Bleak Friday


anna_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif gavyn_icon.gif

Scene Title Bleak Friday
Synopsis Black Friday has a darker side when Anna calls Gavyn for help.
Date Nov 26, 2010

Brooklyn Public Library

The central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library was designed to resemble an open book, two wings stretching out along the bordering streets, with the main entrance located at their hinge. Inside is the heart of one of the nation's largest public library systems; the Central Library alone contains over 1.5 million books, magazines, and other materials. It also contains the Brooklyn Collection, an assortment of references and ephemera that chronicle the history of the borough, and a Multilingual Center for non-English speakers and linguistic scholars. A cafe on the first floor sells coffee and snacks, while a restaurant on the third floor (open weekdays only) sells cafeteria-style meals. Internet access is freely available throughout the building.

Black Friday means shopping for most. But not for Anna, not only does she not have the spare cash to shop… she's also looking for someone to talk to. So, it is around noon, lunchtime, when the girl is standing next to a table, waiting for someone to show up… that someone would be Gavyn. The teenager called her over with a simple request… she wished to talk.

The location is quieter than usual… must be all those people doing their shopping instead of going to the library today. There's still some folks around, so it's not just Anna and the place's employees. Anna herself doesn't look to be in the best of moods.

Accepting the call was one thing, getting there was quite another. The day has been insanely busy, giving a whole new meaning to calling it Black Friday. But Gavyn managed to steal some time to meet with Anna. She needed to eat anyway, it's the perfect two birds with one stone.

Gavyn, fresh from work but still very much on the clock, quickly paces into the cafe. She looks far more tired than usual, and chances are it isn't from those pre-dawn deals the stores were offering. Her eyes, covered in the usual sunglasses, scan over the sparse crowd as she heads into the line to grab some food. She gives Anna a wave, watching only long enough to see that the girl spots her, then moves into the line to grab a sandwich, chocolate milk, and fruit cup.

The line is short today, so it shouldn't take Gavyn a long time to get her food and drink. Anna herself waves back from her position next to a table. She patiently waits for Gavyn to come over, and when the older woman does, Anna smiles faintly. "Hey Gavyn." The teen greets, "Thanks for coming."

Despite Gavyn's arrival, Anna doesn't sit down. She remains standing next to the table, "I hope the timing is not inconvenient…?" The girl asks, smiling faintly still.

It's a small blessing that the line isn't long. The quick meal is collected and paid for, then Gavyn makes her way to the table Anna's still standing beside. "No problem," she answers, placing her food on the table.

"Don't worry about the timing, I need to eat anyway." Gavyn looks at Anna for a moment, then reaches into a pocket to check her cell phone. "What's up," she asks, both sitting and looking over the display, "everything alright?"

Anna still doesn't sit down, "I'm just not sure…" The girl sighs, but forces a smile soon after. "I … well…" Another sigh, "It's difficult…" She eventually says, and that's all she has to say for now.

Gavyn's cell phone is returned to her pocket, one hand starting to unwrap the sandwich. She tilts her head and looks up at the girl as she peels off the plastic wrap and works half the sandwich free. It's ham this time, turkey was yesterday.

"What's going on," Gavyn asks again, studying the teen from behind shaded lenses. Concern works its way into the tiredness, only increasing her alertness.

Silence from Anna before she eventually speaks up again, "I… have come to the realization that, well… some things might not be as normal as I thought they were…" A sigh, and after that the girl grows - yet again - silent. Not to mention she hasn't seated herself yet.

That would be cause for concern. But Gavyn herself remains calm. She takes an overly casual bite from her sandwich, still studying the girl. "Care to elaborate," she asks carefully, after finishing the first bite and before beginning the second. There's another way she could find out what Anna's talking about, but besides still being in public she'd rather hear it from the girl without using her ability.

"I… I'm not sure I should.." Anna admits, looking a little shifty now… "Sorry." The girl goes to sit down finally, but immediately jumps up again, and a hand moves to her behind protectively. She sighs and looks down, "I.. shouldn't have called you over, sorry…"

"No. You should have called," Gavyn states firmly. She keeps an eye on Anna while collecting her lunch and stuffing into pockets. She'll come back to it later, this seems more pressing. "What's going on, Anna?"

"Nothing.." Anna tries, but considering what's been said before, it's not very convincing… not very convincing at all. "Really, I'm wasting your time, sorry about that…" She sighs, and looks towards the cafe's exit, "I guess I'll just … go now, sorry for inconveniencing you."

Gavyn pushes away from the table and steps to intercept the teen, digging out her cell phone again. "No, Anna. Seriously, I told you to call if you needed something." She holds a hand up to keep the girl in place, brows knitting together.

"I have a friend," Gavyn explains. "I told her about you, and she wants to help, too." The phone is held up, the screen still blank. "Let us help you, okay?"

Carefully… Anna asks, "Who is this friend..?" She doesn't adress the other matters, not yet anyway. "But I should be going, really…" A sigh, "Maybe another time..?"

"Her name's Liz," Gavyn answers. "She's really nice. You'd like her." Her thumb works through the contacts until the name comes up, then presses the call button. "Just hang out, okay? Humor me so I don't worry so much."

Gavyn sticks the phone to her ear and waits, hoping Liz isn't caught up elsewhere. She offers Anna a small grin and a nod, bidding her to continue to wait just a little longer.

Anna sighs, and nods, "I guess…" The teen responds… putting one hand to lean on the table as she starts the waiting. "What's this Liz like… beyond really nice…?" A forced smile, and another glance to the exit, as though she was considering making a runner for it…

The husky voice on the far end of Gavyn's phone connection is somewhat in-and-out with laryngitis. "Harrison. Go," Elisabeth says in a businesslike tone.

Gavyn manages to fish out that chocolate milk and offer it to Anna. "She's helpful, got a sense—" She pauses when a voice comes through. Still keeping an eye on the girl, she takes a couple of steps away, voice lowering a touch as she responds. "It's Mitchell. Think I need some help; that friend I told you about called me."

Anna accepts the chocolate and starts to take a few sips, "Thanks…" The teen mutters, looking over at Gavyn with a mixture of fear and anxiety. She doesn't seem all that happy, not that she was happy to start with, though…

There's a bit of a pause on the other end of the line and Elisabeth carefully says, "All right. What kind of help am I bringing?" IE, does she need people in armor, or is Gavyn just asking for her presence, or does she just want advice on the phone?

On her end, though, Liz is already walking toward operations to get a trace on where the call's coming from even as she waits for the answer.

Gavyn and Anna are at the library. Depending on how precice the locator is, Elisabeth should be able to find them in the cafe. Or at least on the level that houses the cafe.

"Just yourself," Gavyn answers carefully. It's easy to put up a calm front when face to face with the girl, but over the phone a bit of worry comes through. "Might need to give her a ride home though."

Easily done. "I'm on my way," Elisabeth replies immediately. "Text me if anything changes." She glances at the screen and says, "I'll be there shortly. Meet you in the cafe." She's not sure that's where they are, but it would make the most sense. And she hangs up the phone and heads out of the base.

Gavyn nods and tucks her phone away again. "Good news," she says as she returns to the table. "Liz is taking lunch, too. She's on her way." Her grin returns, an attempt to lighten the mood and hopefully keep the kid hanging around longer. "—How's your job been going?"

"Fine… I guess… had a busy morning." Anna answers the question, "Black Friday, you know..?" A smile as the girl takes a few more sips from the chocolate, "My shift is over now, so I'm okay… how've you been since we last met..?"

Gavyn doesn't seem so willing to sit this time, and so lingers over the table much like the teen. "Yeah, retail wouldn't be my first choice for work today," she agrees. A small frown creases her brow, though. Anna doesn't seem 'okay'. "I've been keeping busy, working and all."

"Paperwork, or … action?" Anna asks, her smile somewhat broadening.. "And yeah, well… I have to make my money somewhere, don't I..? After all… my debt isn't going to repay itself…."

"Business as usual," Gavyn says in response to the first question. It's not that she's hiding what she does, just some things she finds aren't easy to talk about. She does allow for a grin, however. "Sounds like you're learning the American dream early."

Anna raises an eyebrow at that last comment, "What's that supposed to mean…?" She asks, a little shifty. "Anyway… how long do you think it'll take for this Liz to arrive here?"

Speaking of the devil… the blonde is just stepping into the cafe as the question is asked, blue eyes skimming the crowd seeking Gavyn. She walks through, heading for their table.

"She should be here soon," Gavyn says as she glances toward the cafe entryway. She notes Liz's arrival with a quick wash of relief and turns back to Anna with a grin. "She's here now."

Anna follows Gavyn's gaze, and smiles a little nervously. Once again, she seems to be considering bee-lining for the exit, but… she doesn't. Instead, she takes a few more sips from the chocolate milk in her left hand. "I think I see her…" Anna says, glancing at the only person to have entered the cafe in the past ten minutes.

Elisabeth's movements are easy, casual. She slips into the seat nearest Gavyn. "Hey there, girls," she says in that husky half-voice of laryngitis. Sounds like the head cold from hell. "How's things?"

"Hey, Liz," Gavyn replies with a nod. She motions toward the teen. "This is Anna, that friend I was telling you about." Then, to Anna, "This is Liz, my friend also."

Anna extends her hand to Elisabeth, "Hey Liz, nice to meet you." Those words sound formulaic, without heart behind them, but they are said, and a weak smile accompanies them.

Taking the proffered hand, Elisabeth repies, "Hello, Anna. You too." Her tone is far more sincere. "Gavyn tells me you've got a lot on your mind lately. And that maybe we'd be in a position to help." She tilts her head. "Wanna tell me about it?"

Gavyn offers a small smile to Anna, hopefully encouraging. But just in case, she stays quiet for now. Hands fold before her, arms resting against the edge of the table. Her eyes move behind sunglasses, shifting from Elisabeth and over to Anna.

"Uhm… not really, sorry." Anna replies to the question, eyes dashing to the door again… "I don't even know you…" The teen sighs, "I'm sorry for wasting your time… both of you…"

There's a purse of her lips and Elisabeth studies the teen quietly. "No… you don't know me. And you've got no reason to trust me," she admits candidly, keeping her voice low. Automatically her mind goes to shield the conversation from the surroundings and Liz is shocked when a silence field snaps into place. The sounds from the cafe become muted for a split second, and then searing pain lances through her head, literally blinding her. Her eyes slam shut and she flinches, whispering "Fuck!" under her breath. Prying her eyes open to look at the girl, Liz struggles to control herself enough to continue the conversation. "Sorry — headache." She grimaces a bit. "But I can tell you that if you're afraid of hurting someone, Anna… I'd like to help you before it happens to you. I don't want you to have to live with the consequences of something like that."

Her head shakes slowly as Anna begins speaking, Gavyn straightening to interject her own thoughts. Those thoughts cut off with the explicative from Liz, hands coming apart momentarily. Not that she can really help the older woman, still can't help for the added worry. "This doesn't quite sound like you, Anna," she says quietly. "You're dodging questions and… what happened?"

Almost inaudibly, Anna whispers, "Got spanked…" She sighs, and looks down to the floor… "I.. thought that was normal… but someone else…. made me realize… it might not be…" And the girl sighs softly yet again. "Don't tell anyone, please…"

Elisabeth's head comes up sharply, her blue eyes narrowing on the girl. There is an immediate sense of outrage that is evident. "Someone put their hands on you?" There's a fine line here — and Anna's tone is giving the very clear indication to the ex-cop that we're not talking about the right kind of 'spanking' here. But she's being very careful about that fine line. "Anna… I need you to talk to me, as candidly as you can here. If you're in a bad situation, we can get you out of it."

"—What?" Gavyn's tone, not quite echoing the obvious harshness from Elisabeth's demeanor, still comes off hard, though quiet. "That's not right. You need to let us help you, Anna."

Anna looks down again, "I don't want to get anyone in trouble…" The teen mutters, sighing. "I shouldn't have said anything at all, really…" And with that, her mouth clamps shut again.

"Well, you did," Elisabeth states, trying for the gentler tone. She's not succeeding as well as she might because quite frankly the idea of someone abusing the girl has brought a lot of anger to the fore. And in the way her ability has been manifest for the past year, her body is trying to cause an effect that doesn't actually happen. Another blinding flash of hurt through her head has Elisabeth reaching up with a shaking hand to touch her forehead. And then grabbing for a napkin when a splotch of blood hits the table. "I'm sorry — I've been sick," she comes up with the excuse quickly. Laryngitis gives away the truth of that statement. "Sinuses are making me nuts." She holds the napkin to her nose to staunch the blood trickle and keeps her eyes on Anna.

"Anna, let me ask you this — spanking is a valid form of correction though most parents don't use it anymore by the time you're in your teen years. Did you feel that the person who administered it was doing it for the right reasons and in the right way? Because ultimately, you have to trust your own instincts, kiddo." Elisabeth is both gentle and very honest here. "If someone else told you that it wasn't normal or right, you're the one who has to decide. And the thing is…. the way that you've articulated this to us…. you sound like this was not something you were comfortable with. We can make discreet inquiries and if it's nothing, no one will ever have to know you said anything."

"You did the right thing," Gavyn insists, nodding to the girl. "If someone hurt you, telling someone else, someone that you trust, is the best thing you could have done." She glances toward Liz, to indicate that the blonde is one of those she can trust. She actually double takes, worry flashing up again at the sight of her boss's predicament.

Gavyn turns her attention to Anna again, though not without sparing a glance or three toward Liz. She doesn't say anything further, the older woman's already voiced what she'd say as well, instead nodding along with her words.

"I can't sit…" The teen eventually whispers by way of answer… "Told me to say I'd fallen down the stairs if anyone asked…" Anna sighs, "But it's nothing…."

Okay…. yeah. No. "That is beyond the realms of reasonable," Elisabeth says quietly. "And the fact that the person who laid hands on you told you to lie has already told you that. It's not nothing, Anna." The blonde is livid, hiding that behind a carefully neutral facade. Made a little easier with the napkin held to her nose. She slants a glance at Gavyn — dealing with a teenager skittish of having been abused is not exactly in her usual line of work. She very gently coaxes, "And I think you know that. Or you wouldn't have sought Gavyn out. Anna…. let us help you." The girl's a minor — Elisabeth has enough just from her words right now to take her to the emergency room and send authorities around. But Liz would rather the girl comes to that understanding on her own rather than having it forced on her like that. "Who hit you?"

Gavyn's hands tighten into fists. She'd wondered why the girl wouldn't sit, it hadn't occurred to her what the reason was. Slowly, she folds her arms across her chest in effort to maintain a calm approach to the situation. Her eyes slide toward Liz, then back to Anna, again with another nod. "I told you before, if you need anything to call."

"Nobody you know…" is Anna's response to that question, and she doesn't look intent on clarifying. "Just… let it rest, okay?" She almost begs, "I shouldn't have spoken about it at all… I should've kept to the story…"

Elisabeth doesn't want to play the heavy on this. She doesn't. But she shakes her head. "No. You have two choices here, kiddo — you can tell us and let us discreetly begin a check. Or I can have Social Services on your doorstep by tonight." Her tone brooks no argument. "It's your call on which way it goes, but you deserve to have someone standing up for you, Anna. I know you're afraid. And I'm sorry that it happened to you. I'm not going to let it happen again."

"Anna," Gavyn says carefully, looking at the table rather than at the girl. "You did the right thing calling me. They're only abusing you further by making you lie for them. Whoever they are, it's them who'll be in trouble, not you." She tilts her head to afford a look toward Elisabeth. "We'll do everything we can to keep you safe."

"Timothy…" Anna eventually whispers, without further explanation. And then, the teen follows it up with a muffled "Thanks… that means a lot to me." This seems to be directed mostly at Gavyn, but not solely.

With the girl's acquiescence, Elisabeth nods slightly. "Get your drinks and come on," she says softly, still holding the napkin to her nose. She moves to stand up, pulling out her phone, clearly intending on making a call.

Gavyn steps aside to let Liz take the lead, her intentions to stay at Anna's side. She offers the girl a small, tight smile. Then one goes to Elisabeth, silently thanking the older woman.

Anna finishes the chocolate milk and heads to follow along. She seems nervous, perhaps even anxious, as she does so. But there's, perhaps, a glimmer of hope in her eyes. She's also quiet, as she feels like she's said far too much this afternoon already.

If the teen thought she was going to evade the two soldiers, she's got another think coming. When Gavyn flanks her on one side, Elisabeth places herself slightly in front as they walk toward the exit and where she parked her car. The phone to her ear as they go, blue eyes alert on their path, her voice is very low and doesn't carry beyond the small group. "Ops? I need you to get on the phone to St. Luke's ER and tell them I'm bringing in a child who needs some help. Then get me… " She pauses and considers. "Get me Beth Farley from child services. She's good with protection details. And Detective Rawlins from the 7th Precinct. He's got two kids this one's age. We're going to need to place this young lady somewhere that she'll be secure until they have their evidence."

Apparently the blonde ex-cop is not messing around.

Gavyn keeps a casual glance going as she follows Liz's lead to the car. She's not expecting anything untoward, but you can't be too careful. Once they've reached the car, she opens the door and motions for Anna to get inside first. She'll follow after, closing the door behind her.

Anna takes her place inside the car, a pained grimace as she sits down. She's quiet, clearly not wishing to talk more right now. She closes her eyes and folds her hands, afterwards her lips start moving.

Elisabeth drives to the Emergency Room at St. Luke's, where they are met at the door by the detective in question and the social services representative. Documentation of Anna's physical state must be made as the first step in the process of getting the person who abused her into custody. Gavyn is given permission, if Anna wants her there, to accompany the girl until she's in a place where she feels comfortable.

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