A Matter Of The Heart


edgar_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title A Matter of the Heart
Synopsis He may not know a lot about relationships, but no man has ever loved as long.
Date September 24, 2010

The Open Water

The slip of paper passed to Smedley at Burlesque was a set of coordinates for the smuggler to go to at a specific time in order to pick up one of his regular shipments. The containers tucked away in various hidden compartments below deck in What Jenny Thought hold quite a variety of things, most of which remain a mystery to Smedley's new employee.

Dressed in a charcoal cable knit sweater over his t-shirt and his usual brown leather coat, Smedley stands at the yacht's wheel, his eyes squinting into the setting sun. They're heading back toward Staten Island to finish the job. To any sort of law enforcement, they're simple recreational fishermen returning from a early start to their weekend. There's even the appropriate gear, which is good considering there are no fish in their hold.

"So how'd you meet your Lydia?" Smedley asks, his voice as deadpan as he can make it. "How long've you known her?" Because if there is ever a place to have slightly awkward conversations of a personal nature, it's on a boat out on the open water.

"Lydia?" Edgar's voice always goes a little soft and breathy when he says that name, like someone punched him in the solar plexus or something. "Uhm.. Me' 'er when I's seventeen? Eighteen? Years n' years ago." To the speedster, the conversation isn't awkward at all. It's just fact, how things are. Sort of like talking about what sort of pasties that stripper was wearing the night before. Edgar had focused on that for hours after they'd shut the place down.

He is sitting in a deck chair, watching the wake of the boat as they speed through the straight. He's playing a game with himself, seeing how many dead things he can spot in the water after the motor's blades have churned it up. "Why you askin' any'ow? You ain' go' designs on 'er do yeh? 'Cause I 'ate to be the bearer o' bad news, ma'e, she loves me."

"I ain't ever met her," Smedley says over his shoulder, an annoyed sort of smirk twisting into one side of his mouth. "And how'd'ya know she loves you? She tell you?" The fact of the matter is, it's been years since Smedley was in any sort of relationship that could even be compared to what he has with Peyton, and he's a little rusty on how it all works.

His fingers grip the wheel a little tighter, and he turns his eyes back toward the front. "How'd'ya know when you loved her?" The second question is asked in a much softer voice - one that might be overpowered by the purr of the engine and the spray of the salt water.

"'O course she tol' me, qui'e a few times now. She though' I was angry wi' 'er for sum'then she tol' me.. bu' there's no way I ever could. Been wai'in' fer tha' woman for mos'teh my life." Edgar says in a rather matter of fact manner. He glances back at Smedley and misses a body churning in their tow. It's the body of some sort of animal but when the carnie glances back there's a groan because they're too far away now for him to identify it. "Awww… I be' i' were a cat… I 'ate them things." Which is rather odd because his woman has turned into some kind of crazy cat lady.

There's a small pause as he thinks and then he shrugs. "I loved 'er from the moment I laid eyes on 'er. Never told 'er though…"

Well, that answers that question. "Ain't that a pretty story," Smedley grumbles, steering the boat to the left and toward Staten Island, though the mass of land is still quite a ways away given their current speed. It's probably not the best sign that he was plastered when he first met Peyton.

"You'd like Pey," he says in at a slightly more conversational volume after a moment. "Damn fine girl. Classy." The sort that would never fall for a guy like Smedley. Not that she's fallen for him. Has she fallen for him. Smedley sighs, shaking his head in an unsuccessful attempt to clear it of such misgivings.

Giving a grimacing glance backward, the speedster isn't too sure if any 'classy' woman would like him. He's not crass, but he is rather rough cut. Though his room mate is fairly fond of him, in a way, it's more of endearing stray dog thing than his manners. "Classy… I see. Lydia, she's… in a realm of 'er own. We both came from the same place, no' England mind, bu' the same place."

Taking a deep breath, Edgar licks one of his canine teeth and feels around for anything stuck in there; donut, whatever. "My Lydia, she's classy too," he says softly, "No' like the way you'd think. When she walks into a room she sorta glides'er floats… Very graceful. She could'a been anythin' bu' she was my assistant fer qui'e a few years."

"In the carnival?" Of course, Smedley is assuming that his employee will answer in the affirmative. Where else would Edgar have an assistant? Still, what he did at the carnival is still vague as far as Smedley knows, but neither does he really care. Like his own history, what Edgar did in the past is of little consequence to who he is now.

"Yeah, the carnival… back when life was perfec'." Edgar's quiet reply is rather thoughtful, one thing he didn't ask the painted lady about was the rest of the family. Regardless, he simply shrugs and concentrates on the water again. "Wha' abou' your woman then? You think you lov'er? Tha' why you's askin' me 'bout Lydia?" The cowboy brought all the mushy talk up, so he can't back away as far as the carnie's concerned.

"Dunno," Smedley says with a sigh. If Edgar had asked him the same question a week ago, he wouldn't have answered so easily. But Peyton's absence has made the heart grow fonder, as they say. "Maybe. I'm scared as shit somethin' bad's gonna happen to her, muckin' about like she is." Scared he'll be forced to forget about her. Scared he won't ever have met her if she steps on too many butterflies.

"Even so, even if she were sittin' safe 'n sound in Manhattan, I'd worry. She's strong, don't you get the wrong idea," and Smedley looks back at Edgar, his eyes narrow and his jaw tight as if the other man would challenge the fact. "But she's young, and she's already had her fair share'uh heartache, and I'll be damned if I'll let'er suffer any more." He sighs, shaking his head as he turns to look to the front again.

"I don't got a clue what that means."

Clearing his throat into his hand, Edgar nods a little. "Uhm.. yeah.. s'wha' men do when they start lovin' a woman, Smed. They worry. They worry tha' they're goin'teh ge' 'ome one day and nothin's goin'teh be there no more. Or in my case, they worry tha' they'll ne'er find'em again." The carnie may be new at the loving a woman game, but he's an old hat at being in love. He knows the feeling inside out and backwards.

"Jus' watch out, man, when they don' give you the signs… or start hidin' things from yeh, tha's when you got teh worry." That's when the carnie gets up and stretches, kicking the folding chair out of the way.

The problem with recognizing loving someone is the desire to want to know you're loved in return. Knowing what little he does about Peyton's history in regard to men - that being that isn't too dissimilar from his own history with women - Smedley isn't too confident that he's any different from the others represented by proverbial notches in her bedpost.

Still, she's confided in him when she hasn't done so with Cardinal, despite (or perhaps because) of her feelings for her business partner. He grunts in acknowledgement, but he doesn't turn to look at Edgar. He's the one hiding stuff from her. "So how'd'ya tell her? Lydia?" Since he clearly must have, even if he hasn't told her when he fell.

A small smile creeps across the carnie's face as Smedley asks his question. "I don' 'ave to, no' in words. She jus' knows 'ow I feel. Y'know?" He probably doesn't, not if he's having this much trouble with the woman of his dreams. "Buuuuuuut" the word is elongated as Edgar turns to pick up the chair and fold it away, nice and secure. "When I saw 'er for the first time in three years… s'like I forgo' the English language, y'know? I only remembered 'er name. S'the only thing I could say. Mebbe tha's all you 'ave to do. Jus' say 'er name an'" The hand gestures that follow really say it all he's either miming shaking a basketball, or choking a very large person.

"Fuck," Smedley says with a heavy sigh that grates along his vocal chords like steel on asphalt. "She'd better not be gone for three fuckin' years." He looks to Edgar with sympathy, then shakes his head. No one should have to go through that, and he can't even imagine what it would be like to do so.

He's imagined what it would be like when he sees her again. It's been a week since he saw her last, but it feels like months. But the more he envisions it, the more he thinks it would be the right time to confess to a feeling like that, even if it would be taking advantage of her in a potentially vulnerable moment. "I ain't much for words like that," he mutters, narrowing his eyes as he angles the boat to better approach the docks at Fresh Kills Harbor.

"Smed, even if she were gone three years… If she's the righ' one, you know an' you'll wai'. Y'jus can' 'elp i', y'can' think abou' anythin'er anyone else." Edgar could point out the strippers from the night before but he just looks over to the other man and raises his eyebrows. As they bump alongside the dock, the carnie turned deckhand grips the mooring rope and tosses it out to the wooden planks. His aim is pretty much perfect as the loop hits the post and anchors the yacht to a creaking stop.

Turning to face Smedley again, the juggler just lifts his shoulders and dips his hands into the pockets of his corduroys. "Smed, if you know fer a fact tha' you love 'er, don' waste any time no' tellin'er. If you don' know fer sure… Go visit my Lydia in the bookstore at Roosevelt Island. She can tell these things, she'll know."

Smedley works the levers to kill the yacht's engine with a bit too much force than is absolutely necessary. When he turns, he lifts a hand to scratch at the stubble that's been growing on his jaw for several days now. "I'll be honest with you, Ed," he says as he makes his way out of the sheltered area that houses the controls and toward the deck, "It's been a damn long time since I've ever had this issue." As in, not since college, and even then, it was the equivalent of half-drunken puppy love.

He bends to unlatch the hatch to the cabin and starts down the ladder so that he can unload the duffel bags and Rubbermaid tote that constitute their cargo. There's a better place to store it than on the yacht, now that they've made port. "Your gal can do that, huh?" he says as he pushes one of the duffel bags up through the hatch.

"If yeh go in there, tell 'er I sent you, so she gives a good readin'. Tell 'er you want a palm readin' an' know your deepest desires." Edgar doesn't feel so badly about revealing his lady love's secret to the smuggler, she's registered and Smedley is possibly his closest friend next to her.

Jumping off the boat and landing on the pier, the carnie stands up straight and straightens out his overcoat. "Trus' me, if you 'ave any doubts in your mind at all, she's the woman to ask abou' 'em. She'll never lie."

The second duffel bag soon joins the first, and the last thing to be pushed up onto the deck is the tote. Then Smedley re-emerges and lifts first one bag and then the other to his shoulders once he's secured the hatch once more, fully intending to pass one off to Edgar. "Might just have t'do that then," he says with a grunt as he hefts the tote and sets it down on the dock, following it with one of the bags and nodding for Edgar to take one. The tote will be best carried between the two of them.

"Never put that much stock in fortune tellin'," he murmurs thoughtfully. "Where can I find 'er?" And no, it wouldn't be an errand he'd run with Edgar.

"It ain' fortune if she's tellin' you sum'then you already know in you're 'eart bu' you're too afraid to realize it. It's a fortune if it ain' come true ye'. You'll find'er at Ichihara Bookstore, in Roosevelt Island." Hefting the bag, Edgar slings it up against his back and turns toward the harbor. He picks up half the tote and waits for Smedley to follow suit, casting a wary glance down the lane. "Y'sure y'don' jus' want me to take these? I can 'ave 'em stowed before you ge' teh the end of the dock."

Smedley looks at Edgar with slightly wide eyes for a moment before he passes the other duffle and gestures with open palms. "Have at it, s'long as's not too heavy. I'll go see if our buyer's in the Pelican." Like he's supposed to be. "Wanna get paid." And then use said pay to buy a new handle of Jack.

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