Did You Keep The Cuffs?


isis2_icon.gif mack_icon.gif

Scene Title Did You Keep the Cuffs?
Synopsis Isis isn't as good as Nancy Drew - Mack is quick to point that out, and sucker her into what becomes an interesting time at a nearby bar.
Date October 1, 2009

Outside a bank and inside a small, Irish pub.

Isis sits at a café across the street as the lunch rush begins to thin out, sending the majority of people back to their jobs. With a little sigh she signs her name, beginning with an 'I', before crossing out the letter and signing J. King in a practiced penmanship. With that she pushes to her feet, dipping into the crosswalk and making for her target: The bank.

This afternoon's mission is a simple scouting. With a sigh the redhead leans against the corner of the building, fishing a palm-sized camera out of her pocket. She's dressed conservatively - a buttondown shirt of various, striped greens paired with black slacks and black boots. Attractive, but certainly not enough to stand out in the business suits that are making their way back to the office - at least not to an untrained eye.

She keeps her hazel eyes set on the door, oblivious to the world around her.

Up against one wall of the bank is a man who really doesn't fit in with the business crowd. And yet, this is New York, so his presence is noted and quickly dismissed by most. A black wifebeater covers his torso, revealing the tattoo's that crawl up and down his visible skin, and a pair of somewhat baggy blue jeans. This man has a cigarette in one hand and a cell phone in the other, apparently furiously texting and oblivious to the world around him.

Except that he's not, and nothing about him is quite what it seems. Like a bad James Bond impression, Mack's cellphone key-punching is nothing but a ruse. In fact, he's texting himself- his phone keeps making noise, but with none of the distraction. His target is an older Fat Man; expensive suit, well groomed beard, and at least an extra hundred pounds draped off the man's gut. Fat Man just happened to be enjoying cuisine at the same establishment as Isis; unfortunately for her, the Irish in him can't ignore an attractive redhead. At least, that was his initial motivation in keeping a spare eye on her impressive form. Once the camera comes out, his curiousity suddenly multiplies.

And, so the watcher has become another individual's fuel for attention.

"G'morning, Senior Bruso," Isis whispers to herself, as her watching and waiting proves worthwhile. A tall gentleman, wrinkled with age and the stress of balancing books, steps from the glass doors. Her adjusts his tie as he looks down into a day planner balanced in his palm, only to snap the leather case shut. In a simple motion, Isis lifts the camera, cupped discretely in her pale palm, and snaps a quick picture.

Lowering the little device reveals a triumphant smile playing on pale features that stand behind a few breeze-blown curls. Mr. Bruso turns right, and Isis follows after him - their game of follow the oblivious leader taking them right past the watchful man in the black beater. Too focused on her target, Isis struts right on by a few wide paces behind the bank employee.

Pride is the Devil's Playground. At least, that is what they used to tell Mack. This is one of the reasons he has so little trouble humiliating himself, often for little or no reason at all. This time, who knows. Maybe she is just too pretty to let it go. Maybe its a gut feeling that she has something he might need. Maybe its just boredom. But beater man is not going to make the senorita's life any easier.

When he speaks, his accent is thick. He sounds like somebody who moved from the old country straight into Boston. Or at least Hell's Kitchen. Or any slum recent poor emmigrants are shoved into when they move to America. "Ey, beautiful, where are you going? You must not have seen me standing there. Been waiting out here all day to take you for a drink. I hope you're not this distracted later on, I'd be frightfully disappointed."

Beautiful? Isis's attention falters, her steps skittering aside to put some distance between herself and the voice that suddenly sounds through her thoughts and draws her attention to the man at her side. A quick look back reveal Mr. Bruso continuing onward on his pleasantly oblivious stroll.

"I'm flattered," she begins, plainly prepared to brush the man off. She pauses, head canting to the side as her gaze roam unabashedly from the man's head to toes, and back again. Hubba hubba.

She quickly shakes her head and clears her throat, jostling her thoughts back into order. "Really, I am. But, you see I have this meeting." Her own voice is notably void of any accent, impossible to place, with thanks to much practice. The tones are a soft, breezy alto, though. She begins to walk backward, passersby shuffling around the ignorant young woman as she tries to offer an apologetically-dismissive smile while catching up to her mark.

"Aahh. Fuckin' meetings. Waste of time, if you ask me." Obviously, given his attire and 'personal modifications', Mack is no one's idea of 'executive material'. "Your time would be much better spent at a pub havin' a pint with little ole me. A good brew sets tongues a waggin', and puts people in decidedly forgiving mood."

With that, Mack flicks his spent cigarette into the street where it careens off the side of a taxi. The driver continues on, unaffected by this atrocious insult. "Aaand I'm thinkin' both those things'd be advantageous for a pretty girl playin' Nancy Drew with a camera outside a fine establishment like a bank. I hear banks look at Nancy Drew's in a less than favorable light, ya know."

The initial comment earns the man a perturbed, falsely kind smile. The last, however, has the redhead stopping in her tracks. Her fingers itch around the contours of the little camera before dipping in back into her pocket. "Nancy Drew is blonde - I don't appreciate the comparison," she replies with an icy-flat tone.

Another moment, and a heavy sigh, and she inclines her chin in a stubbornly proud fashion before stepping forward to reclaim the distance between herself and Beater Boy. "You sure do know how to get a girl's attention," she quips over a bitter sweet smile. The words reveal the first hints of a Bostonian accent - always the first clue to her annoyance. "Are the drinks on you then? I sure could use one right 'bout now." With a last glance backward, to take in Mr. Bruso disappearing around the block corner, Isis makes a gesture for her new 'friend' to lead the way.

"Aye, I'm a good Irish boy. I'll take you somewhere the drinks are free." Mack's lips curve upwards in an all too satisfied of a smile. One might even venture to describe it as smug. If he is at all disturbed by the icy twist to her tone, he reveals none of it. "Besides, I've never seen tit nor tail of this Nancy Drew, its just a name people throw around sarcastically as far as I'm concerned."

He leads them both down a few streets, lighting a cigarette as they go. "So whats up with the pictures, then? My gut says robbery, but my eyes tell me you're more of a con girl. Trick the stupid boys into giving you what you need to rob them blind. But my heart, lass; now my heart aches for it to be far more creative than any of that."

An Irish boy!? She mentally swats down the thought and silently chastises herself. Yes, a damn Irish boy - and, one that had caught her, no less. Grumble grumble.

A lightly hued brow pops up into a subtle arc, hazel eyes - that currently tend towards a vibrant green with her current mood - taking in the man from her peripheral vision. "A girl like me doesn't give away all her secrets on the first date," she replies coyly. She stretches on her arm, beginning to roll up the cuffs of her shirt sleeve before doing the same to the opposite arm.

"If it impresses you enough to keep you quiet on the matter, though," she continues with a more sly expression, turning her visage to take in the man more fully. "It's much more than that. I don't half-ass anything. So, Mr. Spoil-sport, what's your name?" She glances to the cigarette a moment before holding out a hand expectantly. If he was going to spoil her day, she certainly wasn't going to make even her usually weak effort to play by boring social rules.

Mack slips an extra cigarette out of the pack, amenable enough as long as she's talking. He sets the thing lightly in her hand, and one could almost feel a wink coming if it wasn't for those dark sunglasses covering his eyes. As they turn a corner, he walks in direct light for the first time. That odd grid on his face becomes visible; its incredibly faint these days, but its still there on the upper left quadrant.

"Much more, eh? I'm intrigued. But the whole, beautiful and mysterious thing only goes so far with me. Old habits die hard." This, sadly, is said as they come to a little Irish pub- how fitting -that really is more a hole in the wall than a bar. Inside, its all wood and shadowy corners. Two patrons are settled at one end of the bar, chatting quietly with the bartender.

Mack holds up two fingers to the older gentleman who seems to run the place. He's older, but not the stereotypical portly fellow; he's got a barrel chest and looks solid as a rock. As Mack takes a seat, he finally answers his question. "My name is Gabriel McNamera. Feel special, its my real name, and its not something I'd normally tell somebody like you. Most people just call me Mack." His lips twist, just a touch, at this last admission. The abbreviated nickname probably wasn't his idea.

Then comes the drink. Or, drinks. Each receives a tall glass of Guiness and a shot of whiskey.

"Gabriel," she says with a key of compliment easing over her airy tones. She slips easily into the seat, making no motion to ban the few golden-garnet coils of hair that dance across her features. "I'm Joanne King. Jo, for short. It's as real as any other name, and the one I go by now." His honesty had earned him that much. It was plainly something she valued above all else - but, not enough to put the power and risk of her real name in the hands of a stranger.

The Irish woman eyes the tall glass of dark beer a moment. She didn't care for beer much, but if she's apt to drink it, she's glad it's a Guiness. She wraps her slender fingers around the whiskey first. "The mysterious thing works both ways," she begins as she spins the glass beneath her fingers. "It'll only hook me for so long, Gabe. So, keep being honest with me and this will work out well…" First things first. "You got a good eye - what were you doing at the bank, and how did you spot me?" She finally lifts the glass and takes a healthy swig - or, unhealthy dependent on one's view of alcoholism. She downs the shot like a good Irish girl.

Mack is a bit of a pro. And probably started drinking for the day at breakfast. So when he pounds his shot, its gone as soon as the glass touches his lips. Fortunately, this also means he gives no outward indications of intoxication. "I was following an older fella. I like to call him Fat Man, but his name is Lanier. Ridiculous, true, but what do you expect from the Germans? Anyway, he's not really important, but I think he might know somebody who is. Somebody I would love to find in a dark alley. Don't get the wrong impression, I'm as gentle as a new ma, but I don't take kindly to people trying to do foul things to me and my friends."

Then he starts in with the beer. Its not great, but its the right price. "Anyway, in the sake of honesty, at first I was just checking you out. Friendly on the eyes. That's how I happened to be looking when your camera came out- little tip, you can get a little phone that'll work just as well but looks a lot less conspicuous. This day and age nobody uses cameras. Anyway, I decided to talk to you on a hunch that it'd prove more fruitful than Fat Man. And if you're wondering why a good Irish American like myself would notice such little details, its because a couple of months ago I was an NYPD detective." Here he takes a long draught. "Was a shame, really. Job was equally limiting to my ability to drink during the day and protect people."

Well, that was easy. "Are you always so trusting?" she inquires with a smile that reaches her eyes, letting their color tend back towards a golden hazel. Still, she makes no reply on yet another voiced compliment paid in the direction of her beauty - she still wasn't quite used to it. "NYPD," she notes, trying not to show the tension this little tidbit brings. "Wouldn't have peg you for a cop. Do you still have the cuffs?" she inquires almost offhandedly, the devilishly sweet expression shining through as she leans back, tugging the beer along with her.

"Who're you looking for?" Somehow she hoped she could help, and at the same time that she couldn't - she's got more than enough on her plate without entangling herself in further affairs. But, she had to admit it to herself - the man's blatant honesty had snagged her from the beginning.

"No." The word, as simple as it is, conveys so much more. Mack pulls the sunglasses from his face and sets them on the bar, scrubbing his hand across his eyes. When he turns them towards her, they narrow and then return to normal. Except that they're never normal. Not that he can make them change colors or they possess the secret to a super power, they're just not right. His eyes are emerald… except, slightly faded. "I don't know why I told you anything true. Guess I had to. I don't trust anyone."

Before the mood turns dour and veers off into some crazed Lifetime special, he forces his lips upwards again. "Guess its your pretty eyes. Never seen any do that. And you're right, I'm not very cop-like. I was a firefighter before the bomb, and only because I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie. And I'm not a cop now because they drove me batshit crazy. Yes, I kept the cuffs. And I'm looking for a lot of people. One, apparently, fancies himself a Sandman. Another is Norman White. The one Fat Man can lead me to, I don't know his name." There is a pause here as he happily, as if he wasn't just chatting like a teenaged girl, takes a sip of his beer. "And you owe me some more of your story, because if I talk about myself anymore I'm going to have to kill one of us."

Gulp. "Fancies himself a Sandman?" She manages, just barely, to keep her chuckle from being too nervous, covering it with a sip of beer.

"What do you want to know?" she inquires, sidling back forward to rest her elbows on the table, hands cupping the base of her glass. "I'm more trouble than I worth. Best as I can see it - what people love me for in the beginning, they hate me for in the end." She shrugs and glances down into the dark brew, trying to fathom just why she'd so readily admitted such a thing. "I left college to come here. I bartend over at Biddy's, when I'm not stalking bankers down the street." She looks back up with an easy smirk, dipping back into an easier string of thoughts. "But, that's not the sort of thing you care to here. You think you've earned yourself a secret?" She cants her head to the side like a curious feline, looking up from beneath the fan of ebon-lined lashes. "I'm Evolved," she states, opening her palms in a here I am nature. "So, if you're one of those Anti-Evo goons, here's where things get sticky -" She pauses, pursing her lips. "Sticky in an unpleasant way, I mean," she notes offhandedly, even while meeting those opaque-emerald eyes closely.

"I prefer good sticky." Mack doesn't shy away from her. His eyes do shift back and forth, though, as his attention shifts from one of her eyes to the other, occasionally drifting to take in anything the rest of her face might have to offer. "But we're both in luck, because I'm a super mutie myself. In fact, it explains my weird eyes- which, for future reference, is why I wear sunglasses even inside and at night -and my nifty face lines."

For now, he offers no further explanation on that subject. Instead he rapidly switches gears and heads off in another direction. "And of course, the Sandman isn't actually a man… She's a woman. And an evo, like you and me. Well, kind of like you and me." More beer. Then another gear. "Is it rude to ask someone what their evolution entails? I mean when its already been disclosed that they're evo."

Relief - there is a flicker of it over her features. So the wording of the phrase had not meant as she thought. "She's a lost woman - or so I hear." There is enough pause to indicate that the slender redhead may or may not be of some assistance in that matter. She slides away from the topic easily, however. "It's not rude, that I know of. But…" She pauses, tapping the side of her glass to turn the dark liquid inside into a dance of ripples.

With a sigh of resignation she leans forward again, pursing her lips and twitching her nose - a habit that seems inspired when she's given to a moment of deep thought. "It stays between you and I, yes? Gods, I hope your trust is as promising as your honesty…" She eases a half-hearted smile over her lips, an attractively torn expression. "I swap bodies."

One of Mack's eyebrows arches skyward at the proclamation. "That…" Admittedly, it takes him a moment to formulate any kind of response to that. "Your secret is safe with me. Especially considering I'm not… entirely… sure what that would mean. Like, you could kick me out of mine?" For now he lets talk of the Sandman go; it can always come up again another time. "In the interest of fairness, there is a name for me. I'm a regenerator. But then, that's a shitty secret, since being a cop and on SCOUT I'm obviously registered."

"It's strange, yeah. Or, so I've been told. Even among the Evolved it's a bit awkward." She nods a bit, but smiles as she notes her companion's slight uneasiness. "Yup. If I don't have a good control over it, if I'm not concentrating enough…" She throws her hands up and crosses her arms, making a motion of swapping her palms. "It's not a friendly or pleasant experience either, I assure you." She chuckles and grins, all the more pleasant for the promise of secrecy. "I'm not registered, and nor do I want to be, Mr. ExCop. From what I hear, and from what I've done, the knowledge of my ability is enough to track me down and get me in some trouble. So…" She shrugs her shoulder, trying to make light and casual of her moment of trust and the weak predicament in which it has left her - it's not a feeling she copes with easily.

And so, with that in mind, she suddenly pushes up from her seat. "In that case, I think I'm going to leave - given that you've already shamelessly busted me in the middle of business and managed to finagle yourself some rather heft information, Gabriel." Her smile is once more bitter-sweet as she snags a pen from her pocket - proving some nerdiness in that she carries it around, and jots down her number on a coaster. "Good luck with the Fat Man, Gabe," she says, sliding the coaster across the table before turning for the door, flashing a peace sign over her shoulder before slipping out onto the sidewalk.

One look at the coaster reveals a quick sketch of an Egyptian Scarab beetle over the redhead's phone number. Witty, ain't she?

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