Action and Reaction

Participants:

cat_icon.gif peter_icon.gif danielle_icon.gif

Scene Title Action and Reaction
Synopsis Peter attempts to change what he sees in his painting of Cat, and threads begin to cross in a larger problem.
Date September 12, 2008

The Surly Wench

A punk rock pub through and through, The Surly Wench is dim, cramped, and incredibly popular. It's a small, rectangular venue with a bar bordering one entire wall. Despite this, ordering a drink on a weekend can be an exercise in line-waiting and rib-elbowing. There are a few small tables ringed with high stools for seating, but these are prime real estate. The majority of the patrons are forced to stand shoulder-to-shoulder on any given night. Almost half of the cramped interior is devoted to a low stage for live music. There's no dance floor. If you feel the need, you'll have to thrash in place.


It's past midnight. Closer to 12:30 than midnight, to be exact. The streets are what they are at that time of morning. A time of morning many wouldn't even call morning, but still it is. Cat herself would probably say it's dark thirty, but it's a time she seems comfortable with being awake and about at. She's still doing her thing onstage, approaching the end of another set, with a pint of that dark Irish brew waiting on her table. Maybe even the same pint she'd gotten at the last break, while she talked with a scarred man and had a brief bit of unpleasance with a man and his grabby hands.

Somewhere outside the Surly Wench, there's an alley. One which a certain person might think familiar should he pass it.

Walking up towards the front of the Surly Wench, Peter hears the sound of music playing inside. Working up towards the front windows, he peers inside and spots Cat up on the stage playing. There's a sigh of relief that escapes him, and for all his worth Peter looks like shit; paint wiped across his forehead, some spots on his cheek and chin. Turning his back to the window he pulls up the collar of his coat, looking at the bouncer by the door, then begins pacing pack and forth. Every so often, he'll stare at someone passing by the front of the building, then resume his back and forth motions. Never once setting foot inside, the alley was no coincidence, he wasn't sharp enough yet to put two and two together and connect the thugs in the painting to the ones that accosted Cat, all he cares about right now is that she's safe.

A man steps to the mouth of that alley and ducks his head around the corner to see if she's out there yet. They plan to intercept her on the way out, but they of course have no idea when she'll be leaving. They can only lurk and wait, checking the street occasionally for her presence. Both are drunk, and intending to get some of that which one was ejected for grabbing earlier. What they do know, or believe, is she'll be unprotected. They saw that man she'd been talking to leave while she stayed. The grabby one, deeper in the alley, mutters a question to the other. "Bitch out there?" "Naw."

Peter fumes, catching sound of the pair in the alley. Thoughts race through his mind, charging down there and giving them a scare they'd never forget. He tenses, hands clenched in his pockets, Maybe they'll get sick of waiting, he thinks to himself. His eyes wander the streets, one hand smoothing over his hair before sliding back into his pockets. What if there is a cop, homeland, or worse? The trouble he'd stir up makes Peter hesitate, looking back in the plate-glass window towards where Cat is on stage, he has to be patient.

"Go back in there and keep eyes on her," the grabby one tells his partner. "Stay near the door so you can come out and tell me she's on the way before she gets out the door, yeah?" He grins, then laughs drunkenly, with anger and malice. His partner barks out a laugh of his own before heading back to the Surly Wench.

Inside, Cat finishes her set and makes her way from the stage to the table. It's loud in there, even when she isn't playing, and at the moment the audience is reacting to her performance in a not quiet way. Once she reaches the table she takes out her phone and slides a finger across the front to unlock it, seeing she has one missed call and one voicemail. She'd been planning to call Dani anyway, and now sees her friend called first. So she makes her way through the crowd, and once outside lifts the phone to her ear. She's checking the messages. With her guitar still over shoulders by the straps.

This is the moment the one Grabby sent to keep watch turns the corner. He's at one end, she's at the other, and a Rock is between them.

And something else unexpected happens. Cat freezes in her tracks once she taps the voicemail entry and listens to it. "What the?" Concern, maybe even a touch of panic, shows in the woman's face and eyes.

"Cat." Not having the slightest idea about what Cat is about to hear, Peter leans off of the front of the Wench, resting a hand on her shoulder. It's spattered with red, too bright to be blood, dried on his fingernails and skin. Spots of black, white and red stain his face as well; paint. "Come on, we have to go," It's not a question, he lightly tugs her shoulder, looking back towards the alleyway. Peter is tense, cold and emotional, looking at Cat with a somewhat ragged expression, "Now."

She doesn't argue. Her backpack is inside the bar still, can be retrieved later, maybe. Cat isn't paying attention right now. She just moves when he leads, only partly registering his expression. One finger taps the phone's front to call the number that voicemail came from.

The spotter spots Cat, and spots Rock; he rushes back into the alley and reports. "She's coming, man, bitch is on the street, but Scar is with her again. He turned up outside and grabbed the chick soon's she stepped out!" "Fuck!" Both of them start to stagger down the alley, headed the other way.

Peter walks at Cat's side, one hand on her shoulder, one hand out, "No, Cat. I mean go." He places his other hand on her shoulder, walking around her, "Now." His brows raise, trying to get her to pay attention, oblivious to the horrible things she had heard on the other end of the phone, "Something bad's about to happen, come on we just…" Peter tenses, hearing the voices from the alley, looking towards the corner for a moment, then back to Cat, finally registering her blank expression. "You alright?"

She listens as the phone rings, and is picked up. Her ears and brain record Dani saying hello on the other end, sounding somewhat muffled and not quite normal. Cat speaks into the device with concern in her voice. "Dani. I got your message… What's going on? Are you in trouble?" There's a pause as she considers it may not be safe for her to talk, she sounded not alone on the voicemail. "If anyone is listening, say this is a wrong number." Cat starts to move again, while paying attention to both phone and man.

"I'm taking you back to your apartment," Peter says, only half listening to her conversation, "Just, hold on, okay?" He looks over his shoulder, to the alley, thinking about something, then hesitates. He'll never forget their faces, the group from the bar, not thanks to Cat. Somewhat satisfied, he leads Cat a bit further down the street, walking at her side with a hand on her shoulder, then… there's a strange sensation of falling, like missing a step on a flight of stairs, an unexpected rushing feeling as everything around Cat bends and blurs in an instant of confusion, then…

They're in her living room.


Dorchester Towers: Cat's Apartment

The entry hall has room for anyone carrying larger objects to move without much trouble and five doorways. First, on the left, is a kitchen with the usual appliances, microwave, toaster, blender, coffeemaker, and George Foreman grill. Cherry cabinets with brass handles above and below the marbled counter fill the spaces. In the center is a table of dark cherry wood with comfortable wooden chairs for six people on a waxed cedar floor.

The living area, second on the left, has a peach colored couch with cherry wood end and coffee tables along the far wall. On either side of those is a recliner chair. Atop one of the end tables is a caller ID phone with NYC phone books. Electronics line the left wall: a 60" thin plasma HDTV, cable box with DVR, stereo equalizer, radio tuner, twelve disc CD player, iPod dock, home theater system, and speakers. One of the other walls has a piano placed against it and a wide window overlooking Nuked York. Pale wine colored pull curtains, normally kept closed, hang before it. The fourth wall has a line of electric and acoustic guitars, a few amps of varying sizes, and a cello.

The first door on the right opens to the smaller of two bedrooms. The second right hand door leads to the main bedroom.

At the entry hall's far end is a bathroom with standard fixtures, a white tile floor, and products a woman would have. Bright and warm glows from overhead track lighting bathe the place. Deep wine colored plush carpet covers the floor, stopping only at the kitchen and bathroom.


She listens as Dani, on the other end, groans just a little, reporting she's almost home, been better, in a voice tight with pain. Cat seems about to reply as she walks along, her voice failing as the landscape shifts. "Holy shit," she breathes out quickly on suddenly finding herself at home in the apartment. "What the…?" She looks a little dizzy, it takes her some moments to get her bearings enough to ask Dani "Where are you, exactly? I'm on the way."

Hesitating for a moment as he hears Cat's tone of voice and sees the disconnect in her face, Peter leans forward and looks at her, "Cat?" Peter walks in front of Cat again, resting his hands on her shoulders, watching her carefully. She might have seen the painting on canvas leaning up against the wall behind him, next to the etched window. Though with the way she's currently acting, it's hard to tell what she's paying attention to. "Cat, are you alright?"

She's still listening to the phone, Dani tells her "Home. Almost there. Hurts to talk, Cat. See you soon." And Cat speaks again. "Okay, Dani." She ends the call and walks to the door, waiting there and watching for Dani to make it home, concern in her face. Her mind is running over a variety of things which might've happened, none of them pleasant, as all she can do right now is wait and assess when arrival happens.

To Rock she states "Dani got into trouble. She left me a voicemail and sounds hurt." It's only now that a semblance of better focus comes to her, she asks him "What the hell is going on?" Cat still hasn't spotted the painting which features her.

"Dani's… what?" Peter tilts his head to the side, eyeing the painting — no, that's definately Cat — "You were…" Peter hesitates, shaking his head, "Is Dani alright? Where is she?" He looks to the door, then back to Cat. "If something happened, I can go get her…" There's nervousness in his voice, regret, he had warned Cat. Peter's mind was doing the exact opposite of Cat's, when concern struck him he just rambles, "Sit — " He falters for a moment, motioning towards the sofa, "Sit down."

Dani makes it home a couple minutes later. The brunette has looked better, to put it mildly. She's in a little black dress, which seems soaked through at the front skirt. Barefoot and limping. Hair tousled, makeup a -mess-. Purplish bruise marks on her right upper arm, like someone grabbed her hard there. A "stripe" sort of bruise rising diagonally over her torso, where a seatbelt would be. And the entire right side of her face is bruised, her lip split and face bloody, like someone fairly large and fairly strong hit her rather hard.

A few steps are taken, she settles onto the sofa and collects her thoughts further, forcing herself to push aside all those scenarios she was playing out. Cat's eyes close for a short time, and when they reopen she just stares across the room. Because there's a painting near the window which she's depicted in, brandishing her guitar like a weapon, with two figures silhouetted in black and bearing arms in an alley. One has a gun and the other a knife. Her mouth opens and closes several times before words emerge. "That's… that's me. Is that why you turned up back there?"

But the topic is left for later when the sound of feet on the entry hall carpet tells her Dani's back. She stands and moves to assist the shorter brunette, taking in her appearance with concern and anger.

Peter looks at Cat, his expression softening when she sees the painting. His stare drifts over to it, then to the floor in front of Cat. He crouches down in front of where she's seated, nodding once, "Yeah, I… I was trying to paint something for you, and it…" When the door opens, Peter isn't expecting what he sees. "Dani?" Spotting Danielle in the condition she's in is enough to make Peter falter, his eyes growing wide in disbelief. He stands there, dumbstruck for a few moments as he sees her limping, then runs across the apartment to her side along with Cat, "Dani, damn…" He gently places a hand on her back between her shoulderblades, the other trying to take her hand enough to keep her steady. "Cat, she's… gotta go on the couch," He squints, looking around the dark apartment, "Do you have a first-aid kit? And get some lights on so I can take a look at her better…" His tone of voice, while authoratative, is much more gentle than usual. "Danni, what… what happened?" He leans in, looking at her head, trying to see if she had hit it anywhere in the dim light.

Dani's not to proud to take help from the both…in fact, now that she's gotten -here-, the adrenaline rush she's been running on is fading, leaving her shaking and pale. "Linderman's goons. The purse. Don't let anything happen to it. My recorder. Got the whole thing on audio." But she paid for it, certainly.

She's on the move, following the instructions of the trained nurse who teleported her home away from a pair of potential rapists and murderers after painting her running into them. Cat's steps lead first to the switches. Lights come on all at once, she trips them rapidly, then heads to the bathroom where supplies such as he asks for are kept; some fairly basic stuff. On the way back she grabs a book on medical techniques from the bedroom and returns with it too. The tome is set on a table, the supplies go to Rock, and she studies Dani. "Linderman," she growls.

Linderman. The name alone made Peter's face contort into a disgusted expression, and he shot a glance up at Cat, watching her reaction. For once, Peter was right, it was too much. He looks back to Dani, easing her over to the sofa, one hand on her elbow, the other on her shoulder, trying to help her sit down. Watching Cat take off, Peter seems surprised that she listens to the request, he doesn't seem used to people following his instructions, even benign ones.

"Just relax, Dani, alright?" He eyes the purse, easing it off of her shoulder and sets it down on the coffee table, helping Dani to sit, "Did you hit your head at all?" Now with the light on, he runs his hand lightly over her head, fingers running through her hair, trying to find if he can feel any sign of injury. The lip, while bloody, doesn't concern him directly. He eyes the bruises on her shoulder and across her chest, frowning intently, "Jesus, Cat, it looks like she was in a car accident."

When the first-aid kit is brought over, Peter motions to it and yanks it off of the table, the box floating thorugh the air to his lap as he sits on the arm of the sofa. The lid flips open of Peter's will, and he looks down from Dani to the contents, pulling out some of the cotton swabs.

Dani nods once, but she seems more than a little bleary. She sits, and nods. "I think. In the car. Car got hit a few times…and when he hit me." Peter's on the right track, little Dani's got a concussion. No obvious head trauma, but it's internal, from her brain getting knocked around inside her skull. The bruise pattern does indeed look like she was in a car accident. Her mouth is all bloody, probably from the lip, and her feet have numerous cuts and scrapes, from running barefoot down New York alleys and sidewalks. "The purse. Gotta keep it safe." She doesn't seem to realize she just mentioned it a moment ago; another sign of concussion.

She's busying herself the best way she knows how. Cat doesn't have medical expertise like he does, the training isn't there, and it seems little can be done on her part except to watch and provide what's asked for as Rock tends to her injuries. But she does recognize head injuries can involve concussions, so she's flipping quickly through pages in that book she brought out until the section on that condition is reached. Then she reads.

"Christ," Peter moves his hand away, looking at Cat with a concerned expression, "She needs to go to the hospital, I can clean her up, but there's a lot of internal injuries going on here. I can't tell if she has any fractured ribs, but it's common in vehicle accidents from the seatbelt." His brow tenses, and Peter rests a hand on Dani's shoulder, "The records is going…" He finally thinks that over in his head, "…going to be fine." His eyes divert to her purse, then to Cat, then back to Dani. "Dani, I need you to relax, okay? We've got to take you to the hospital, probably… probably call the police. You're pretty banged up, and I don't want anything to happen to you."

Looking back at Cat, seeing her concern, he shakes his head slowly. "Odds are she's got a concussion, you should take her to the hospital. I…" He looks over to the painting, then back to Cat, "I can't go with you, if someone recognized me…" He shakes his head, biting down on his lower lip pensively. "I can help you get Dani to the car, maybe… maybe I could stick around, stay hidden?" He arches one brow, "If you want."

Dani looks back at Peter, pupils a little unfocused (and different sizes at that). "Cat. Cat should lissen to it." She mumbles. "Then she'll have it." Her roommate, the Lady Of The Perfect Memory. "No hosp'tal." She waves a hand, in what's meant to be a "wave off" gesture and really is more unfocused. "Need to talk to the p'lice, so they know. Evidence." Another vague gesture in the general direction of the purse. Cat'll…" Her speech tapers off, her head lolling to the side as she passes out.

But Cat, being in the act of reading text on concussions and how serious they can be, isn't much agreeing on the whole no hospital thing. And Dani becoming unconscious ends arguments on the subject of medical care. "I'll need my backpack from the bar, Rock," she states. "It's got my ID and documents in it. Along with the means of paying for her medical care." A pause is taken, after which she asks "Can you do that trick of yours while invisible, to get us there?"

"Shit!" Peter gently wraps an arm around Dani's shoulders to keep her up, the other hand patting her on the cheek lightly, "Dani, Dani come on, you've gotta stay awake now…" His brow tenses and he looks at Cat with a concerned expression. "Look, you have to stay awake, alright? I need you to keep your eyes open…" He looks inside the first-aid kit, scowling at the lack of smelling salts, "Dani?" He turns back around to Cat, shaking his head, "No, no I can't. That takes way too much concentration to maintain both, I couldn't ever get it to work." He bites his lip gently, "I can run back to the bar, get your things. You get Dani down to the car and just head to the hospital. I'll meet you outside the emergency room." Peter taps Dani on the cheek again, "Come on… wake up." He glances back at Cat, "She's in rough shape."


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September 12th: Not Much of a Gift
Previously in this storyline…
Deception

Next in this storyline…
It Wasn't for Nothing

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September 12th: Legwork
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