Business at Dinner


amato_icon.gif grace_icon.gif

Scene Title Business at Dinner
Synopsis Amato wants to go live on Staten Island. Grace is of course going to let him do just that.
Date April 13, 2009

The Hangar

The apex of the Hangar is a large room with skylight-inlaid vaulted ceiling, windows that stretch the height of the walls, a warm-toned hardwood floor visible around a large Oriental-style rug and various pieces of furniture, a few carefully placed landscape prints on the walls. The kind of art that isn't really out of place anywhere. The doors which lead from the mezzanine to the balcony are presently open, screened panels keeping the early-spring insects from blundering into places where they don't properly belong. The evening breeze makes it a little on the cool side up here, but it's still a long ways from the breath of winter, and comparatively pleasant. The advantage of all these windows is a fine view of clouds painted in tangerine, orchid, salmon, and at least three different shades of gold.

Alistair is out this evening, on 'business'; Scott has work today. Therefore Grace is here, 'holding down the fort' as it were; she is currently in the kitchen attached to the ballroom, as made evident by the clatter of dishes and utensils, the background hiss of boiling water. She's mostly using the large island in the center of the kitchen; there's enough dishes set out for both crew and present guests, although between their haphazard schedules and the ever-changing faces at the Hangar, the staff have never done anything like enforce group sit-down meals. They figure people will wander into wherever the food is and see to themselves. It tends to work out that way.

A loner in most all respects, it seems that Amato finds himself socializing, when he rarely finds the occasion to do so, with whomever is doing dishes at the time. When he wanders in to the kitchen this evening, he's taking advantage of the warmer weather by wearing only a button-up shirt with his jeans, and his feet are bare, giving him a close to silent step across the hardwood floors.

"Would you care for some assistance?" he asks in a voice that is neither loud nor soft, but even and polite. After all, it doesn't matter who it is doing the dishes — even a recluse like Amato is aware of the cooperative nature of such a place as this.

The voice is familiar, in that it doesn't belong to any of the crew nor any of the more sociable current guests; identifiable by elimination. Grace glances over her shoulder at Amato; offers him a faint, lopsided smile. "There isn't much more to do until the cooking's finished," she points out, in that rasping, damaged voice that is so very distinctive. The room smells like garlic and bacon in the main, with humidity imparted by boiling water. "It's almost done, if you want to join me." She dries off her hands, the corners of her mouth tugging back in dry amusement. "You can help with the dishes after if you still want."

"One must earn one's room and board in some manner," Amato remarks with a smile that is an attempt at mirroring Grace's own, but decidedly fainter. Since the table is set, Amato moves to transfer the food to the table supply two plates with small yet healthy portions. "I'd be happy to dine with you," is Amato's further, if delayed comment.

Chicken carbonara is the menu today, with salad and garlic bread. "Well, I certainly can't argue with that!" Grace points out. She drains the pasta, tosses it with the sauce, and adds portions to the plates Amato has started dishing up. The remainder is transferred to a container. "What kind of salad dressing do you use?"

"Dry is fine." Amato waits for Grace to be seated before he joins her, keeping the stump of his right arm in his lap and choosing a spot that won't cause conflict over elbow room. "How have you been?" he asks, taking the time to place his napkin in his lap. Venues be damned — there is no excuse for bad table manners.

The woman raises a brow at Amato's response, but inclines her head. She comes back to the table with bleu cheese for her own salad. Table manners are not typically a concern of hers; nonetheless, Grace notices the relocation of Amato's napkin and follows suit. It won't hurt her to be a little less casual about dinner tonight. "Quite busy, actually. It seems like every time I turn around, something else has gone wrong at work and of course only I can fix it. Especially this past week. On the plus side, the money's good."

"Better to be indispensable than left with a comfortable amount of free time." The man smiles as he begins to delicately eat his dry salad, speaking only when his mouth is clear of food. "I actually have a favor to ask of you, if you don't mind a little more business while at dinner."

Grace's lips quirk. "It's not a problem at all. If I minded so much, I probably wouldn't be living quite as I am." Wherein 'business' shares the very same house. She tears off a piece of bread, dips it in the sauce that has seeped free of her noodles. "What's the request?"

Amato smiles, but as weak as it is, there is a beseeching quality to it. "I am told there is a facility similar to this one," if the Hangar can be called such a thing, "in Staten Island. I was curious as to what my chances are of being…well, transferred there. I believe I could do just as much good volunteering at some sort of relief effort in that areas as I am here, and it would be less of a strain on this particular household." Presuming, of course, that the Staten Island 'branch' harbors fewer people.

Grace looks across the table at her dinner companion for a moment, and then chuckles quietly, the sound of gravel grinding. "You walked in here of your own free will," she points out to Amato. "It's your right to leave exactly the same way. You are not in any way, shape, or form a 'strain' on this household — or any other! — but if Staten would suit you better, then to Staten you may surely go."

"And still remain in the hospitable care of your fine organization?" He is quiet, careful as he asks it, as if he were afraid that Grace's laughing permission were nothing more than a fragile soap bubble. "It is not a friendly town, and I cannot say that there may not be those who would wish me dead or worse lurking there."

A hint of a smirk passes briefly over Grace's expression. "Of course. That's what the organization is for." For those who have no alternatives, no other safe place to go. "We can't protect you," she points out. They're not bodyguards, and not all members are as… territorial… as Grace can be when it comes to their charges. "But as long as you respect the organization, it will shelter you."

"I have no intention whatsoever of showing any disrespect," Amato bows his head as he speaks, shaking it slightly as he closes his eyes with reverence. "You've been far too kind to me. I do not deserve it. You are, in fact, a saving grace, and I can never fully express my thanks."

"Don't ever thank me," Grace replies. There's neither heat nor offense in the words; it's a plain statement. More in the nature of advice. "Just — pay it forward." She takes the time to eat some of her pasta; not even casually does Grace talk with her mouth full. "'Deserve' is too strong a word. We don't help you because of anything you have or haven't done; it doesn't hinge on you — except in that you aren't likely to expose us." That's basically what it comes down to. "We help because it's right."

Something closer to a smile slips onto Amato's mouth as he lifts his head. Nothing more is said on the subject, and the meal passes with lighthearted yet polite conversation. And after, Amato gives a hand in cleaning up. It may or may not be his last meal in the Hangar, but it is, by all accounts, a pleasant one.

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