peyton_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title Assurances
Synopsis Peyton and Wes share facts and presumptions about the safety of the Ferrymen and those they have most recently helped.
Date November 21, 2010

Redbird Security - Wes Smedley's Apartment

The dogs out for a walk with Wes, Peyton stands at the sink doing the dishes. Once upon a time, living in an apartment in this end of town and doing such a domestic and plebian task would have seemed beneath her, but today, the former socialite from the Upper West Side finds the mindless task relaxing. The warm water feels good on chilly hands, the smell of orange-scented soap is refreshing.

She lets her gaze wander from the task at hand to someone else's surroundings, checking in on the people she promised she'd keep an eye out for. Suddenly she gasps, the dish she's washing slipping and hitting the divider that separates the two parts of the sink, the clatter unheard for a moment.

Unfortunately, the cut on her palm can be felt, and she winces, blinking back to her own world, glancing down at the palm slashed by the jagged bit of ceramic.

Still, she can't help but smile — one of "her" people is no longer imprisoned, but now with the rest of the evacuees on what Peyton calls "that island with the castle."

Monica is safe.

It's been only a little strange for Wes, in contrast, to come home to a woman in his place - the same woman - for the last week or so. It was different when they were shifting from one apartment to the other, but the knowledge that Peyton could be in any apartment in the building - including a few empty ones - and yet has chosen to be in his is something that warms Wes to his core. It's a feeling he thought he'd never have, but one he welcomes fully.

But even with that small, wondrous thing, all is far from well with the world.

The door closing and canine nails on wood and then tile signal is return from the nearby Battery Park, and the clock on the stove reads ten minutes to nine. He's cut it close. The dogs barrel into the kitchen to sniff Peyton, greeting her with their usual fervor before they run off into the living room to fight over one of Von's toys. Wes isn't too far behind them, but rather than simply sniff and snort at Peyton, he curls his arms around her waist, slipping newly un-gloved and quite cold hands beneath her shirt to her belly, and leans to kiss her neck, just below he jawline.

That's when he sees the blood in the water and the cut on her hand.

"Jesus, Pey," he breathes, unwinding himself and moving to take her wrist. "The hell happened?"

She leans her head against his when he comes up behind her, reaching for a towel with her free hand when he grabs her wrist. She's happy, though, and she grins as she presses a kiss into his cheek. She wraps the dish towel around her hand to staunch the bleeding, wincing as rough fabric touches split flesh.

"I'm okay," Peyton says quietly, even as the red blooms through the pale yellow of the towel. "It's nothing. Sorry to scare you. Monica's on Pollepel — they must have freed her somehow." Her words are tinged with relief, her face suddenly somehow less tired, less exhausted then it was just an hour before.

Wes's knowledge of Monica is limited to a name and a singular meeting, during which he hadn't known it. "S'good," he murmurs, focused more on Peyton's injury than her news. "Good folk there," he adds, forgetting that he has yet to inform Peyton that said island with a castle is where his newest business contacts have settled.

He reaches above Peyton's head to dig through the cabinets, looking for the kitchen first aid kit. When he finds it, the metal case clatters against the counter. Wes flips it open and digs out a pad and roll of gauze - because if it's already seeping through the towel, it might be deeper than Peyton thinks. "Hold it up," he instructs as he arranges the necessary tools on the lid of the kit. "Above your head."

"Yeah, they are. At least those I saw there, anyway," Peyton agrees, lifting her hand above her head and making a face. "I'm not going to bleed to death. It's just a surface wound — see?" she wiggles her fingers, to show no tendons have been sliced, simply the skin of the uncalloused hand.

She knows that he won't be happy unless he takes care of her, though, so she moves to slide into one of the kitchen table chairs. "Sorry to break one of your plates," she adds. "I'll steal one from someone else's apartment to complete your set."

Wes answers her with a smirk, and meets her at the table with a tube of antiseptic and a large bandage, leaving the gauze behind. "Don't worry about it," he says with a shake of his head as he uncaps the tube and squirts a line of the gel along the line of Peyton's cut. "If I ever have more'n ten people in this place eatin' all at the same time, they're usin' paper plates. I sure's hell ain't doin' those dishes, and knowin' your track record, you won't be either."

With the bandage in place, Wes leans back, letting one arm rest on the table, his fingers drumming the surface. "Speakin' 'uh Pollepel…some gal down in Brooklyn wanted t'buy information on the Ferry. Wanted t'know where they were. What they needed. Supposed t'text if I find anythin' out."

Of course, Wes knows plenty, but he's not about to spill those beans if it means either losing business or putting them in danger. "What'cha figure it's about?"

Peyton winces a little at the sting of antiseptic on her cut flesh, and once the bandage is in place, her fingers curl over it, pressing against it to add more pressure to the cut.

"You figured out my secret. I broke the plate to keep from having to do dishes ever again," she says playfully, tipping her head to kiss him lightly in thanks for the first aid.

Her good mood fades as he mentions someone trying to buy information. "You aren't going to do that, right?" she says suddenly, sitting up straighter and looking alarmed. "Who was it? Did she give a name? What's the phone number?" Maybe they can figure out who it is — though surely it's a throwaway phone.

His eyes narrow at the accusation, and Wes curls his own fingers on the table into his palm before flexing his wrist. "No," he says pointedly. "They're good people. Just tryin' t'stay outta the way. I mean, hell, isn't that what the government wants anyway? For 'em to shut themselves off like that?" It's what's effectively happened with Roosevelt, but for all Peyton knows, Wes might have gotten the radio on his boat stuck on talking heads again.

"Said'er name was Sara, but…hell, she was stalkin' my damn boat." He sighs, then lifts his hand to rub at his brow, turning his face away from Peyton. It's his own fault, for using the same pier more than once over the course of a few days. "Number's in my coat," he says after a moment, the hand on his thigh shifting to vaguely point in the direction of the hall closet.

"I'm sorry," Peyton whispers apologetically, running her non-bandaged hand through her hair, the little bit of relieved tension that came with seeing Monica on Pollepel all back, visible in the narrowing of her eyes, in the stiffness of her shoulders.

"When do you go back to Pollepel? You should tell Eileen — but I wonder… if you arrange a meeting with this 'Sara,' at a certain time, I could see through your eyes, find out who it is — if it's anyone I know, I doubt it, but I can keep an eye on her, find out who she's working with, maybe?" She picks at the bandage on her hand, not looking at him, ashamed for having doubted him.

Wes is silent for a few moments more before he drops his hand in search of Peyton's, intent on taking it and giving it a gentle squeeze. "I was gonna try t'get a'hold'uh her special ops people. No need'tuh worry the big boss when she's got people t'take care'uh this sort of thing, right?" And he doesn't want to lose the business, or Eileen's trust.

"Your plan ain't bad though. Gotta get a story straight, first. Somethin' t'tell 'em. And…well, if she's been watchin' me, it's gotta be damned good, or she'll know what's up." He sighs again, the dark circles under his eyes and the hollowness in his cheeks making him look thin and weary. "Thinkin' I'm gonna leave Jenny here, 'n get myself a truck for next month's haul. Run it up north and then hop across thatta way. Draw less attention."

"Just be safe," she says, looking up, her fingers interlacing with his when he takes her hand. "It's great you're helping them, and I want to help however I can, too, but don't … don't get caught."

She tugs his hand as she stands up, pulling him toward the living room. "Think of something and let me know, and we can try that, if you want. If it's too risky, just … pass off the number and let someone else deal with it." It's not the most compassionate of advice, nor the most courageous, but Peyton hasn't had very many selfish moments lately. "Anyway, let's not worry about it tonight."

"Yes ma'am," Wes says with a soft chuckle once they're in the living room. The dogs have, by now, stopped their tussle and lie in a snoozing heap at one end of the couch. With Von's chin on Caron's back, it's a sight difficult to look at without smiling. Wes curls his arms around Peyton again, resting his own chin on her head momentarily before moving to press his face against her temple. "I missed you," he murmurs, closing his eyes.

Not that he really went anywhere, but the last week or so has been trying.

Taking up the "human" end of the couch, Peyton sits, curling up in the corner and pulling Wes down to snuggle with for a few hours before heading to bed. She gives him a smile and hands him the remote — a little apology gesture, perhaps, for accusing him of selling out to Sara, whoever that is.

"No wrestling, no Nascar, no boxing, no news. Otherwise, let's watch something mindless and not think about anything important for a while," she says, kissing his cheek.

It's easy enough to say — harder to do. But they can make a good attempt.

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