A Scene at the Market


brynn_icon.gif emily_icon.gif frank_icon.gif hailey_icon.gif lene_icon.gif rue_icon.gif

Scene Title A Scene at the Market
Synopsis This one is just what it says on the tin.
Date August 29, 2018

Red Hook Market

The Red Hook Market resides within the gutted shell of Textile Factory 17, a turn-of-the-century mill building that once served as the headquarters of New York's FRONTLINE civil defense organization. Miraculously, the building survived the civil war largely unscathed except for the total collateral loss of its electronics to the EMP that ravaged Manhattan. When the building was reclaimed by Gilbert Tucker in late 2015, it was remodeled with the intention of turning it into a central community hub for the entirety of the Safe Zone. Today, the multiple above-ground buildings serve as meeting halls, council chambers, offices, and storage rooms for the Safe Zone Cooperative. The basement levels, a labyrinthine maze of brick corridors, vaulted storage spaces, and small nooks, have become the sprawling home of the Red Hook Market, an open-air bazaar with free admittance to every Safe Zone resident. The market features pop-up vendor stalls, a single bar called the Red Hook Tavern, and food vendor stalls.

The sun has set by the time Emily finally steps inside the market, the crowds gratefully having thinned out some. The day shoppers have all gone home, the night crowd settling in to do what they do best: Linger, ponder, and conversate.

For her part, it's the first time she's stopped into the community hub, so she takes her time as she wanders, crutches keeping her steady as she pauses at this stand or that, before finally stopping to look over the wares of a rather energetic woman selling fragrances, incenses, and dried herbs. She nods absently as the would-be seller insistently tries to have her smell this, and that, quickly going from casual browser to awkwardly-stationed captive.

It's been a pretty fruitful day for Hailey. She has bills to tuck into her pocket and food to place into boxes and the last of the stuff she was selling to pack away for another day. The market stall wasn't cheap but she had managed and she turned a tidy profit for her wares. Welded horse scultpures.

Not exactly pretty, but they're at least unusual and artistic (somewhat).

"Fiddy bones, Jim," she crows, pleased with herself as the monkey munches on a piece of fruit. He's not helping, he got a treat. "That's the start to a great present for Gillian and I know exactly what to buy her. I saw it at that creepy guy's antique store."

"No, how about you go fuck yourself!" A raised voice cuts through the community space, coming from the direction of used booksellers. Forcing her way through the crowd, a woman with burgundy colored hair with visible brown roots clacks her way across the floor, a pair of crutches creaking as she moves. "I didn't try and steal! You asshole!" Jolene Chevalier isn't a well-known face, unlike some of her family, but she's a regular sight around the market.

As Lene pivots, she looks at the taller, heavier old man coming through the crowd behind her. "You didn't pay for that book!" The tall owner of one of the used booksellers motions to a dog-eared paperback in Lene's battered purse dangling at her side.

"I fucking paid in advance! Ask your fucking employee!" Lene screams, and it's clear this has been building to a head.

"No. No." The bookseller comes storming over to Lene and yanks the book from her purse, and she pivots to try and lean away. Her right crutch slips out from under her and Lene crashes to the ground. Immediately the bookseller looks wide-eyed, frozen in place holding the book and feeling eyes on him.

The marketplace is a frequent stop for Brynn, though not usually after sunset. Given that she can't hear if people are coming, she dislikes being out in places where it's easier for people to sneak up on her. But she has something she would like to find tonight — she spotted it earlier in the day and didn't have anything to trade for it. Hopefully it's still here. What she did not spot — or even count on — was Hailey having a stall. She pauses, a little unsure whether to approach or not. She doesn't like to bother the other LHK when she's doing her own thing. But the metal artwork definitely catches her eyes, and she's drawn that direction just because… well, it's art. And it's family.

Or at least, she was going to head that way until a fight starts. And gray eyes pivot that direction while she puts her back to Hailey's stall — at least she knows the other girl isn't going to be a threat! Who knows what's going to come from the other direction now!

Loitering in the market, like some sort of listless ghost, Frank is in an unzipped hoodie over his cheap suit, a weird combination that he's stuck with for a few months now. He's smoking a vape, staring at the fight, heart starting to pound for reasons he's yet to consciously register. But, as therapy has taught him, he has to deconstruct his feelings before he impulsively acts on them.

Meaning, the proper response to this is to continue to vape while watching all of this unfold.

Having been standing at a stall selling jewelry, Rue Lancaster lifts her head and turns sharply in the direction of the commotion. She's used to being ready for trouble. Fight and flight are both on speed dial. Kicking into action, she turns on her heel and hurries toward the bookseller just as Jolene falls.

Dropping down into a crouch at the woman's side, Rue braces herself with her left hand on the ground. Her right arm is held to her body in sling. "Are you all right?"

It's not like someone falling in general is a good thing, but boy is Emily glad for the distraction. "Ah, sorry, I think that's — a friend of mine—" is what she manages to say before swinging herself around and walking 'toward' the commotion. She has no idea who the unseen person is, of course. Though, on her way, she notices a certain face the last place she'd expect it … behind one of the stalls. "Hailey?" she says aloud, incredulous, stopping in her tracks unexpectedly. The monkey leaves no doubt in her mind this is the girl she ran into previously, the one with the deathwish and the penchant for needless adventure. "Talk about …" she starts to say, attention drifting to the statues. "A coincidence?"

"Yeah, one sec, watch my stuff?" is Hailey's hurried response to Emily. What she's not worried about is another woman on crutches taking off with a bunch of heavy metal statues. In a flash, Jim is bounding toward the bookseller, shrieking, while his best friend is hot on his heels. "HEY! What's the big idea! You just don't do that to a person!!"

The monkey attaches himself to the man's arm while Hailey pokes a finger into his chest. "Haven't you ever heard of common courtesy? Or.. or.. or… I dunno… Being nice?!" Pulling a couple of dollars from her wad, she throws them at the man's face before turning around. "Go suck on that, jerkface."

Jim doesn't bite the man on his way off, or even claw him. But he's still a bit gassy.

Hailey's blistering invective has the already mortified bookseller looking wide-eyed. "I didn't mean— " He doesn't finish the sentence, doesn't pick up the money hurled at him either. He just stares, awkwardly holding the book he'd taken from Lene and slowly backing up up and trying to extricate himself from this situation and move into the small crowd.

"Yeah! Go fucking walk that back!" Jolene shouts from the floor. "I punched bigger assholes than you into the fucking sky in the war! Call me a— a fucking thief!" Embarrassingly, she's crying while she shouts on the floor. Eyes teared up, crutches scattered, Lene just sits there and exhales a throaty noise of frustration, turning a look to Rue on her approach.

"What the fuck do you— " Lene stops her retort dead, staring at Rue with a look of faint recognition. Dark brows scrunch up, her face flushed red, and she now realizes how many people are around her. "Ohgod."

Frank looks himself over, considering how to handle this. He could be arrested, or killed, but, who really cares? Death could come at any moment, for any reason. His heart could stop right now, unexpectedly.

He walks over to the others, hands in his hoodie pockets, staring at the chaos. "You should all calm down. Arguing over a book when death is creeping around the corner, waiting to grab you at any moment, is a waste of potentially precious life. Any of you could have gotten stabbed because your emotions are flared."

He walks closer to the book stall, staring at it. "Books are a symbolic extension of the flesh. You should respect them and reason with each other."

Oh no. Hailey's throwing herself into the fray with Jim. Oh God. Brynn hopes the monkey doesn't drop any chemwarfare on the unsuspecting crowd. But she moves to back her foster sister, just in case something does go a little sideways. Not close enough to cause Lene further embarrassment, just close enough that if something happens, maybe she can help a little.

The recognition on Lene's face confirms Rue's own suspicion of who it is she's looking at. She offers her a small smile, brief. "I totally got a picture of you punching a motherfucker into the sky once," she tells her. "You are so badass." Not past tense. Not in the least.

She's about to say something else when Frank ambles over and… says all of that. "That's very deep," Rue says in a even voice, keeping the wariness out of her tone and her expression. "May I help you up?" she asks Jolene. She'd like to get some distance between them and the philospher.

Sure, just abandon her with the shop. Emily takes one look at the metal statues and decides they can take care of themselves just fine, heading off after the girl as soon as she takes off. Of course, she's much slower. When she finally sees Lene on the ground, crutches beside her, and everyone just sitting there staring at each other …

"Jesus Christ, is no one going to fucking help her up?" she asks loudly, an annoyed edge to her voice. She assumes, probably wrongly, that anyone in that position would rather be helped up so they can return to blending back in as quickly as possible. Take the shorter hit to their pride, than suffer through everybody staring at them as they put themselves back together on their own.

Hailey is in the middle of shoving the bills back into her pocket after chasing off the bookseller when Emily's outburst causes her to pass a glance at Jolene. "She punched bitches bigger than that dude into the sky during the war," the empath states in an even tone, not commenting on the tears. She does pass a mechanic's handkerchief discretely behind her back to the downed woman, though. Something to save her dignity.

"Now if you're done yelling," she says as she whistles for Jim… who somehow has a dog-eared book in his paws. Probably not the one that Jolene was accused of stealing. He pops into Jolene's purse and emerges sans book. "Jim and I can probably drive her back home."

Rue's admission to Lene about the past, about the photographs, has her back straightening and her weak hand unsteadying in a tremor. She clutches it to her chest, opens her mouth to answer, and there's Emily barging in having heard less than half the interaction between Lene and Rue. Lene's eyes grow wide, the look on her face when she sees Emily is ashen, all the color draining from her cheeks and her breath stolen in a briefly panicked exhalation of breath.

"Epstein?" Jolene rasps, blinking through the brief panic attack. "Holy shit," Lene whispers, forgetting for a moment that Rue, or anyone else, is there. The book tucked secretly into her purse by Jim is a small blessing she'll be thankful for later, when her head is clearer.

Brynn waves briefly to catch Hailey's eye. Is Lene all right? The signs are brief and not ASL — Cant is faster and takes fewer movements. Brynn didn't recognize who was on the ground until things were all but over, and it worries hre to see Lene pale like that. I can close down the stall, if you need to get her out of here.

Rue's eyes shut heavily and she takes a deep breath in through her nose, nostrils flaring. Emily Epstein. Great. Opening her eyes again, she lifts her head and addresses the growing knot around them. "Can we get some space here, please?"

Keeping her voice low and calm, she turns back to Jolene. "Hey." Rue purposefully keeps her breaths deep and even, lifting her chin slightly in the inhale and lowering it with the exhale as a visual cue, hoping to help the other woman subconsciously time her own breathing ot it. "We're in the market. We're all safe here." Hopefully she can help her manage the panic before it spirals too far out of control.

Drive? Emily looks skeptically at Hailey, wondering where the hell she'd get a car. Then her cocksure expression falters. It's Hailey. she thinks to herself. It might be a car. It might be a horse. It might be a combination of both. Best not to think too hard about it.

She scoffs nonetheless, attention turning back to the woman on the ground. She sees the woman going through changes, and means to ask about it. Right at the moment her lips part to, breath already taken in to speak, Jolene beats her to the punch and suddenly it's her that's standing there gobsmacked. She blinks twice, processing.

Oh, *shit*. is what she's thinking, and for once it's plain on her face.

Rue's request, whoever Rue is, doesn't go unheard … just purposely ignored. The apparent war hero sprawled on the ground just said her name after all. She finally gets around to saying something, no longer standing there slackjawed in surprise. "How about some coffee? I'm sure there's a hole in the wall nearby." Literally. One of these nooks was a watering hole, she was sure she'd seen one.

Shaking her head to Brynn, Hailey just points back to the stall and leads the way as the crowd around Jolene gets a little thick. "They want to get coffee," she says to the mute girl, "you want to go?" They weren't specifically invited, but Jim is really his own invitation anywhere, Hailey is just along for the ride. Speaking of…

When Hailey turns her head again, there he is.. with another apple, attempting to take a ride in Rue's purse. "Hey.. uhhh—" she begins, but stops because she doesn't want to pull attention away from the task at hand. Jim will find his way back later, either that or the screams will lead her straight to him. "Nevermind, call me if you need a lift home~!"

Exhaling a steady breath, Lene rests her one good hand on Rue's and gives it a firm squeeze, though her attention never leaves the young woman standing in front of her. Confusion, certainly, as she sees Emily's crutches, but then silence. Lene draws in a slow breath, then uses Rue's hand as a lever to help herself up from the floor. It's an awkward, shaky ascent like a baby deer trying to walk for the first time, knees buckling and legs shaking. All the while she keeps one of her arms cradled to her chest. There's a look to Rue finally, then a quick dip of her eyes to her crutches in a wordless request for assistance in getting them off the floor.

Its right about then that Lene recognizes Hailey Gerken as the woman she is, rather than just another person in the crowd. Her purse, one corner of the paperback poking out of it, still rests at her feet. "I…" is about all Lene can muster when she has the faintest recognition of Brynn, but not in the same way she recognizes Emily.

Sucking in a sharp breath, Lene scrubs the heel of her palm at her eyes and mumbles something that sounds like a near inaudible apology. "Yeah there's— Eleanor's is right around the corner." One of the few coffee places in the Safe Zone that still has non-instant coffee on offer. Again, Lene looks at Emily with a haunted expression that is painted with additional shades of apology.

Shakily on her feet, Lene watches Hailey and Jim, then Brynn, and anxiously searches the crowd for more unexpectedly familiar faces.

Brynn shakes her head slightly. She waves her foster sister off, letting her manage the situation with Jolene. She sends a shy smile at Lene, though, with a wave. She remembers the other woman, though their interactions were not exactly common. But as long as Brian's girl is okay, Brynn's okay too. She signs back quick-like to Hailey, I'll check in tomorrow. If Hailey's in the Marketplace, anyway. She'll duck back to Hailey's stall just to make sure any loose things are secured against theft — people are always nicking things. Not gonna happen to her foster sibling if she can help it.

Once Lene is on her feet, Rue nods her head to the unspoken request and crouches down again to retrieve the crutches. She offers them one at a time and makes sure the other woman is steady before she moves her hand away. Then she grabs the strap of Jolene's purse, picking it up off the ground along with her own. Which feels suspiciously heavy.

Rue drops her bag with a cry of alarm when she spots the monkey sticking out of it. "What the fuck!" Now she's just angry. Rue takes a slow breath in, expression stony but also like she might really love to burst into tears right now, and lets it all out in a huff. Fuck coffee. She'd rather go to the bar.

"Would you like me to carry your bag?" She bends down to retrieve her own once the monkey has vacated it.

Around the corner, right. She starts off in that direction just in time to hear Rue's start, looking back to see the monkey back in a bag somehow, just before it runs off. Her brow furrows sharply as she tries to hold back an involuntary laugh that's highly inappropriate for the moment, gaze settling on Rue. It's not hard to forget about wanting to laugh when she has a wave of swear-inducing realization sweep over her. She manages to keep it mostly to herself with a mere whispered, "You're fucking kidding me right now."

Yeah, another person who's previously called her Epstein without her first introducing herself. And one who she's already had a past 'I swear I'm not following you' experience. It's enough to make her turn away and head straight for the previously-mentioned cafe, hoping that whatever Eleanor is serving, it's strong enough to get rid of the headache that's quickly forming.

When Jim comes running back to her side, he's not empty handed. With a frown, Hailey bends down slightly to allow the monkey to crawl up to her shoulder. Then she reaches up to tug the tube of lipstick from his little paws. "Jim," she says in a very serious tone. "You don't take things from people who can snap you in two pieces." She's pretty sure Rue would snap the monkey in two pieces, so she tucks the lipstick into her pocket for safe keeping. For the time being.

Giving the trio one last look, Hailey then resumes packing up her little stall. "We'll find them later, when they've had their coffee and are all calm from the caffeine. Then we'll give it back." Honest.

Everything about Lene's posture as she takes her crutches screams that she wants to run. There's a deer-in-the-headlights wideness to her eyes, a shaky unsteadiness to her limbs, and as she slips her purse on her shoulder — with a copy of The Wolves of Valhalla poking out of it — it looks as though she's just going to turn away and try ambling off on her own. But instead, she pivots to her right and motions down the aisle toward where a small five-stool wooden bar is wedged between a store that sells ceramics and a vintage jewelry seller. A little wooden sign reads Eleanor's and is wreathed in white Christmas lights.

"It's that way," Lene corrects.

Maybe there's no avoiding this.

This could be when Rue wishes them both well and takes her leave. Instead she adjusts the strap of her purse on her shoulder and sighs. "Come on," she angles her head toward the stall, motioning for them to lead the way. "I'm buying."

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