But You Gotta Have Friends


raquelle_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title But You Gotta Have Friends
Synopsis Following the excitement in the marketplace, Raquelle learns a little bit more about the sometimes-thief named Squeaks. And Squeaks begins to understand more fully the need for real connections with others.
Date April 2, 2018

Red Hook

Outside the Marketplace

It would seem, after the insanity melted and left behind the controlled chaos of the marketplace, that Raquelle had gained a shadow. Whether that's his intent or not, Squeaks would never know. Or even think to ask about. All she knows is to follow him, that she's supposed to follow even though her instinct is to run before someone else finds their goods missing. Following strangers is not typically a thing she makes a habit of, and yet she's done it twice in maybe a week.

The hustle and bustle of bartering is left behind. The streets grow relatively quiet the further from the marketplace they go. The girl follows, confusion stamped on her expression. Like the stray she is, she tags after, curious and unable to explain the compulsion to follow. Speaking of explanations, she hasn't said a word since Raquelle first caught her attention and called her over. There hasn't been a thanks or apology or anything forthcoming.

Raquelle moves along quietly for a few moment, looking behind him from time to time to look at Squeaks before he looks thoughtful. Finally he has to break the silence, he shifts his grip on his shopping bags to reach into an easy access pocket in his backpack to pull out a couple of granola bars, and he holds one up, waggling it enticingly. "You look like you worked up a bit of an appetite, where'd you learn to ride like that?"

The girl doesn't shy away from meeting Raquelle's gaze. Her's is steady, if cautious, searching for something. When he produces the granola bar, her attention dips to it. Those apples and carrots have good sugars in them and are probably sweet, but nothing beats the refined sugar in a granola bar. "I just did it. Just hung on." Answer supplied, she holds a hand out for the granola bar.

Granola bar is handed over with a small nod, his own gaze holds no judgement, just a twinkle of quiet amusement as his eyebrows raise a bit. "Well then giiirl, you have a gift. First time I rode a horse?" Raquelle shudders and shakes his head. "I looked like somebody tied rag doll to the back of a scared cat, I was just flaling around." He does a shoulder roll. "It was /not/ cute at all."

She doesn't know about any sort of gift, she knows about that granola bar in her hand. Fingers wrap around it possessively when it touches her palm and Squeaks wastes little time in unwrapping it and taking a bite. "Never did it before," she explains around a mouthful of food. "Just needed to get away fast." The rest of the bar follows into her mouth.

"So. You got other people other than yourself to feed? Or were you making sure you had a little extra in case you didn't get another chance sometime soon?" Raquelle asks with a tilt of his head. There is a pause before he subtle offers his own granola bar, still unwrapped and nods his head. "You picked a really good day to try though."

"Just me." The new granola bar is regarded as the last crumbs from her own are summarily picked off and eaten. "Hard to find anything now. Mostly it's bad stuff, can't eat it. Food stolen from places that give it out means it goes even faster." And sometimes, usually, Squeaks misses her chance. Hungry people become desperate people and those types are dangerous. "Usually I don't go there," she motions in the direction of the marketplace. In the same motion, she takes the second granola bar a fraction less possessively. "But I have no food now, I needed to get more."

Raquelle watches, a flicker of concern in his eyes as he starts in the direction of his shop with a slow nod, listening closely. "Ahh, well you are going to need some ice and a dark place to keep some of those things you got, to keep them fresh you know?" He takes a deep breath. "You are an independent woman, going to get yours. I can appreciate that. How long have you been a professional taker?"

"Underneath is cold and dark." Squeaks tears into the new granola bar with no less enthusiasm than the first. She's at least not inhaling it this time, but rather takes a little longer than two mouthfuls. "Since I turned ten. That's when Carolyn died and I left." She pauses, half way into a bite, and looks up at Raquelle. "Who are you? Why'd you help?" No one usually helps thieves, it's difficult enough knowing they're out there that aiding is not usually a thing done. At least not in her experience.

The tall man inhales sharply as he continues to listen, tearing up a bit and tilting his head back a bit to wave at his eyes to keep the tears from spilling out and ruining his eyeliner. There's a couple of blinks as Raquelle 'mmhms' softly and clears his throat. "Since you were ten?" HE takes a deep breath and stops walking, turning to face Squeaks. "I am Raquelle Cambria, I own a hair salon and I try to help everybody that I can." He kneels down a bit in front of Squeaks and tries to meet her eyes again. "Baby, I want to say I am so so sorry…that you have had to do this. That the grown ups supposedly in charge of the world fucked up so badly that you are out here having to steal food just to eat. You, are not a bad person and you aren't even a thief because I know if you had to resources, you wouldn't take what you needed because it would be there. I want you to know, that okay? You are an amazing, brave, resourceful, and champion pig busting young lady. Do you hear me?"

Though she listens, it becomes obvious she doesn't entirely understand the compassion he's offering. She meets Raquelle's gaze easily enough, but there's no shame felt for what she's done nor has she given consideration to where she's from. The present moment has always been what's mattered, with a little planning for a future which rarely extends beyond two days from today.

But she listens to Raquelle, with a strange desire to understand, and nods affirmative. She hears him. And offers in return, "Squeaks," with a thumb pointing toward herself. "I live in the Underneath. Usually I try to trade, but sometimes people ask where it came from. Sometimes living people don't like things from dead people."

Raquelle nods slowly, searching Squeak's face for something before just smiling shakly and clearing his throat. "Squeaks? Wow, that's such a beautiful name." He pushes himself back up and hmms softly. "Well, I was looking for someone who was good at trading. You see…I have all the product I need pushed and traded but I'm not a very good trader. Do you think you could help me out?"

There isn't an immediate answer. Experience has likely taught Squeaks to be prudent when offered a task. Still, she's a decent enough trader when it comes to it. Life on the streets has taught the value of stuff, in some respect or another. Her nose wrinkles and face scrunches, and her reply comes as a shrug. "Maybe. I can try." It's not like she has school to worry about. Her time s more or less her own. "Do I get paid?"

"Of course you get paid. And its a job with benefits too. Health insurance, I've got a first aid kit with supplies readily stocked. An investment plan, will always put a little extra aside for you when I go shopping, non perishable things so that in a few months time you will have your own pantry. Then a regular paycheck of food, time of the month supplies, and when you need it, grooming time in the salon." Raquelle lays it all out. "Do you need anything like blankets and such or are you good? I can't have my best trader getting sick from cold."

By her expression, Squeaks was probably testing the waters. She didn't anticipate the answer Rauqelle gives her, and it shows plainly. It makes her a little nervous. Or maybe suspicious. The girl definitely isn't even sure what to think about it all. "I have things," she answers. "I stay warm usually. Jude helps when it's really cold but then I stink like dog in the morning."

Raquelle nods slowly and then looks thoughtful for a moment before taking another deep breath. "Stinking like dog in the morning…I sometimes have the same issue…but I am guessing your Jude is an actual dog and not just a boy who smells like dogs?" He squints a bit, shaking his head. "Jude is a dog right?"

"Yeah." And with her answer, the girl finishes the last of the granola bar. "He's this big." She indicates with a hand nearly level with her chest. "White with brown spots. I named him Jude when he found me outside one of the churches that use to serve soup and bread."

"…mine is about to here as well." Raquelle holds his hand out about his chest level. Somewhere, in netherland, his fiance is glowering, but the hairdresser is silently amused. "And he sounds quiet handsome, your Jude. Does he have everything he needs?"

"He eats everything. Even the things that are rotten, but he likes it." Which, to the kid, means Jude is well taken care of. As far as she can tell, anyway. "He's alright. Just stinks. Especially when he gets wet."

"Maybe you should bring the dog to the Salon sometime, we'll get him nice and washed and smelling better. How about that? And I'll make sure you have enough water for him too, dogs get thirsty." Raquelle offers after a moment. "It could be a thank you gift for being such a good dog for you?"

"Maybe." It's as close to agreeing as she's ever come on that subject. She's always figured the dog has done well enough on his own, with only her occasional input, even though they're nearly constant companions. "Where's your work at?"

Raquelle slows down a bit and then turns to gesture towards the Cambria Salon and Day Spa…a beautiful grafitti/painted entrance thanks to the magic work of Caspian and Bryn combined. "Its not much, but it is a safe place if you ever need a safe place to come. You and Jude are both welcome."

Squeaks recognizes that work, she's seen what Caspian and Brynn can do with spray paint. Her eyes widen a little as she takes it in, footsteps lagging behind then stalling. "Wow." Raquelle's words bring her back to the conversation and she nods understanding. Safe place. It's good to have a lot of those. "I need to think. About trading for you." It's a good idea - the best she's had in a long time - but maybe she should run it by someone else. Just to be safe. She thinks she can trust Raquelle, but there's no sense in getting too far ahead of herself. "Can I?"

"They do some beautiful work don't they?" Raquelle stares up at the wall before exhaling softly and then looking back to Squeaks with a kind smile. "Take all the time you need okay? There's no pressure. Even if you don't want to work for me, you can still swing by and get more supplies as you need them."

"Okay." It's hard sometimes to not be cynical. Squeaks, who's typically not quick to trust anyone, has found herself trusting in complete strangers. And while she can't find any sort of catch or a trap waiting to spring, she can't help but wonder how soon it will be until she is trapped. It doesn't dampen the curiosity she's found at understanding why people care, but it keeps her cautious. "I got to find them." Them indicated by the painting. "But I'll be back."

Raquelle nods slowly and smiles softly, rummaging around in his bag and pulling out the carton of strawberries as he kneels down and starts wrapping a few up separately, and then he offers it to Squeaks with an understanding nod. "You be safe, okay?"

The bundle is stared at. Even Squeaks doesn't miss the significance of the gesture. Strawberries are not a common thing, even to those who can afford them. She doesn't hesitate, but there's a sense of reverence or wonder when she does takes them. As if taking a new puppy, or being entrusted with an heirloom. "I will." The bundle isn't even trusted to her backpack but safeguarded into her too big hoodie - she must have extra pockets inside or something - and she starts away from the shop. After only a few steps she turns, though continuing backward, and looks at Raquelle.

"Thanks!" It's called out, the weight of surprise in the single word. Then the girl is turned 'round again and jogging away.

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