Awfully Cutthroat and a Little Fey


eileen_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Awfully Cutthroat and a Little Fey
Synopsis Together, these descriptors could probably be used to describe either character in this scene. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Date February 7, 2010


If there was any sense that maybe Logan had gone completely insane, the notion has been since banished. Insane in the way that his dreams have become some sort of terrible second life of heroism, and believing it to be real upon waking — but there are other people, too, flesh and blood, who can say they've been doing the same thing. It's enough to make someone want to stay awake forever, which doesn't account for the sleeping pills he's kept stashed next to his bedside since, oh, a month ago.

It's twilight, which means that music is thrumming up through the ground. Secluded in his office, feet kicked up onto the corner of it, he steeples his fingers together, chin tucked upon them as he considers the image of Marilyn Monroe preserved in frozen time behind glass, mounted on the wall.

Ten seconds later, he's easing it down, around the time the door is being knocked upon. Eileen Ruskin wants to see him, and the security man kind of just glances at the framed poster clasped in the Brit's hands. "It came with the office. Just send her up."

The door is partially opened for Eileen by the time she gets there. Logan has his back to it, finally finding a hiding spot for the glossy image, its cardboardish back also turned to the room as he eases it behind a metal filing cabinet, distracted to the point of forgetting the all important keeping up of appearances as he tries to nudge it out from the wall enough to fit. He's been getting a lot of sleep lately, and it's very tiring.

Eileen's eyes are bright, alert and outlined in tapering kohl, giving her face a distinctly feline quality — sans whiskers. Unlike the last time she met with Logan here at Burlesque, she appears more at ease and is dressed in clothes designed to flatter her shape rather than convey a mood appropriate for a wake. The flower she wears in her hair this evening is a white chrysanthemum with dew on its petals, suggesting that she walked here rather than taking a cab, and although her clothes are damp they are not so wet that they cling to her frame in a tawdry fashion. Instead, it amplifies the smell of lavender soaps, her perfume and the ever-present aroma of stale cigarette smoke infused with her skin and hair.

Beneath her pea coat, a red dress paired with a pair of black nylon stockings ends just above the knee and compliments the carmine-coloured heels she wears on her feet to give her a few extra inches of height. Still, at five foot ten, Logan continues to tower over her, though perhaps not as thoroughly as some of the other company she keeps.

Either she takes more pride in her appearance than she did when she was dying a slow death at the hands of Julian Kuhr's ability, or she had some other reason for putting on lipstick when she left her apartment this morning. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything."

Thud. That would be the filing cabinet rocking back into place once released, only an inch of the frame showing. Logan largely ignores her as he makes sure the furniture is set right, before dusting off his hands from where dust smears over his palms and beneath his nails. The sleeves of his black button down are rolled up to his elbows, showing off an expensive watch on one wrist and the not so often exposed curve of muscle beneath pale skin, enough to suggest more strength than his lankyish form normally suggests.

The shirt is tucked into navy slacks, ones that likely match the suit jacket hung up in the corner beside his winter coat. His collar is free of a tie, opened enough to show off a sliver of white undershirt, and a glimmer of silver chain from a necklace that disappears beneath the fabric. "You're back," is his astute observation once he finally pays her attention, her question apparently unnoticed, though her appearance doesn't, a look up and down given as he compares this version of Eileen to the pixie clinic assistant back on Staten Island who had tended to a grazed knee.

She looks older, and not because of her style of dress or the make-up she's used to accentuate her face's more appealing features. It has something to do with the way she holds herself and the underlying sense of confidence her posture seems to suggest — there is no uncertainty about her movements or the purposefulness of her step, slow but precise. Eileen's eyes catch briefly on the chain at his neck without getting tangled. When her gaze settles, it's on his face, waiting for Logan to finish his examination of her with all the patience of a seasoned birdwatcher.

Which, by the way, she is. "I suppose I ought to get straight to the point," she says. "I'd like a job."

Teo, or Ghost, had stated it in more direct terms: I need a job. This is only marginally less surprising. Arms folding over his narrow chest, Logan forgets all about the pin-up girl stashed behind the solid structure of dreary metal, and saunters— no doubt about the verb in question— around his desk. Where he comes to rest is perched against it, leaving only space between them. Suspicion hardens like steel beneath natural amusement and makes him hesitate.

Then; "I don't know, Ruskin, you're a little fey to be kicking out trouble-making patrons, now aren't you?"

"Which is why I'd be taking off my clothes," says Eileen, nice as you please. Her tone is deceptively cool; if it weren't for her choice of words, she could easily be talking about the weather. "I've taken twelve years of ballet and study concert dance at the University of Columbia. Moreover, I know my own body — while I might not turn heads, I'm attractive enough to command attention as long as there's liquor involved and music's playing."

His suspicion is met with steely resolve and a faint tip of her chin, jaw set hard. "One or two nights a week, strictly off the books — I keep the tips and you're absolved from paying me a regular wage."

The hardness in her voice and the way she carries herself could easily put Logan back into the mind that maybe she got her memories back somewhere along the way, different to the warmer, if very polite creature in black he'd circled around some several days ago. But then, she wouldn't be offering to be a stripper, either, so maybe that's just Eileen Ruskin. He doesn't bat an eye when he simply adds, "But that doesn't account for stage rental, which is normally sliced out of your wages. Tips can cover it."

Business-like words don't quite account for his own feline stare focused on her, which he doesn't require kohl to pull off, predatory and quizzical at the same time, fingers dancing against the crook of his elbow. As professional as his words might be, if callous, it serves as well as an experimental jab as it does business.

"Stage rental," Eileen repeats, and she doesn't sound particularly enthused. "That's awfully cutthroat of you, John." There's a pause in which the thought process happening behind her eyes makes a small adjustment — just a fraction, really — to account for the change before she continues forward. Her course has not wavered.

"My bank accounts are being watched by a benefactor with access to almost every other aspect of my life," she says. "Because he has my best interests neither in mind nor at heart, I've found myself in a very difficult situation both emotionally and financially. I came to you because I need a source of income that can't be traced, money I can put away where he can't find it — money he doesn't know that I have. I can't afford to go any lower than seventy-five percent of whatever I might receive."

"Some clubs don't even pay wages," Logan states, his voice neutral, casually dismissing the notion that he's being in any way mean. Unsympathetic, maybe, but more accurately, intrigued. After a hesitation, a smile spreads across his features, almost boyish despite the encroaching line of thirty he's pushing towards, and he loosens his arms from their folded state to brace his palms to the edge of the table. "We'll skip the stage rental, provided you don't tell the girls. Of course, wouldn't it just be easier to have one of your lads come along and eliminate the problem? Last I heard, you were fucking a serial killer."

The old burn mark on the side of her neck, the glossy white scar tissue bruised pink on her arms, between her ribs and across the flat of her belly where Nwabueze's knife split into her. Her too narrow shoulders, small bust and slim arms. All the niggling imperfections that the serial killer seemed not to mind. These would be fair game. Eileen set foot in Logan's office expecting to be torn into ribbons and scrutinized piece by piece by an overly critical eye — she never anticipated that her potential employer might, however shrewdly, attack the one part of her without a physical presence.

It's easier for her to defend her appearance than it is her emotions or the feelings that tie her to other people, especially when they are as intense as what she feels for the man to which Logan is referring. But if there's something she and "Gabe" (as Teodoro so lovingly calls him) have in common in this instance, it's pride. Eileen struggles to maintain an impartial mask and has better success fighting off the sudden tightness around her mouth than she does the abrupt contraction of her throat. He doesn't have to see her distress to recognize it — he can hear it. "Or I was fantasizing about one," she corrects him brusquely. "This isn't something I can make go away."

Fair enough. Logan knows just as well about things that don't go away as well as he does things that do, and now his gaze swoops over her. Unlike other pale eyed unsavory gentlemen in town, Logan can't stare through her dress and see what would be for window-sale, but he can still analyse hints of curves — muscle, too, because no one ever said that dancing was easy. He meets her eyes after a moment, and asks, simply, "When do you want to start?"

It should probably take more convincing, on Eileen's part. Of course, he could just want her up there. Scars and all.

"Tomorrow." It's a step down from immediately, which sounds trite in Eileen's head and might come out facetiously if she spoke it aloud. She doesn't know whether she should bring her own costume or rely on what's hanging on the racks in the dressing room — this, like so much else, is something she expects him to clarify in the event her answer satisfies him. There's a lot riding on Logan's approval.

More than Eileen is willing to admit, and she's divulged more than she's comfortable with sharing already.

And with that, Logan takes his weight off the desk, moving back around it, as if a return to his place at the office chair summons into being this new dynamic of employer and employee. He'd made this offer once before. This wasn't exactly what he had in mind. The chair shuffles against the ground, creaks with his weight once he eases down into it, a knee coming to brace against the edge of the desk as he raises up his hands in a shrugging sort of gesture.

"Then I suppose I'll see you tomorrow," he says, voice affected, before more neutrally adding, hands lowered again, "If you need anything, dressing room's the first to the left. On the off-chance anything fits you. If you can pretend to be nice, the girls might even help you."

Eileen had been able to degenerate flesh with a touch the last time he made this offer; if she could remember the circumstances surrounding that particular conversation, she would rest assured he no longer desires her in such a capacity. The ability she was born with can be destructive on the rare occasions she chooses to wield it that way, but inherently it is not. Inherently—

Inherently, it's useful for other things, as Kazimir Volken will surely tell you, which is all the more of a reason not bring it up. She's turning now, angling her slim body toward the door with a farewell tip of her chin cresting the topmost curve of her shoulder. "I won't have to pretend."

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