Dinner Guests


cardinal_icon.gif nataliya_icon.gif tuck_icon.gif

Scene Title Dinner Guests
Synopsis One is expected, the other crashes.
Date May 24, 2009

Tucker's Pawn Shop

Tuck is actually not a bad cook. Once upon a time, he cooked dinners for Dasha, Nataliya, Alexi and young Rocket in a respectable suburban house in a now-decimated part of Staten Island. Now he cooks over a hot plate and with a toaster oven in the back room of a pawn shop in the Rookery.

Still, the food isn't bad. Bacon-wrapped chicken breasts, garlic mashed potatoes and a nice salad. Just ignore the part where it's being served up on the fold-out poker table, the plates are all mismatched and that Nataliya's got wine to drink out of a coffee mug. "So punkin. What're you doing for work these days?"

Nataliya is okay with a mug of wine. She was never really the classiest of girls, and she takes a long gulp, perched on a chair, before replying to Tuck. "Work at a shop. Chop shop on the side. Not fiding people chainsaw attachments for their hands. Or claws." Her brow furrows. She's still disturbed by that little encounter.

The front of the shop is closed up. Obviously, this means that Tuck's in the back, either sleeping or doing inventory or something, since the idea of him actually going out or having a girl over is an utterly alien concept to the thief that makes his way through the filthy alley out back. It's not as if he was gone that long.

Thump thump thump. It's a fist on the back door.

"Chop shop, huh? Well. If you need a fence, I know a good one." Tuck gives his best faux-modest smile as he adds a little butter to the mashed potatoes. "Chainsaw attach-..?" But that thought is cut off by the pounding at the door. He grabs a towel and wipes off his fingers, then heads over to the barred entry.

He gets on his toes (hey, he's not a tall guy) and peers through the peephole. "Well well well." He tugs at the heavy metal bar and slides it across, then pulls it open. "Mister Cardinal. Here I was thinking you were dead."

Nataliya leans forward in her seat to peer intently at the door as it opens, one hand drifting toward her discarded jacket until Tuck greets the man. The name rings a bell, so she settles for just eyeing the newcomer over the rim of her mug.

A crane of Richard's head lets him look past Tuck, noticing dinner set out and a woman perched on a chair. "What, so you threw a party to celebrate?" He grins, then, clapping a hand on the other man's shoulder and moving to push past him into the place, whether or not he was actually invited. "I was out've town on work, is all. Hey." The latter to Nataliya, a lift of his chin in affable greeting, "I interrupting something?" Well, now he asks.

"Yes. I believe chicken is the traditional 'Cardinal is dead' dinner. I added my own flare with the bacon, though." Tuck doesn't seem too bothered by the fact that the thief is inviting himself in. Hey, at at least he knocked?

"Out of town? Lucrative, I hope?" A brow arches, then he seems to suddenly remember his manners. "Ah. Richard Cardinal, meet Nataliya Go…N..Nataliya." Right. No dropping the family name. He doesn't know her alias, so instead he settles on awkward.

Nataliya rolls her eyes with a long-suffering look. "Nataliya will do," she says. "If I say you are interrupting something, will you go away?" It's phrased more curiously than unkindly. Seriously, would you go away?

"Probably," admits Cardinal as he reaches out to steal a cherry tomato from the salad, "Don't shit where you sleep, after all. Good to meet you." He tosses up the tomato, catches it in his mouth, chews, swallows and then flashes a grin over to Tuck, "I probably should leave you two alone, god knows the last time that Tuck had a girl around. We can talk business another time…"

Tuck returns to mashing the potatoes. "Glad to see you'd allow me personal space under duress there, Card." He eyes the little tomato trick. "Ay ay, this isn't a charity dinner there, pal. You have any idea how fucking expensive cherry tomatoes are on this rock?"

He's not hospitable enough to have taken out another plate, but he's not asking Cardinal to leave, either. "Nataliya is family." He gives Cardinal a pointed look. It says both 'don't ask for more details' and 'mess with her and we'll have issues.' It's a very pointed look.

That really is super-pointy. Nataliya gives a light snort. "Good to meet you. And yes, I am family. Or may as well be. What do you charge for tomatos, my old friend?"

"Ah. I could fix that little problem for you, you know." Cardinal claims a chair for himself, though at least he's not reaching for a plate to serve himself. He's not that intrusive. Usually. He drops into it backwards, arms folding over the back as he notes casually, "There might be another trade route coming through Staten soon."

Tuck returns to serving up dinner. He ignores Cardinal's intrusion for the moment as he sets the plate of food in front of Nataliya and squeezes her shoulder. He makes a plate for himself, then sits down. He's got his usual glass of V8 juice. No booze for the recovering alcoholic. "Fresh produce is fucking hard to get your hands on. I've been living off fish sticks and pot pies for a month. Took some doing to get enough to make a salad."

He starts to cut into his chicken, then lifts a brow at Cardinal's words. "Oh?"

"I know I feel special," Nataliya tells Tuck amiably. She picks up a fork and starts in on her salad, stabbing up one of the cherry tomatoes. "Go on," she tells Cardinal. "No need to be dramatic."

"We'll be openin' up an airfield," says Cardinal, quirking a slight grin at the 'dramatic' comment, "Can bring in plenty of supplies, amenities… 'course, right now we're lacking in anyone that's got the sort of business acumen to work out sales and distribution."

A pointed look at Tuck.

"You are special, punkin." Aww. Tuck's more familial instincts have resurfaced after Nataliya's return. It's perhaps possible to see how he was a family man for a good number of years. An…organized crime family man, but one nonetheless.

Cardinal's news makes his brows raise. He cuts into a piece of chicken and chews it thoughtfully. "Just who have you hooked up with lately who has airplanes there, bud? Sounds like you're moving up in the world."

Nataliya chews a mouthful of salad, grinding lettuce and vegetables 'round and 'round. Her eyebrows go up, too. "…Yes. Very interesting, whoever this person or persons is."

"Li'l outfit called Chicago Air," admits the shadowman with a shrug, one hand lifting in a vague sort of gesture, "This project's all mine, though. Staten's a huge market waiting for exploitation, and I'd rather it be me doing the exploiting." He grins, then, "'Course, I don't mind letting some old friends in on the action."

Tuck looks a bit dubious, but he hears Cardinal out. "We-ell. I may be interested. Depending on the details and how risky it is." He cuts off another piece of chicken, then forks up a mouthful of mashed potatoes. He corners a glance at Nataliya to check her reaction.

Nataliya's eyebrows remain up. She swallows her current mouthful and waves her fork at Cardinal. "Ah. The ones who actually come here. You know the owner? Interesting." Second time she's said that.

Cardinal exhales a low chuckle at the observation, a smile quirking up at one corner of his lips. "I know a lot of people," he notes with a shrug, "I need to talk to Zarek, still, convince him to keep Linderman's people away from my operation, but I'm confident I can get him to agree without too many problems."

Tuck wrinkles his nose. Ew. Zarek. Not his bestest buddy. "Just do some negotiating for a fair cut of the profits." He dribbles a bit of dressing over the salad and spears some greens. "So. What do you want from me, exactly." He pops the mouthful in and chews htoughtfully.

Mmm. Chicken and bacon, together at last. Nataliya tears a strip of bacon off the chicken with her fingers, dropping it into her mouth and chewing, regarding Cardinal through narrowed eyes. "Perhaps some of your selection of bobbly-heads for the control panels of the planes?"

"Could work," Cardinal replies without missing a beat. One hand scratches under his chin a bit, answering Tuck easily, "Well, like I pointed out… selling shit? Not exactly my speciality. You, though, you know the market here on Staten, Tuck. Know what people want, and how best to price it. It's a different scale than your shop here, but same principles."

Tuck does that thing where he looks at Cardinal over the top of his plastic framed glasses. Like he doesn't trust his lenses to show him the truth. "Hm." He tilts his head up and pushes the glasses up his nose. "Well. I'd have to see some more information before I would be on board. Because the bigger you get, the more of a target you make yourself." He glances pointedly towards Nataliya. Her sister knows all about that. "I'd have to be sure it was worth it."

Nataliya picks another piece of bacon up and gives Tuck an innocent, innocent look, all dark doey eyes and everything. "So is that a tentative yes, Tucker?" She's had just a touch of wine, so just a touch of accent is slipping through.

Cardinal's chin dips down a bit, regarding Tuck in return over the edge of his own shades. A smile twitches to his lips at the response, and he allows casually, "I'll keep you in the loop as shit goes forward, then, ol' buddy of mine."

Tuck gives a little fond, longsuffering eyeroll towards Nataliya. Then he returns his attention to Cardinal. "Seems you've been a busy bee. Thieving not good enough for you anymore?" That's a tease. "But if you find yourself in need of my business acumen, if all of this actually goes forward?" He gestures with fork and knife. "By all means, give me a call."

"This is heartwarming," Nataliya declares cheerfully. She raises her mug o' wine up. "A toast. To new business."

"To new business," Cardinal agrees easily, "I'll gladly toast if someone gets me a drink."

"Get yourself a drink. You know where the fridge is. I'm entertaining family, here." Tuck's tone is wryly caustic and punctuated with a grin. He pops a bit of bacon into his mouth and bites into it. Crrunch.

"Lazy," Nataliya tells Tuck with a knowing nod, already teasing the newcomer. That's how she rolls. Having picked off all her bacon, she licks her fingers and deigns to use utensils again. "How long have you two known each other?"

"You're such a good host." Cardinal grins—pushing himself up to his feet with a shove of both arms off the back of the chair, he saunters along over towards the fridge. "Oh, few years now. I bring him shit, he sells it. Occasionally we play poker."

"And occasionally, he wins," says Tuck with a nod of his head towards the other man. There's beer in the fridge for company. It's been there since the last poker game, actually. It says something about his self control that he can stand to have booze in the house as a recovering alcoholic. "I'm running low on ammo. You know anyone?"

Nataliya checks her watch and starts scooping mashed potatos into her mouth, snickering at Tuck and Cardinal with great amusement. And sometimes he wins! "He has taken far too much of my money."

"Yeah, he pretty much doesn't have to pay for anything I fuckin' sell him, since he'll just get the money back," Cardinal grumbles good-naturedly as he pulls the fridge open. Oh, hey, it's the six pack he brought last game. He pulls one of the lagers free, and pushes the door closed, strolling back towards the table once more. "Ammo? Hm. You talked to Flint Deckard? He used to deal guns, not sure if he's still in the biz…"

"He's my competition, Cardo. Well. Sort of. I don't deal in bulk." But still. Tuck is a weapons dealer of a sort. "If I get desperate, I'll go to him. But I doubt he'll give me a good price." He grabs a few more tomatoes out of the bowl and pops them in his mouth. As far as his gambling prowess goes? He grins. "Oh you young whipper snappers will catch up to me one day."

"Likely with a baseball bat," is Nataliya's cheerful reply.

"I can always bring over some boxes from the mainland," Cardinal offers, dropping himself back into the chair with a chuckle, "I might even give you a good price."

Tuck flicks a bit of cauliflower at Nataliya. "Hush, you. Eat your vegetables." He motions with his fork to her plate. "See what you can do, Card. All you have to do is undersell Deckard." What good's selling guns without ammo?

Nataliya shoves another forkful into her mouth and pushes herself up out of her seat. "I cannot. I have to get to work again." She crosses the table, leaning over to give Tuck a kiss on the cheek. "Thank you."

Cardinal's chin lifts up in an easy nod, allowing, "Good meeting you, Nataliya. Any friend of Tuck's…" A pause, then he grins, "…is suspect as hell, but I suppose family's okay."

Nataliya smiles brightly at Cardinal, nods to Tuck. "I like him. He's sensible."

"Hey! That's…" a pause. Tuck scratches his chin. "…a fair assessment." And then to Nataliya, "You take care there, Tali. Tell me if any of the boys bother you. I'll beat up their dads." He wags a finger.

"So what is it that you're off to do, anyway," Cardinal asks curiously as Nataliya prepares to go, reaching over to ever-so-subtly steal her plate. Hey, she's leaving!

"And ruin my fun?" Nataliya asks Tuck brightly with an impish look. She shrugs a shoulder at Cardinal, collecting her worn old baseball cap and shoving it on her head, threading her ponytail through. "Cars. I work on cars." And with that, she's heading out the back door.

Tuck grins after Nataliya as she heads out the door. Cardinal gets a dirty look for stealing the plate, but he doesn't yank it back. Oh well. "She's a mechanic," he clarifies as he quasi sister-in-law heads out. "Damn good one too."

"Not a bad business to be in," Cardinal admits, settling the plate before him and picking up a fork to dig in, "Seems pretty cool."

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