Be Safe


joseph_icon.gif raquelle_icon.gif

Scene Title Be Safe
Synopsis Joseph warns Raquelle of recent events, and tries to help him anticipate the next obstacle to come.
Date August 4, 2009

North of Little Italy

It's a halfway point, somewhere between Raquelle's salon and Joseph's church, neither of which the latter of the two particularly wanted to go. The northern reach of Little Italy has benefit of both being— not quite recognisable as Little Italy, these days, and cleared of people, for reasons that one can detect by looking further north still. The broken midtown of Manhattan slouches in the background, but otherwise—

Otherwise, it's a nice day. The sun shines brightly, there's the sound of birds calling to each other across the street, and the sidestreet pedestrian cobbled road is only scarcely occupied. The outdoor cafe remains in business despite its unfortunate location, and this where Joseph sits, with his dog curled up at his feet, bright red leash attached to the leg of Joseph's chair. The newspaper is spread out in front of him, pinned down by a hand and his coffee, and he's dressed neatly and casually in jeans and a blue button down shirt, sleeves predictably rolled to his elbows and the top button undone. Not quite paying attention to his surroundings, it will be up to Alicia to lift her head upon being approached, the pastor busily scanning the articles in front of him.

There are darker, rosy patches of faint bruising arching between his jaw, as far as his cheekbone, and another at his temple, enough to be self-conscious about but also little enough to dismiss. With an elbow against the table and his chin in his hand as he reads, curled fingers do something to disguise it.

…it dawned on Raquelle after slamming the phone down during one interrupted sex session that his pastor sounded worried. That there was something going on with his friend, and that is why Raquelle worked on arranging somewhere to meet with 'Jeezus Man'. He comes bearing gifts, duh, a couple of sandwiches in a paper bag and no doubt something else in the messenger bag resting against his thigh.

"Well now, is that a bear - why no, it is just the prettiest bigassed dog I ever did see…" Raquelle greets the dog with a blown kiss and a graceful 'flop' into a chair at the table, crossing his legs. He pauses in slipping a compact from his bag to check his make-up because he just has to stare at Joseph silently, lips parted and eyeliner rimmed eyes a bit wide.

He wears a dark purple knit cap, black t-shirt and dark jeans, black and purple docs on his feet and a leather jacket, casually dressed but it matters very little because he's busy staring and blinking slowly.

Alicia, as predicted, lifts her head from her paws to look up at Raquelle, ears twitching in interest before giving a creaky yawn and rolling onto her side to bask in the sun, overhot beneath the black curls of her fur. Joseph, meanwhile, glances up with a quick smile of greeting, before he's finishing off the last few sentences of whatever it was he was reading, moving his coffee so as to fold up the paper with a dry crinkling.

"Afternoon," he says, in a chirpy effort to ignore the staring. Breaks down after a second. "Yeah, I've had an interestin' week." The newspaper is squirreled away into his own bag, which lies protected between table and dog. "Sorry about callin' before, I— get the feelin' it was a bad time," Joseph says, delicately, folding his arms back on the table, one hand twisting his wedding ring around in a fidget.

Raquelle just blinks and sets the bag down on the table, pushing it towards Joseph with a tilt of his head. "Interesting? No shit…" He's a bit surprised he distractedly apologizes for his language after the fact. "Sorry just I, uh, if you had - bad time? No not really I just, and the handcuff mumbling was just…"

He can only trail off again and point towards the bag. "Please eat a bit and jesus what the badword happened to you man?!"

A hand goes up, and its first mission was to wave away further talk of what he did or did not interrupt, but this is equally overrun by the second mission, wherein he flaps just subtly with a, "Would you keep it down?" spoken in mild tones. "I'm fine, just— this is why I called instead've…" Mutter. Joseph lets out a sigh, but otherwise, obediently, reaches towards the paperbag, and it won't be the first time in the past few days he's been insistently fed. A sandwich is extracted, inspected, and a murmur of 'thanks' given as he leans back into the black metal cafe chair.

"I was askin' if you'd had any— if anyone had hassled you, or if anyone's approached you or your girls, actin' sorta weird? I wanted to check if you were okay - I ran into some trouble last week, and I'll tell you about it, but— you first."

Joseph's hand goes out to his half-finished coffee, fingers spidering over the rim. Overtired if not necessarily underfed, he watches Raquelle carefully, study and concern in equal measures in his eyes.

Keep it down? Keep it down? Raquelle leans across the table practically hissing in his concern. "You should've done more than called man, I would've been over in a flash. You /know/ that." He insists.

The question though just makes him frown a bit, slumping down in his chair and sighing as he quickly shakes his head. "Nah, nothing um…weird or anything. Out of the norm, we are all okay…unlike some of our close and holier than we are friends who look horrible."

He scratches his head. "Do you want me to…I mean I could cover stuff up with some cover up if you needed I…god…"

"I'm— " Defense rises and promptly falls, Joseph just briskly shaking his head, and takes a bite of the sandwich, as if to satisfy the other man's concern, a frown pulling at the corner of his mouth at that particular observation. "No," he says, once the bite is down. "No, that's fine. You shoulda seen what I looked like when I fell off the roof of the town hall back home several years back - this is nothin'."

The sandwich is set back down on the paperbag, Joseph dusting his hands of breadcrumbs before his fingers link back together, shoulders rising and falling with a sigh. "Just focus for a minute - I'm fine, I had a couple of people help me out. You know, ones who aren't fathers. The point is that— some guy came after me, an anti-Evolved type, who wanted to make a point. He got a few of my contacts from my phone, and he's been hassling a few people ever since. I just— if anythin' happens, I want you to tell me right away.

"And yes," Joseph feels moved to add, "the police are involved already." The half-truth is delivered like the whole thing, before he takes a draining sip of coffee.

Raquelle pinches the bridge of his nose and takes a deep breath. "If you are going to be back at church on Sunday, then I'll come over early to see to your hair and your face so your flock doesn't fly into a worried frenzy." It really isn't a question as he listens and closes his eyes. "Is my number in your phone?" He asks almost unnecessarily.

"Right, any more info you got for me then? To keep me and my girls safe?" The mention of police drags his mind to thoughts most impure before he drags his brain back to the more serious matter. "Are /you/ staying somewhere that's keeping YOU safe?"

Joseph's nose wrinkles at this idea, but for now, has enough insight not to argue it, inclined to see how it heals before starting a fight over whether or not he wants to go near makeup. Instead, the important matter, the one not involving cover up cosmetics and his face within the same location, is attended to. "Yeah, I have your number," he states, apologetically. "If it's at all convenient— if you want I could get you a new number or somethin', if you want to be careful. I don't have any more of your details, though, I guess that's it…"

A pause, and then, he offers out a hand. Sure, this might look a little strange, discretely holding hands with an eye-liner wearing younger male in such a secluded location, but Joseph doesn't seem to think that far ahead. "Let me give you a vision. So you'll see 'im coming, maybe. I mean— " Okay, yeah, he shrugs a little along with; "It's no guarantee but it's somethin'."

The hairdresser shakes his head quickly. "Nah, too much of a headache to get it changed just yet. I'll just keep an eye out." Possibly beg Bolivar to teach him how to shoot. With a gun. Just not naked. Raquelle clears his throat and quirks an eyebrow at the offered hand.

It takes him a couple of minutes though before he sighs and reaches out to take the hand. "I only wish I had something that could help you man, I mean I'm pretty good in the Salon but bah, I'm so so so very sorry, I really am."

Joseph's hand clasps gently around Raquelle's, the other hand coming to join it, and he offers his customary warm smile across at him. "Trust me, you're helpin' me sleep better by bein' safe," he promises. "Now, close your eyes." And as Raquelle's eyelids come to seal off the visual, waking world, a new one opens up in front of him.

Or, rather, a very familiar one. The living room of Raquelle's own home is, perhaps, blessedly familiar, spotlessly clean and lit up in warm, golden tones of an encroaching sunset shimmering in through the window. From where he's situated, he can see his girls on the sofa, one curled up in the arm of the couch, the other snuggled up against her sister, their hair carefully brushed and gleaming like spiderweb-fine strands of gold and caramel. They seem beyond perfect, well groomed and clean and perfectly still.

Raquelle finds himself moving closer in dreamlike motions towards them, and he notices, now, that rather than asleep, their eyes are wide open, glassy, staring and sightless. The thought of death is natural, an easy conclusion, but it doesn't seem to fit. As Raquelle observes this sight, he'll start to see it - the way their skin has wood grain patterns, finely set into the peach of their skin, and the screws and joints of each limb, in the way wooden puppets might have.

His gaze swoops even further down, only to note that his own legs don't appear as they should - as if they were made of lacquered wood, painted black, pinched at the knees where joints connect. There's the sound of clattering as Raquelle abruptly falls to the ground, rolls, head turned from the sofa and arm outstretched. He can see the curls of his fingers, each individual piece and joint connected with brass hinges.

The creak of the ground beneath the carpet, foot steps approaching. Though he can no longer move, and so therefore cannot lift his head to see, he can see the approach of bone white feet, feminine, slim ankles and long shins. She leaves behind foot prints as she approaches. Foot prints of white powder.

This is never the most pleasant experience and by the end…Raquelle just releases Joseph's hands with a soft gasp, eyes widening and expression grim. He swallows hard and tears up a bit before swallowing and nodding slowly. "Ah, r-right then…" He trails off and looks down before carefully getting to his feet. "I-I'm glad that you are mostly alright, call me when you get home okay? And I um, everything will be okay…" He trails off and nods. "Thanks man, the girls send their love."

"I'm— I'm stayin' with a friend for a little while, I'll let you know," Joseph says, somewhat bewildered, before offering Raquelle a helpless smile. "Well I'll let you get going— " He's standing as well, and as if on automatic, Alicia climbs to all four feet expectantly. "You okay?" he asks, as he sets about untangling the leash.

Raquelle rubs his hands against his jeans and shifts weight from foot to foot before ducking his head almost sheepishly and nodding. "Yeah, yeah I'll be okay…gotta pick BJ up from her friend's house." He flashes a smile and blows a kiss. "No more getting hurt okay, BJ wants to recruit you into her 'Why Daddy Should Buy Us A Dog' club." A wry grin and he's shoving his hands into his pockets, smile faltering as he turns to start heading off. "B-be safe okay man? Be safe…"

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