Caution, Baked Goods, And Naming Informants


cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Caution, Baked Goods, And Naming Informants
Synopsis The title reflects topics of discussion.
Date December 28, 2008

Elisabeth's Apartment in Dorchester Towers

This is a pretty standard two-bedroom apartment, although the occupant has gone to some effort to make it her own. Although the carpet is the ubiquitous beige, the walls are painted a soft rose-gray mauve shade, giving the main living space warmth. A dark gray sectional sofa sits in the living room facing an entertainment center that contains a state-of-the-art stereo system and a less upscale television setup. A coffee table sits in the curve of the sectional, and floor lamps bracket the ends of the furniture. The dining area hosts a four-seater square oak table and chairs, with the table generally host to a slew of mail and papers. An oak sideboard against the wall has candles on either end of it and a glass bowl with a fake arrangement of flowers. A small wine rack sits next to the sideboard, home to no more than nine bottles. The kitchen is small, but functional, painted a soft yellow color with a transparent blue glass backsplash. Off the living room are two bedrooms, one of which has the door closed and the other appears to be a home office. Its walls are a soft shade of green, and it contains a desk with a high-end computer setup and a bookcase stocked with textbooks.

Cat's phone rings.

Somewhere in Nuked York, Cat's iPhone goes off. A ringtone plays, one she may well have assigned to Elisabeth's number to identify calls from her without having to look at the display. She taps the button near the right earbud to answer the call. "Greetings, Liz."

Down the airwaves, Elisabeth is sort of surprised by the greeting. "Hi, Cat," she says quickly. "Hey…. you got a couple of minutes to chat? I wanted to poke my head in and talk to you somewhere."

"I do," she answers, her voice sounding curious about what it could be. "Where's good to meet, Liz?" she asks. The time display on her iPhone is checked and she glances off into the distance for a moment.

Elisabeth considers. "I'm actually at my place, but I can meet you anywhere you'd like — the Nite Owl, the library, somewhere out. Whatever. It's nothing major, though."

"Where is your place?" Cat asks, adding "I can be there fairly soon."

"Dorchester Towers," Liz replies. She gives her apartment number, and says, "I'll have coffee."

"I know the place," Cat replies with a somber note coming into her voice. "I'll be there shortly." The call ends, and a half hour or so later there's a knock at the officer's door. Cat stands outside it, waiting for it to be answered. She looks subdued, her hair in a ponytail, dressed in jeans and a blue hooded sweatshirt with Yale in white lettering across the front, and athletic shoes. The guitar case and backpack are over opposite shoulders.

When she answers the door, Elisabeth is wearing black sweatpants and a white T-shirt and socks. She smiles at Cat, looking a bit concerned because the other woman's tone on the phone had gone somewhat odd. "You okay?" she asks as she lets Cat in the door and closes it. "C'mon in."

She steps inside and clears the doorway so it can be closed. "I live in this building," Cat answers. "This is only the second time I've been here since…" The words trail off, and she forces herself not to call up those memories. "Apartment 101, got lucky when I moved to New York and snagged one right on the first floor. Ten days later my closest friend from college showed up, called from the airport…"

Elisabeth visibly pales, quite a feat when she already looked somewhat weary. "Oh *SHIT*, Cat. I'm sorry." Oh, this is definitely not … "Why didn't you say something? I'd have met you anywhere you wanted. You didn't have to come here." She looks practically sick to her stomach over it.

"Don't be," Cat replies. "I have to face things sometime, you know. Avoiding memory triggers is impossible for me anyway. I… I don't stay in the apartment anymore because it's compromised, and has memories, the tree sitting there, the unopened gifts, but I'm going to keep it and find another." Her eyes close, she quietly adds "Right now it's the only resting place she has, and may always be."

Some moments of quiet follow before she turns to face Elisabeth, having shaken it off. "You needed or wanted to talk?"

Reaching up to rub her forehead, Elisabeth listens because it's what Cat seems to need of her… but her own response to the pain coming here must have caused is actually far deeper than she might have expected. Except that it has literally been the Week From Hell for her too. "C'mon," she says softly, turning to head toward the kitchen. There are barstools at the breakfast bar, and she gestures Cat to one of them while she rummages. There is a MASSIVE number of baked goods lying throughout the kitchen and dining room, some boxed and some not. Coffee cakes, muffins of various sorts, cookies, and even some brownies. It is into this pile that Liz digs, coming up with triple chocolate brownies and yanking whipped cream out of the fridge. When she turns back around, the sheen of moisture in her eyes is definitely under control. "How do you take your coffee?" It's clear she's going to set out a chocolate fest.

"Cream and sugar," Cat answers, as she reaches for one of the brownies and lifts it to her mouth. No other words are spoken then, she bites into the brownie and chews slowly, carefully, in that hinting at her proper blue blood upbringing. Her eyes wander a bit as she savors the baked confection.

Elisabeth pours and sets a cup in front of Cat, and then brings out the sugar and cream so that her guest can doctor a cup. When she speaks again, it's after she has the lump in her throat under control so that she only sounds slightly off-kilter. "Uhm… the reason I asked you to stop in was to mention that I ran into Anne again. This morning, as a matter of fact. With Teo." She glances at her companion, doctoring her own cup liberally. "I guess mostly… I wanted to ask what you said to her. She…. seemed to indicate that she had an inkling of my involvement with our friends from a conversation she had with you." She hastens to add, "I wouldn't presume to accuse you of being loose with information, Cat…. but I wanted to find out what you said so that maybe I can alter my behavior if necessary. I *really* don't want to get hauled in on the wrong side of my own cuffs."

"Oh," Cat replies, "I'd seen Anne before, with Grace of the Ferry crew. And after Anne was gone, Grace mentioned Anne's family going on a trip. So when she and I talked, with her asking how I met Grace, and I mentioned we'd met on a ferry. It was innocuous enough that if Grace's comment meant what I thought it might, Anne would know I have connections, and if not it's just a simple comment." Her head tilts to study the woman. "You're saying she started to do mental math and made assumptions about you, just because you know me?"

Elisabeth nods slowly. "Or… because I knew you and Teo. She's apparently our newest recruit. But yeah… she commented this morning that she figured I was involved because of the conversation. Which… well, given what I do, is pretty dangerous." She grimaces.

"So I'm told," Cat replies. "There's only one reason I can think of for Grace telling me Anne's family went on a trip. If she hadn't been in the loop with the Ferry, she'd not have thought anything of it, and I didn't mention you in that vein. Anyway, what do you recommend, as far as public encounters between us and others who know us go, so as not to cause wondering by simple association?" Cat doesn't seem concerned, in keeping with what she understood at the time, but her desire is to set Elisabeth's mind at ease.

Elisabeth shakes her head slightly. "Maybe I'm just overreacting," she says softly. "Things have been… stressful this past week. The only thing I'd recommend is not mentioning a ferry in relation to me unless you're dead sure." She forces a smile. "I've already got my boss breathing down my neck, I really don't want him there any more than I have to."

"I didn't," Cat states calmly. "And I wouldn't. Information like that about you would only be shared in a secured, non-public location." Her fingers lift the brownie again, she's about to bite it, but pauses to ask "What's the boss bothering you over, Liz?" Concern starts to set in.

Elisabeth pushes a hand through her hair. "Abby approached him on the street. She recognized his uniform. She asked him how I was doing after the night of the shooting. The Rickham thing. Totally innocent. But then she offered to heal him of his own injuries for that night, and he's….. well, he's pretty by-the-book. When he demanded her registration card and she couldn't produce it, he hustled her into the cop car." She shakes her head. "He decided that based on the fact that she was attacked by an Asian Evo in the church and now that she knew me and was unregistered or something that she must know something. I *think* he thought she was my informant for the information Helena gave me to pass along, though he denies it and says it only had to do with her own unregistered status. But….." She bites her lip, words spilling out of her faster. "But I think he thinks I'm up to something and I'm worried that it's basically going to go south really fast. I'm worried for myself, and I'm worried that I'm going to compromise Phoenix, and I'm worried because now I'm putting Conrad at risk because he's going to step up as my source and bring my boss more information on Volken's group…" She barely stops for a breath now. "And I see dead kids when I sleep, and another kid of mine from the high school got run in last night." The strain is starting to get to her.

She's quiet for a long stretch of seconds to process it all and frame a reply, come up with an idea for how to proceed. "If you need an informant," Cat replies, "to give a name, it's simple. Tell him it came from Courtney Danielle Hamilton, who died at their hands, and the matter is now a Federal investigation. That should clear the heat from you, without Conrad having to expose himself to such attentions from your unit."

When the idea is spoken, she goes quiet to listen and observe the reaction, to gauge if it's judged sensible.

Elisabeth rubs her forehead. The idea has merit…. if she'd thought to come to Cat first. "It's too late. But I'll tell Con to use Dani's name if he gets pressed," she says softly. "It would make sense." She heaves a sigh. "Cat… you don't need to sit here and listen to my insanity, honest." She moves to pick up her coffee cup. "I just…. wanted to check in to see what happened with Anne. She really threw me this morning."

"It's no trouble," Cat replies. "Keeps my mind occupied, really. For me, the worst thing is quiet. Too much time to think and dwell. I do so much better when it's time to act. Once it's calm, I risk breaking down. Memories get triggered and I find myself playing them out in my head. I won't honor her wishes that way, at all."

Elisabeth nods slightly. "Oh good…. glad that my issues keep you away from yours." She grins. "C'mon… have another brownie. I cook when I'm upset, and well…. it's been a long week," she comments, gesturing around the kitchen. "And take a shepherd's pie with you, too, when you leave. Because God knows, I won't eat all this."

She's already doing just that, seated at the counter with her coffee and the baked goods. The brownie in Cat's hand is eaten by degrees over the course of a few minutes before she takes another.

December 28th: If These Walls Could...
December 28th: It Would Be Easier
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