Cocytus, Phlegethon and Lethe


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Scene Title Cocytus, Phlegethon and Lethe
Synopsis They are the rivers of ice, fire and forgetfulness. Eileen takes inspiration from an old friend and waxes poetic about the situation on Staten Island to Raphael Leonardo Maxwell.
Date October 29, 2009


While Leonardo does tend to pick his dates up in style, he's not usually so showy as to pick a woman up in a stretch limo; instead, he chooses a rather small black limo, something that says 'I'm rich, but I'm modest'. He's wearing a simple Italian navy blue suit, having picked up Eileen at around 7PM. Now they're headed for Tavern on the Green, and he's already popped a bottle of Pinot Noir, "Do you drink?" he casually asks, holding both glasses in one hand as he begins to pour his around halfway.

Oh, and Cassius is driving…

To be fair, this isn't exactly what she had in mind when Leonardo asked Eileen if she'd be interested in meeting him for dinner to discuss business. Clothed in a short gray dress that cuts of several inches above the knee, a black cardigan and a pair of red flats to match the light dusting of rouge on her cheeks, her painted mouth and the carmine varnish she wears on lacquered nails, the Briton sits next to her escort in the back of the limo with her hands in her lap, fingers clasped, and the smell of her perfume filling the car's posh leather interior.

In spite of his earlier request, she wears her hair up, dark curls held in place by a series of black bobby pins that shine obsidian in the light. Perhaps this is to better emphasize the shape of her face and its somber features, including lips pressed into a flat line and smoky eyes focused on the traffic outside rather than Leonardo beside her, or perhaps it's to remind him of the nature of this outing.

"A little," she admits, gaze shifting from the blur of taxis outside to her exaggerated reflection in the wine glasses.

Leonardo pours her half a glass as well when she confirms, placing the wine back into the ice, then takes one glass in his other hand before offering her's. "So, why don't you tell me a little about your goals for the city? As someone who lives out there, I'm sure you've had more than enough time to think about what changes you believe would be most effective, if someone had the power to make them, of course." His tone is quite casual, not completely business-like, but his inquiries appear to be fairly genuine, or well-acted, it's hard to say.

Pinot noir is one of the most complex wines in the world — or so the critics say. If Leonardo's taste in alcohol is as lavish and hedonistic as his taste in suits and cars, then it's likely to go wasted on Eileen; although she can taste the earthy flavours reminiscent of sweet red berries in the drink, she lacks the experience and the inclination to be able to distinguish it from its inferiors. "More people die on Staten Island from treatable illness than they do gunshot wounds, Mr. Maxwell," she says, turning the glass between her fingers by the stem. "Radiation poisoning, malnourishment, infectious diseases. The media portrays it as some kind of hell on earth, and that's true, but it doesn't have to be. Cocytus, Phlegethon and Lethe — all manmade rivers carved out by apathy and neglect. Some come to forget, others to perish and suffer. We aren't sinners. Just unfortunate."

Leonardo appears intrigued, sipping his glass as they get closer and closer to Central Park. He rests an arm on the back of the seat, and brings his leg halfway up when he turns to face her. "So tell me, Miss Dhalia, if you had my resources, what would you do about this? What would be your first move? I admit to lacking the ability to relate to such hardships, but that is the purpose of my questions. I do want to help, I plan to rebuild, but I know there are certain steps before that I could possibly take. I want to improve lives and give people hope, I don't want them to think that when I begin rebuilding, I intend to brush them aside, that's far from my plan."

"Food is one of the easier resources for my organization to provide. For all its flaws, the United States is still a first world nation — bleeding hearts and non-perishable goods are in ample supply, and while there's not always enough to go around, we usually get by." Eileen pauses to drink from her wine, lipstick leaving a dark print on the glass where her mouth touches the rim. "What we need most," she continues, "is medicine. Antibiotics to combat the common infections. Ear, eye, bladder. Worse if it's respiratory. I see people with syphilis and pneumonia every day. Meningitis. Tuberculosis. Things you thought only happened to people in developing countries."

The limo finally stops just outside the park, and Cassius walks around to open both doors before resting his arm on the roof. "You two kids have fun!"

Leonardo closes his door, then walks around to offer his hand to Eileen. "So, assuming you've thought about this as much as it sounds, one would think that you've thought of a general estimate for these costs, and likely know where these supplies could be bought and delivered to? Of course I'm not the type to make a media spectacle, so this would all be quite discreet."

Eileen takes Leonardo's hand after setting her wine glass aside and climbs out of the car, the other clutching at the front of the coat she wears over her dress and cardigan. "Discrete is better," she agrees. "To be perfectly honest with you, a lot of what's in demand is only available with a prescription. It isn't as simple as ordering the drugs from a supplier and distributing them to the people who need treatment. We have doctors but not the means to legally support them."

Leonardo begins to walk her down a path, the lights of the restaurant visible off in the distance, and Midtown more than noticable from anywhere. He keeps a hold of her hand unless she attempts to free it, but doesn't make a show of caring one way or the other. "If it's an issue, then you let me worry about that part, I have my resources. Now, I can't guarantee over night results, but if you put together a list of needed medication and a rough estimate of how much of it you need, I could do my best. My only request is that you answer two simple questions, can you do that for me?"

Eileen's flats click against the pavement as Leonardo her leads her through the trees, under crackling elms and past sculptures swathed in shadow. Central Park is one of her favourite places in New York City, and not just because of the wide and varied birdlife slumbering in the branches above them — there's a certain tranquility about it that provides respite from the surrounding metropolis like a flowering oasis in the middle of an ocean of sand. Drafting a list of the Ferry's medical needs must not be a problem — or if it is, then it isn't an immediate one — because she responds to Leonardo's proposition with a succinct "Yes," after only a moment's hesitation. "To the best of my ability."

"Good." Leonardo smiles at her agreement, always keeping his senses stretched out. They are in a park, there could be gun/knife wielding muggers! As they draw closer to the restaurant, he finally decides to pose his questions. "What's your name, and are you Evolved? Don't worry, if you are, I won't ask what you do. I ask your name out of curiosity, I ask if you're Evolved because you can learn a lot about one's motivations by knowing which side of the genetic fence they're on. And don't worry, neither will be a deal breaker, I'll help you no matter how you answer."

It occurs to Eileen that she could lie. Should lie if she values her privacy, and she does. Unfortunately, she also places higher value in her work than she does her own comfort, though it isn't without some mild resentment that she gives Leonardo what he wants. You do not lie to potential sponsors who dress in six hundred dollar suits and cruise Staten Island in cars that are worth more than some of the property there. "My name is Eileen," she says as they approach the restaurant's doors, light bleeding out to cast the pavement and their faces in a healthy glow. "And, yes, I am."

"A beautiful name, and good to know. And don't worry, both secrets are safe with me, Miss Dhalia." Leonardo is all about building trust, and a part of building trust is to not go spilling secrets that one is clearly uncomfortable with sharing. He holds the door open for her, and when they enter, sure enough, their names are on the list; her name being Dhalia Rose.

As they're led to their seats by a waitress, he returns to their conversation. "So, you make the list, and I'll do what I can. Now, why don't we enjoy the rest of the evening, and perhaps you can tell me more about your goals and beliefs? And feel free to order whatever you like." he offers as he pulls the chair out for her, then nods to the seat.

Dhalia Rose earns Leonardo a look that weighs in somewhere between sly and reproachful. Eileen removes her coat, long and woolen, and drapes it over the back of her chair when he pulls it out from the table. Her clothes meet the standards for an evening at Tavern on the Green, but pale in comparison to some of the more fashionable and chic outfits worn by the patrons around them, making it painfully apparent to anyone who cares to look that Leonardo's dinner companion is of a lesser social class than he.

"Thank you, Mr. Maxwell," she says, taking a seat and unfolding her napkin so she can spread it primly across her lap. "I feel as though this could be the beginning of a beautiful business relationship."

Leonardo smiles once he takes his seat, starting to look over the menu, but makes eye contact whenever she speaks. "It may be business, but please, call me Leonardo." He stretches out a hand to shake her's, never overtly giving the idea that he's being too much of a businessman, or too casual, so, in the end, his true motive is quite difficult to immediately determine. "Now, go ahead, order, enjoy yourself, don't worry about a thing."

Telling Eileen not to worry is as productive as telling a ptarmigan not to turn white in the winter or the moon to wax again before it's finished waning. She will always have concerns; anxiety is as much a part of her as the cool feel of her skin as she closes her fingers around his to seal the deal in a handshake that's surprisingly firm for a woman of her bird-boned build and diminutive size.

Leonardo it is.

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