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Scene Title Brevity
Synopsis Logan provides Eileen with some information related to Feng Daiyu in exchange for one of his favourite things: cold, hard cash.
Date August 24, 2009

An Alley Behind Burlesque

When someone you intend to have dead very soon calls to meet you in a dark, anonymous, drippy alleyway— perhaps you'd be smarter to decline. Then again, it all depends on who you know. So it's with a certain confidence that Logan is pacing the width of the alleyway behind Burlesque, the heels of his polished leather shoes crunching grit and uneven concrete under the slightly raised heels. The sound of big band brass and jazz from the interior is leaking faintly out into the evening that is somehow both chilly and humid, dampness in the air that doesn't have the bravery to actually become rain.

He still has her mark on his cheek, fading though it is, slowly. If you scratch, it doesn't get any better, though Logan's hands aren't fidgeting now, one tucked into the pocket of his slacks and the other gripping a plain looking envelope. His shirt, a splash of vibrant blue in the greys and browns of the alleyway, is tucked into long black slacks of faint pinstripes, everything tailored to his lanky frame.

The matching jacket conceals the shoulder rig and silver revolver tucked within it. Old habits die hard, but Logan isn't planning on getting arrested anyway. Carrying around a firearm would potentially be the least of his worries, but perhaps not as numerous as others might think.

The silhouette belonging to the woman who enters the mouth of the alley doesn't look like it's Eileen Ruskin's. For one thing, it's several inches too tall. For another, it's defined by a sheer red dress that emphasizes the curve of her hips and modest bust, and neither of these are shapes that the dark-haired woman has ever willingly drawn attention to in all the time Logan has known her. Stilettos click against the pavement underfoot like the hooves of a well-bred horse as she approaches and emerges into the light, surveying her surroundings in pale eyes outlined in kohl, lashes swept up and out with black mascara.

There's no mistaking the familiar lilt of her voice, however. Not when it contains the special brand of silky venom she reserves just for him. "Evening." If she's wearing her pistol or the knife she seems so fond of, then they're well-concealed, nestled somewhere between her knee and the topmost section of her thigh — a sliver of which is visible courtesy of a slit in the dress' gossamer material. "Let's keep this brief, shall we?"

Logan swivels on a heel as soon as anything audible of Eileen's presence snags his attention, instantly looking her up and down when her immediate appearance doesn't seem to fit. The red and the curves and the height and all that. "Who are you trying to impress?" Any viciousness and sarcasm is curbed in favour of a flat and hollow sort of tone. Subdued, in many ways, Logan turning to face her completely and both hands coming to clasp the envelope as he paces forward a few steps. There's a glimmer of a thin chain about his neck, disappearing into his collar, a touch of jewelry that's not quite as tight as the leash she claimed he wears.

Also not about to make it brief as requested, he waits for a response, even as he slips one long finger beneath the flap of the envelope in an absent fidget, coming to a halt within a respectable range. There's a nervousness that isn't often seen, in the way he darts a glance over her as if expecting to see anything else surge up from the shadowy street beyond.

"No one," is Eileen's velvet reply. "I'm practicing." For what, she does not specify, does not give even the slightest indication of what she might mean aside from a slow, sly smile lacking all cheer, all warmth. She doesn't want to be here, surprise surprise. As Logan stops, so does she, and it turns out that he has no immediate reason to worry; Eileen's only companion is the inky darkness and the patchouli-scented perfume wafting faintly off her skin and hair, mingling with the more familiar smell of Turkish tobacco compounded by cigarette smoke. There's bourbon on her breath.

She traces a finger along the metal clasp that holds her purse shut but opts not to unhook it, not yet. Maybe her gun is in there instead, a derringer fitted to the palm of her diminutive hand. "What have you got for me?"

Of course, the shadows could contain a mutual foe, snake eyes peering out accusingly as to what's going on. Feng does have a habit of materialising, after all. Logan catches his bottom lip against his teeth for a moment, before drawing a breath and sliding the glossy images out from their paper cocoon. "You'll be a better judge of that than I," he says, sauntering forward a step enough to holding up the photos, fanned as they are between his fingers. Sharp portrayals of the familiar Garden, of Ethan, of Delphine, of Eileen herself. "You tell me."

His wrist turns, angles them so that she can take them as she would. Logan's expression is solemn, almost weary and overtired, pale eyes shadows and hooded lazily. "I couldn't get much else out've him, you'll understand. Not once he figured out he couldn't get much else from me. I don't expect I'll be seeing him again, for that." Ah, that's it— he's sulking.

It isn't the work of an expert, but the skill of the photographer does not diminish the razor sharpness of the pictures themselves, their lines stark and hard-edged, full of strong light and contrasting shadows. Eileen takes the series into her possession, flicking through each set with a persistently snapping wrist and keen eye for detail, though she does not linger on any one picture longer than the time it takes the tightness at the corners of her mouth to increase just a fraction more.

When the wobbly sound of rippling photo paper has ceased to fill the alley behind Burlesque, she lifts her eyes to Logan's face, jaw set, and breathes out a long sigh through her nostrils, exchanging the stale air in her lungs for improved self-control and a rein on her emotions. "How did you convince him to part with these?"

She looks at the photos, Logan looks at her. The half-light of the alleyway doesn't do much to assist him in reading the nuances of expression, among other handicaps, but all the same, he watches for a hint of anything. By the time she's snapping her green-grey eyed gaze upwards, Logan lets his drift sullenly away, creeping his eyeline up the wall next to him as if bored.

"He showed me 'em, and I asked," he states, simply, rocking back on his heels. "I figure he has more where those come from, but I thought I might get something for show and tell." Those last few words are accompanied with a gesture between them. "I told 'im I had interest in the other woman in the photographs. I don't, really - ex-employee I traded away before she took off. No money out of my wallet."

"Small world." Eileen's tone has lost most of its smoothness, exposing its hoarse underpinnings, voice like a glass worth of polished gravel and just as stony. If her request to keep things brief and the reek of alcohol clinging to her breath didn't provide Logan with enough clues, then the stilted, jerky manner in which she unfastens her purse and slips the photographs inside should make painfully clear her present state of mind.

She might even be a little drunk. "Here's what you're going to tell Daiyu the next time he comes back," she says, "and he will, because he's a snake and you're a rat." The photographs are switched for four fifty dollar bills counted out from a much larger sum, not all of it in American currency. There's a Sir Robert Borden and several prime ministers of Canada in there as well. What Eileen is doing with Canadian money isn't immediately clear, though it's possible that whimsy might have something to do with it — if Logan is watching closely, he may catch a glimpse of an osprey printed on the back of a purple ten, a salmon hooked in its talons.

"Ethan Holden is no longer at that location. My people are already aware that it's been compromised, and have been staying at a hotel in the Lower East Side for the past forty-eight hours." She holds out the cash. "Yes?"

Logan's eyes narrow in a squint when she starts pawing through the money, focused on the separate bills rather than the words being spoken to him. "How fucking hard is it to pay in yankee fucking dollars? I'm sneaking around behind a ninja's back for your worthless arse," is muttered somewhat huffily at this little roundabout turn of events, but despite himself, he has his hand out for the cash, briskly shaking his head as if to dismiss this complaint.

"Yeah, yeah. I'll tell 'im if he finds me," he agrees, impatiently. "But I told you, I don't expect he'll try again. Not like he's shown his face around here, in any case, and I'm not bloody going to go looking for him again."

There's a beat of hesitation, Eileen curling the cash between her fingers in quiet contemplation, the expression on her face completely ill-at-ease. "I could make it worth your while to," she offers finally, parting with the fifties. "What do you want, Logan? Money? Amnesty? Daiyu's government-sanctioned, you know. I'm willing to bet he can have the things you did to the Beauchamp girl permanently stricken from the record — all you need is his trust and something you can bargain with. I'll provide."

That gets a soft, cynical snort. "Thanks, but I can take care of myself," Logan says, looking at the fifties in his hand before slipping them into a pocket. "And I'm not looking to put myself on yet another leash of some murderous prick for your benefit. He's a dangerous man, Ruskin. And I don't particularly appreciate business with him. Whatever it is you and yours have done— I get the feeling he's not going to stop." He angles his head to the side, contemplation written on his face as he brings up a hand, rubbing his jaw before letting it fall again, taking a step forward. It's enough for the scent of stale cigarette smoke and someone else's perfume to hit her senses. "Tell you what.

"There's a building on the Narrows shores, where I got 'im last. I'll give you the address if you can raise the price by a hundred and you can promise me you don't fuck it up. And I mean that."

"Den's an awful place for an ambush," Eileen observes dryly. "Quarry knows the territory, you don't. Security cameras, weapon stores — maybe he isn't working alone and me and mine stumble into a whole fucking nest of vipers. There's a lot to take into consideration." In other words, the only thing she can promise is the additional hundred she's fishing out of her purse. The physical proximity his body and hers sees a stiffening in her back and a rigidity to her spine that wasn't there before — while Daiyu's trust is something she seems confident she can secure for her fellow Londoner, he doesn't yet have hers. Still— "Thank you."

The extra hundred will have to do, Logan raising an eyebrow before deciding he does like money, hissing a curse out from beneath his teeth. The address he rattles off is next to muttered - a building situated in not a particularly respectable neighbourhood, crouching on this other side of the Narrows from Staten Island, with a good solid set of docks for when the life on the other side have to head mainlandwards. Logan knows it well.

His hand goes out to scissor the two extra fifties between fingers. "You're welcome."

Their business concluded, Eileen snaps her purse shut. The toe of her stiletto grinds against the pavement as she turns, pivoting on her ankle and summarily swiveling her hips, she does one of the things that makes her most uncomfortable.

She shows Logan her back.

Eileen exits the alley without another word, abrupt departure punctuated by the tap of her heels and their resounding echo, whispery sounds that eventually — like the woman in the red dress herself — fade into nothing, swallowed up by the night.

Logan rests his weight on one foot, tipping his lanky frame to the side a little to watch her and her curves disappear around the corner, lips pursing a little as he's soon abandoned in the alleyway. Tucking his profit where the other bank bills are squirreled away, he takes his time - extracts his cigarette holder, embarks on the ritual of lighting up, a flicker flame in the darkness followed by streaming white smoke.

Keeps his hands occupied, his mouth occupied, from any arrogant muttering along the lines of— fuck me, I should be in theatre.

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