Contagion and Caution


delia_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Contagion and Caution
Synopsis Odessa speaks with Delia to confirm a suspicion. Delia asks Odessa to allay one in return.
Date July 18, 2011

Saint Clare's

Dominating a corner in this relatively suburban section of Eltingville, Saint Clare's Church and Convent has been converted into somethng else entirely. Now simply called Saint Clare's, the white church with its grey brick foundation dating back into the early century, along with the blockish U-shape of a three level, red brick convent, now houses a brothel and the women that work there. It sits almost directly on the boundaries of the Eltingville Blocks, well in view of the checkpoint and the razor wire fences, and this kind of territory means it attracts a variety of clientele, but mostly the soldiers that guard Eltingville Blocks themselves.

The church is simple and Catholic in purpose, with confession booths and a large, barnhouse-type space that is now devoted towards entertaining patrons with simple music, a bar, and company. The brothel's operation is reasonably traditional, with a sedate social space for clientele to mingle with the women, and pick and choose from there, but also offers privacy for business meetings and shadier deals than the simple purchase of flesh. With a kind of rustic, mismatched sensibility, this place is designed for comfort, with setees of leather, elaborate curtains and hangings to colour up the plain walls.

Accessible from the church is the convent itself. Take the naked wooden stairs up to the choir loft, duck in through a narrow door (which is generally guarded by plain clothes security) and head into the claustrophobic corridors of the third floor of the convent. Each room is decadent and different, all rich furnishings and gauzy curtains, throw rugs and dim lamps. There is a very basic security system installed, cameras watching the doors as well as discreet panic buttons within the rooms, if not always within reach and a dodgy response time. But one makes do.

The second and ground level of the convent are private living areas for the women that work there, as well as, in some cases, their families. There are empty spaces for rent as well for whatever reasons it might be desired. There's a communal eating area, a kitchen, bathrooms, and a few social spaces for comfort, all a lot duller and stripped down than the third level. There is an accessible exit out which is off-limits to patrons.

It's perhaps after one too many of those lovely green cigarettes Odessa Price indulges in after a particularly hard day (and seeing Nick Ruskin on a train on her commute qualifies) that the young woman decides to stride over to St. Clare's in search of Delia Ryans, being as how she didn't answer the knock on her door. (Cheza did bark in greeting.)

How hard can it be to find the laundry, right? Stamping out the remains of her smoke under her red and silver star-adorned heels, she makes her way inside and finds herself stunned in that sort of quiet what have I just gotten myself into way. It isn't as though the way the girls- women- workers choose to display themselves makes Doctor Price blush. She is a doctor, after all. And depending upon who you ask, a bit of a whore herself. But still, there is a sense of feeling as though she doesn't belong here as she glances about and makes her way into the… Let's call it the social area. Her gaze settles on a redhead with hair like…

There's a pang in her heart, and Odessa thinks to turn to leave.

Some of the girls can be rather particular about how they wish their unmentionables be laundered. It isn't Delia's place to really argue, not that she would bother, laundry is laundry no matter how you try to wring it.

Her hair is still damp from the scrubbing it got earlier in the morning, a curse of her thick curly mane. Also the humidity prevents it from drying well at all. It doesn't matter so much because it's braided into a thick rope that lays over her shoulder and touches just over the pocket of her button down shirt. Other than that, she's wearing a pair of cut off shorts that highlight the length of her pale legs, and a pair of flip flops that don't do much for the rest of her attire. They're plain and they were on sale for a dollar at one of the shops local to Eltingville. Despite the poor attire though, she doesn't look half bad.

The basket of lacy unmentionables is carried low at her side as she slips from one of the side doors and toward another that leads to a small courtyard at the rear of the building. Underwear swaying in the wind might attract more customers and everyone in the place is always about luring in those.

It's then that she spots the fringe of white hair and a flush of embarrassment covers her cheeks and nose. Still, she raises a hand to wave at the woman and she smiles in greeting. "Hey, how're you? Are you here to…" the rest of the thought is left to die as Delia glances out into the larger common area.

"See you?" Odessa finishes the statement for Delia, grateful when she catches her gaze. "Yes. Yes, I am." She makes a bee line then to join up with the laundress. "May I follow you? That isn't against the rules, is it? I wanted to talk to you about something, and I didn't think I could wait much more." She stinks of marijuana. It won't be long before she decides cheese and donuts can't wait much more.

"F-fo— Oh uhm.. sure!" The younger woman smile suddenly and gives a quick nod as she leads the way out into the evening light. It's a little late to be hanging laundry but they're rather tiny so it might not take too long for them to dry. Obviously Delia didn't organize her loads of laundry well enough to maximize her use of the sun. The pins are already hanging from the coated wire that she's strung out, somewhat out of sight of the rest of the block. Grabbing a few pairs of undergarments, she begins stringing them up to blow around in the slight breeze, like naughty little flags that wave the soldiers in.

She's quiet for the first few minutes, until she gets into a rhythm. It's when she bends to grab a few more pairs that she finally acknowledges the fact that her white haired friend came to see her and not someone else. "Are you just here for a visit?" The question is posed somewhat tentatively, simply because the establishment isn't really the sort of place that Delia gets visitors.

Okay, so the laundry makes Odessa blush a little bit. She'll blame the heat, if she's called on it. She doesn't suspect Delia will be calling her on it. "Sort of," she admits to the question posed. "I'm not here for business. But… Something happened today. I think I sat across from your Nick on the train."

"My Nick?" Delia fumbles on one of the silkier pairs and it drifts in the breeze for a little while before it's carried up into the barb that winds along the top of the fence. She doesn't chase after it. Maybe the girl who is lucky enough to wear it won't notice it missing. Compared to the news that's just been delivered, the redhead doesn't really care about the verbal lashing she might receive for losing it.

"You're sure? How does he look? He's better, right? I mean, I saw him a few days ago… but he was still… and I was… I just…" The rapid succession of questions and words machine gun out of her, pelting poor Odessa with demands and other nonsense. She takes a deep breath and holds it for a couple of seconds before letting it out with a whoosh. "Sorry, I just… you're a doctor and you'd know better than I would. He was just so sick but he seems better, right?"

Singular blue eye follows the fluttering unmentionable in the wind. At first Odessa takes a step to go after it, but it's like she remembers she was having a conversation. One in which she dropped a small improvised explosive device in. She should probably… address that. Or something.

"Nick… York, right? I could tell he was recovering from the flu. His eyes were still red. And you said that he…" Odessa shrugs her shoulders slightly and offers a small, kind of helpless smile. "I told you guys named Nick are fighters. He looked good, yes. All things considered. I think he'll be fine, Delia." Eventually.

"York, yeah," Delia's voice is a little breathy from relief and she actually smiles widely at the news. The shudder in her breath is telltale that she might might tear up but she manages to hold back for now with a few rapid blinks. "So you know him?" It's an assumption, possibly based around the fact that the man in question is a rather private individual.

For the moment, laundry is forgotten and Delia leads the other woman to a wood and iron bench that was leftover from the previous tenants of the place. The clergy. By the looks of the small flower beds, this was once a rather tranquil garden. "I saw him when he was in the city but I thought I was contagious."

I used to sleep with him, sounds like it might be a pretty callous response in Odessa's head. Which doesn't stop her lips from beginning to form the first syllable dumbly. She presses them together and blinks several times before drawing in a deep breath. "Yeah. We used to know each other. Work kind of keeps us apart. Being in the Institute means not having very many friends." That sounds believable enough, she hopes.

Delia doesn't need to know the truth. And not just because it's easier for Odessa that way. It's just not a knowledge the red-haired girl needs to be burdened with. Though that might be presumptuous of Odessa to assume on Delia's behalf. Perhaps Bella Sheridan would be proud of the benevolence her former patient has taken upon herself to bestow. Odessa takes her seat and smooths out a wrinkle in the blue fabric of her dress absently. "Contagious? Why?"

Raising a hand to scratch at the side of her nose, Delia looks away for a moment as she takes in the how of their knowing each other. "The Institute?" That's news that either slipped the young woman's mind or something she didn't actually know, at least for sure. "Yeah," she agrees softly, staring down at the anklet that's likely ruining any sort of tan that she could hope to get. Not tonight though, only vampires moontan. "I can see how that would kind of get sticky."

Swinging the offensive piece of jewelry under the bench and out of sight, the nurse turned laundress pivots her head slightly to get a better view of the white haired woman. "I was taking care of a family that had the flu, until yesterday." She doesn't really elaborate on the quality of care that they were given, i.e. if they survived. "But yeah, I didn't know if he could catch it again… Most normal ones you can't, at least not the same strain, right? But this one isn't really normal."

"Not my first choice of employment," Odessa is quick to assure. "Some of us don't have to wear ankle bracelets to be tracked down." There's more seriousness to her tone than she intended when she decided on those words, but that just bespeaks the honesty.

The trend of honesty is continued, without sugar. "This disease is mutating rapidly. He should hopefully have created an immunity in his system that will protect him from any subsequent strains. Especially if we manage to get a handle on its patterns, and manage to develop a reasonable vaccine. Get in touch with me if he starts showing symptoms again." Odessa reaches over and lays her hand over Delia's. "I don't think he will, though. Death never seems to claim Nick. He's stronger than that."

"He seems like it but he's really not," Delia says, turning her head to give Odessa a small smile. "He's different… In some ways, he's a lot more fragile, I think." She shakes her head then, closing her mouth and stopping herself from saying anything else. It's really not her place.

"Thanks," she says, for the offer, for the news, for the prognosis, all of it. Her free hand comes down on top of Odessa's, practically engulfing it between her own. Delia is so much larger than the other woman, over half a foot in height and probably a few shoe sizes. In some ways, she seems so much smaller. Confidence is only one. Her posture sinks and she hangs her head to look at the foot still visible. "Do you know if there's a way to find out if I'm still contagious? I mean, I was wearing masks and gloves, and I took really good showers when I got home. I just want to be able to see him."

"You used to be a nurse. I'm sure you've taken every reasonable precaution. I can come by after work tomorrow and take some samples and run a few tests Wednesday morning. See if anything turns up." Odessa squeezes Delia's hand reassuringly. "I'm sure you're fine. Just continue to be careful."

Then her gaze falls to their joined hands and for the space of a few seconds, she forgets to breathe. The gears click-click-clack! in her head and the reminder that she isn't supposed to fear Delia's being contagious seems to seep into her brain. It's a slow realisation, but it causes the woman lacking the Suresh Linkage Complex to draw breath again and smile once more, another squeeze. "I should know for sure by the end of the week what your situation is."

"Thanks, I really appreciate it," Delia's earnest gratitude comes out a little louder than her part of the conversation previously. Call it excitement. Withdrawing both of her hands, she places them on her lap and smoothes them down her pale skin coming to a stop by cupping both of her kneecaps. Another deep breath, this time let out more quickly than the other one and in something of a huff of a laugh. "I can't wait…"

Once she's gotten the initial joy from her system, she sobers a little and presses her lips together in thought. "If I am? How long do you think? Days? Weeks? Should I stay at home? Not come to work?"

"I'll know more after I get the results. For now, carry on as you would normally, just be… cautious?" Shoulders come up in a gentle shrug. "If you shut yourself away, people might worry about why. In a community like ours, fear is a very powerful thing. We don't need more of it in these walls." A flicker of a glance to panties stuck on fence barbs. She should be gracious and climb for it for Delia.

But, "I should go. I'm not a paying customer, after all. Wouldn't want to get bounced or anything." Odessa rises from her seat and turns to take a step back toward the building, but pauses. "You'll be fine, Delia. I'm sure of it. Don't worry about what you can't change."

As she walks away, the irony of dispensing advice she rarely follows herself isn't lost on her. But there's a bottle of vodka in the freezer calling to her. And phone calls she has to make. There will be other days for Odessa to work on self-betterment. Maybe.

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