor, just in case I'm not alone as well." He has what he came for, but no rush to leave at all, he seems to meander with Ashton. "You're going to make me suspicious, I'm going to start looking at the curtains when I walk around town now, and probably suspect the twitching is about me, even if its just the wind or a fan blowing them now." A shake of his head, "Wish iw wasn't able to sleep, more lat night of school work ahead. I can sleep in tomorrow, Monday/Wednesday is my late start, good for quiet at home after they close the bar down." As he does room above it.

"You'll get past it. The last year is the hardest," says Ashton as she reaches up and ruffles his hair. "Uhm, yeah, not sure why I did that. It looks worse now." She laughs at herself and reaches up with both hands, dropping the handle of her wheelie basket, and tries to fix poor Sam's hair.

"Yeah, this and the next to go, I'm counting the minutes." Not really, he might sneak in a minor if he does well this year and can get enough credits in something he likes to pull a minor beside the major. Samuel chuckles at the mussing of his hair, "It needs some help, and I'm not updating it, totally needs it no." He'll lower his head to help even. "That and your hands need some busy work, before you end up shopping with stomach versus what you know you need. I'm arleady thinking of more food for the night, just came for the dip too."

"Don't," warns Ashton. "I am already carting around a bunch of stuff I didn't plan on getting." She points to her basket as proof. "I thought, hey, why not try out some baby food. See if it's any good." Her gaze meets his, "I don't want to be feeding my kid stuff that even I wouldn't eat." She purses her lips, "We could combine forces. You can help me taste test some baby food and I can help you not eat all the chips and dip by yourself?"

Ashton unlocks the door to the house, for her locking doors is a recent habit, and walks inside, switching on lights. "Thanks for carrying the groceries," she says to Sam as she looks back over her shoulder at him. Her keys are dropped into a bowl on a small table in the front hall. "Do you want to start a fire in the fireplace while I go get some plates and cups?" She thinks on it and adds, "And some spoons."

"No worries," grins Samuel about carrying the groceries, he'd personally feel like a chump if he didn't offer. Setting them down nearest the kitchen, or anywhere she directs, he nods, "Sure thing, a fire sounds good." Their place doesn't come with one, and its rather fitting being cool and fall. "Looks nice in here," he comments, moving fore the front room and the mantle, calling over his shoulder as he starts to stack any tinder and logs they have, comfortable getting a fire going, even if his families apartment doesn't have one. Its a simple skill most people in a small town know, if only for camp/bon-fires. "I vote baby food first, I think I'll enjoy the chips and dip more …" He can put in that request right?

"Okay," laughs Ashton. "Baby food first." She leaves him to it and heads into the kitchen to gather up some dishes and also cups for the chocolate milk she purchased. By the time Samuel has the fire going she is coming back in with a tray of dishes and silverware. "I also brought a bottle opener for your beer." As she sets the tray down on the coffee table she smiles over at him. "Maybe if we save the baby deserts until we've tried the other stuff it will feel like a treat?"

"Thanks," called back from Samuel. Chuckling and setting the fire. Sitting at the edge of a couch maybe when she returns, he stands to take what he can to help, including the opener. "Thanks," again, a nod, beats using teeth or table edge to opena bottle and not so much a snob, but a preference against truly capped bottles versus twist off. "I guess some people actually like it," the baby food, "So, we could be in for a treat regardless. But yeah, save the desert for last. We only went for veggies right, I think they have meats these days, but that doesn't sound good at all." Meat in a glass jar. He's giving it a good go, tasting of baby food, something serious about it. Thinking he won't like it all the same, he's in.

"Only veggies," replies Ashton as she twists the top off one of the jars of food. The jar is held up so she can read the label, "This is garden peas." From the tray on the coffee table she takes a couple of small teaspoons and gives one to Sam. "I'll be brave and go first." Using the small spoon she eats some of the mushy peas then hands the jar over to him. "Tastes like peas," is her verdict. There are also jars of squash and a sort of vegetable medley with tiny pieces of pasta in it. The less savoury flavours are banana pudding and applesauce.

Watching, suspicious as she makes the brave leap and tries garden peas, Samuel sees no bad reaction so to speak, but tastes like peas. A good sign. Taking it as its handed to him, he takes a sampling himself. Flavor is there, texture doesn't seem to be his thing, slightly sour face. "Its peas, like they've been chewed on." Technically, sort of true, mushed up peas. The sour face definitely a texture thing. "Well, I guess if I loose my teeth, I can sort of figure out finding food to eat." Baby food, better than protein shakes or Ensure maybe, not that he knows about those, baby food it is. "Tolerable, but you have to swear, you won't become addicted to any of this." He's seen, or at least heard of, some mothers continuing to eat it after they have their child (children).

She laughs, "Yeah, it's not the best is it? I'd rather just eat peas." Ashton chuckles as she opens the other jars. "I promise I won't become addicted to it. My grandmother thinks I should give up my job and be a stay at home mom like mine was and make all my own food fresh." Ashton's rolling eyes reveal what she thinks of that. The squash has her pulling a face. "I don't like that one, but I don't really like squash much anyway. It tastes too sweet."

Nodding and grinning, not the best, but flavor is there, it could grow on someone, just not right out of the can like that, first time. Samuel chuckles about stay at home mom, "Fresh food sounds like a lot more work than getting a job and footing the bill on some daycare. You'll be less tired with a real job," to actually enjoy baby time he thinks. Only his opinion, not meant to force it either, he takes the squash, "Yeah, way to sweet, they should grill it first." Mmmm from him, grilled squash and cucumbers/zucchini sounds way better. "I need that on my list, grilling squash." It is that time of the year after all. "Do we need to take more than one bite, or just the one." As if, keep trying to get a real good taste.

Ashton peers at the jar of vegetables and tiny pasta, "I don't know. Do you think we should take more than one bite? You're the one who works with food. I just eat because I need to put fuel in my body. Food's never been all that important to me." She spoons up a mouthful of the baby food and eats it thoughtfully. "Needs spices."

"No, I'm good with one, I don't think I want it to grow on me," he returns, reaching for tiny pasta and veggies. "Spices would help, add a little to it, cheap puree I think." He has no idea what, if anything, his parents do when serving something with a puree to begin with, but sounds feasible if he was cooking and wanted to cut corners. "I'm good with fuel for the body,but still, if you could make it taste better, you'd be good for it? I don't mean glutton or pampered, but a little more spice to make it just right right?" Then again, he wasn't nosy in what she was picking to eat either, maybe less spices more fuel in her choices.

"Yeah. I mean, if I have time then I think about food but most of the time," Ashton grins a little, "I don't have time. I'm grabbing something to eat as I go from one site to another or when chasing up a lead. And here," she gestures to the house in general rather than the living room specificly, "I'm alone so I don't see the point in cooking anything elaborate. I eat what I need to eat to keep the baby going and me going and that's it." She twists the top off the jar of banana pudding and sniffs it, "Wow, you can smell the banana." Her eyes widen as she tastes it. "Oh, this one is good." So good she eats two spoonfuls before sharing the small jar with Samuel.

"Okay, I'll give you that, I imagine that's more than a full time job," like can't just clock out in the middle of chasing a lead, or talking with individuals, or even making an arrest. Can't clock out while busting down a door or anything else police worthy. Samuel takes the banana, "And I'm spoiled, I can have something made in the kitchen pretty quick, or if soup was made for the day, I can have anything left at the end of the day." Never thought of it that way, just the way it was. He scoops up a spoonful, dabbles it twice to shake off then into his mouth, mmmm again, "That one, definitely, almost like a pudding." What, wasn't it banana pudding by name even. He offers it back, so she can have more actually. Better than mushy veggies by a long shot. "I might pick some of that up." Curiously, put it in the cooler when he goes fishing, quick snack. Probably cheaper than snack packs even.

Ashton happily takes the jar back and devours the rest of it, mind you it was only a few more little spoonfuls. "That is good. I could keep jars of that in my desk at work." The applesauce is equally tasty, though she does admit, "I like my mom's old recipe better. She used to put cinnamon in it." The jar of applesauce is held out so Sam can taste it. "So aside from being spoilt when it comes to food, what other good things came out of living above a restaurant?"


"You should," he agrees, still thinking of packing extra himself, "Secret little desert, a few cents a jar," or whatever the going price of of bottled baby food is these days. "You have it, that old recipe?" After taking a bite that its, becoming curious what tastes better. The restuarant not too big on apple sauce with cinnamon. More an afterthought for kids meals, for parents avoiding fries and fried items at least. "Well, everyone comes in, I get a lot of local gossip. You should get someone on the force that works a bar, you might get good leads from time to time. But sort of feels like priest, or medical worker, its given in confidence, you don't just tell about it." Unless its really serious, like buried bodies or shootings, but still, some of it could be good leads.

"People don't generally confide in cops, not really. Not like everyone thinks they do. They come to us for help but even then they can be pretty antagonistic." Ashton sets the baby food aside and opens the bag of potato chips then the dip and settles back on the sofa again. "It's hard having your life put under the microscope. I get that. I try and remember it, remember how it felt being that person. I think it makes me better at my job."

Still sitting on edge, he grins and reaches for chips too, just what he needed, some chips and dip. Though, that baby food dessert was good too, still lingering thoughts of picking it up for the cooler when he goes out fishing, or just driving around. Samuel nods, "People also need to remember, cops are just that, people to, doing a job." Sure upholding the law, and half the time they are in the wrong anyways at the least. A slight grin, "That's what you were doing in high school, getting a feel of the microscope, early job training?" He is teasing, or he hopes he is.

She eats a few chips and then pours herself some chocolate milk. "Yeah," chuckles Ashton, though there is a wry note to her tone, "that's what I was doing in high school." Though the microscope didn't start until her mother's unsolved murder and all the bad behaviour after it exacerbated things. "Back under that microscope again. All those polite people wanting so desperately to ask but not having the guts to."

"They're asking with their eyes, saving it to gossip circles," returns Samuel, "And they think its polite not asking directly? Which would be better for you, direct questions or the twitch curtains?" Unsure himself, though he's not gossiping and not prying either. Not to say he's not curious, but finding a friend in her versus speculating about what's and who's more at the top of any agenda he has, and no true agenda. More tending to roll with it.

Ashton shrugs as if to shrug it off then thinks on it for a few silent moments before answering, "I'd rather that they ask me point blank. I could deal with it better, head off any wild speculation." She takes a sip of her milk and licks her lips before adding, "It's not just the local busy bodies. It's the ones who were in my mother's circle. They look at me, watching, wondering if I am as good as she is. If I can do what she did."

"Yeah, I imagine I'd rather they just ask too," returns Sam, if he was in the rumor mill somewhere that is. So he could answer honestly at least, whether they trusted it as honesty or not. "Judging and testing it sounds like, from a distance. No judging hear, your still a handful of trouble. Especially since you seem to like banana pudding over the apple sauce. I think I'll have to disagree with you on that one. Close, but I think apple sauce wins for me." For baby food, chip dip much better, he dips another.

"Yeah, that's what this town is like," agrees Ashton. She sips her chocolate milk and nearly snorts some out of her nose as she laughs. Instead she just chokes a bit and has to clear her throat. "I never will be able to be the cool, aloof, detached woman I so long to be." Especially since she wipes her mouth with the sleeve of her hoodie. "I'm starting to feel tired, I can drive you back now if you want or you can use one of the spare rooms. They're all cleaned and made up. I kept hoping Jude would move in, but it seems like he and that Evie are shacking up in his camper so it's just me and the junior alien." Ashton pats her stomach.

Chuckling, more so at the snort, he doesn't mind a sleeve wipe, more comfortable that way around Samuel probably. "You're your own cool there, don't change for nobody." Returned then a nod, "Nah, be tired, no need to drive. If I can't sleep, I can walk, but I'll take a spare room." He stands, and goes for spoons and silver ware, "Actually go on, get your butt to bed, let me clean up here, a thanks for the wonderful meal of mushed food stuffs." Grinning the same. He even stands, a shrug, "Too much for me to worry about, I'm trying to avoid asking questions about that, puts Evie on edge, its her business." And Judes, but Ashton confirmed Jude's stance on it the other day at the Firehouse. "You and Ashton Jr. there tuck in, get some rest." He'll knock out the fire even when he gets to it. But like home, he doesn't mind the late night chores to let others relax.

A yawn escapes her and Ashton does nod, "Thanks Sammy." As she gets to her feet he is the recipient of brief, friendly hug. "Good night. I'll go lock the front door. I have been in New York too long. I can't leave things open anymore." She shuffles out of the living room and can be heard locking up before heading upstairs to bed. The spare rooms are clean, as she said and comfortably made up just waiting for a guest.

OOC Date: 2015.05.27
IC Date: 2014.10.04
Cast: Ashton & Samuel

EZ Mart and Brooks Farm

EZ Mart:

Glaring electric light pitilessly reveals the ranks of colorful packages racked up row on row. Refrigerated display cases line two of the walls, while a third holds a soda fountain and a heater slowly rotating some suspicious-looking hot dogs. The fourth wall is taken up by the checkout counter, and its enclosure of bulletproof glass, behind which a bored attendant waits for you to get your stuff and get out.

There's almost always a line at the front counter, as folks queue up to pay for gas and whatever impulse purchases they've picked up. Children dart underfoot, screeching and clutching bags of candy and plastic toys. Another line forms in the back, where harried travelers hope to eventually get in to use the restroom.

Outside, a chilly wind blows from the west, driving dark clouds before it and blotting out the stars in patches overhead. The air is clear and elsewhere they glitter brightly in the dark sapphire sky. Leaves on the ground rustle, unseen, stirred by the winds. Falling leaves blow past you, whirled around by the wind in the dark.

Brooks Home:

Merely the bare bones of what it once was, this a grand house forgotten. The walls and floors coated in a film of dust, show no signs of life, while all of the furniture remains hidden by dusty drop cloths. The fireplace rests cold, the lingering remains of chilled, charred wood nestled in its belly, while fogged dusty photos stair back through their veils at the world around them.

Several archways and doors lead from the main room, one toward the kitchen while another leads to the hall. In the back of the room a staircase leads up to the second floor. Tucked into the side of the staircase, another door can be seen, made different by the drag marks on the floor from being recently opened and the lack of dust upon its doorknob.

Outside, a chilly wind blows from the west, driving dark clouds before it and blotting out the stars in patches overhead. The air is clear and elsewhere they glitter brightly in the dark sapphire sky. Leaves on the ground rustle, unseen, stirred by the winds. Falling leaves blow past you, whirled around by the wind in the dark.

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