Double or Nothing


delia_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Double or Nothing
Synopsis Someone's in need of some serious cash and pretty much loses it all.
Date June 16, 2011

Shooters Bar and Bistro

A place that used to be a cafe and is making a slow progression towards being a dive bar. During the day, the balcony and a good portion of the sidewalk is taken up by outdoor chairs and tables, where people can enjoy a beer as well as a sandwich or whatever else is on their menu - a decent, if simply array of bar food. During the evening, unless it's a warm night, these are taken inside, and the kitchens are closed. A wide variety of beer is available, along with hard liquor and maybe a few wine labels, but nothing fancy. The interior decor is similar to traditional British pubs, with a hardwood bar and brick wall. There's an old pool table towards the back, along with a dart board. The building is actually two storeys high, but whatever is upstairs is inaccessible to the general public.

Sometime after the sun sets but before the sirens sound for curfew, the crowd at the bistro is loud and rather obnoxious. Toward the back there's a small group gathered, laughing and cheering on as a young woman with red hair crows along with a few young men, betting on where the next dart will land. She's drunk. So are they.

The Rookery has been a rough place to be avoided for as long as Delia's been aware of its presence. With the introduction of the anklet to her life and combination of the sudden loss of everything she holds dear, she's been alternating between paranoia and reckless abandon. Whichever way the wind blows her that day, tonight, she's been swaying toward the reckless.

"Okay, okay!!" Her sudden announcement comes with two raised hands for silence. "I'll bet… uhm… the ring in my pocket against your car.. it's the red one out front right? I'll bet my ring against your car that the next one goes right into that little red dot in the middle!"

She hasn't been able to hit the board all night, let alone the bullseye but she's also been getting better at lying.

This is not a place Jaiden normally goes to.

While he is Australian and a pub is a comforting thing where food and friendship are shared liberally, the location itself, just off of Staten Island, is a bit too close for comfort, considering he's on the run. Still, with his errands finished in this part of town, it was a good idea to fill the void in his belly with something not out of a can, which is why he decided, against his better judgement, to step in and order a sandwich.

Sitting with his back against a wall so he can watch the comings and goings fairly easily, he munches quietly on his club sandwich, occasionally taking a pull from some no-name longneck beer that cost entirely too much, but let's face it, sometimes a bloke needs a beer. He can hold his alcohol, but the voices from around the dartboard in the back? They seem to have a problem with it.

The bet does get his attention - a ring for a car? And that voice does sound a bit familiar, even slurring with alcohol….He looks up and over to see if he can see who the people are making the high-dollar bet.

Just in time to see Delia pull something from her pocket and hold it up high for everyone to see.

The sparkle of the diamond in the center, a little too large for a finger as slender as hers, catches the eye of one of the young men. The owner of the car seems a little nonplussed and waves a hand at it. Perhaps he has no interest in an engagement ring of that much value.

"I can get at least a grand at a pawn shop," she raises her chin in a challenge to the vehicle's owner. "You think you can get that much for the rust bucket outside?"

Or just in time to see something pulled from a pocket and held overhead. The crowd around Delia, four or five drunkards, jostles slightly, making identification from Jaiden's table a little difficult, but the sparkle of the diamond held overhead? Considering it's above the heads of the guys, it's not hard to miss that.

Jaiden polishes off his sandwich and stands, leaving the plate and a few dollars for a tip as he heads back to the dart board. Curiosity has the better of him now, and he wants to see who, exactly, is making this bet with an altogether familiar-looking ring.

The rust bucket outside is more valued for its speed than its looks, the red of its flaking paint is faded and bubbled in too many spots to count. Still, its owner isn't willing to make the bet until he appraises the ring himself. Reaching out, he grabs the bauble from the young woman's hand and inspects it closely before giving his nod of consent.

There's a cheer from the rest.

With an expression of drunken satisfaction, Delia wheels around and wobbles before taking aim. All of her bets tonight rest on this one. She's lost nearly everything so far. "Get back! Gimme some space!" The command is complied with easily enough as the young men fall away, giving view to her slender figure as she hesitates with the dart next to her ear.

Sure, it's a rust bucket, but it's a Camaro - the pride of white trash the world around - and holds it's value fairly well. The ring, when sold, could easily get some new tires, fix the hole in the exhaust, and make it look a little less like a beater and more like a car. But the ring…it's worth more than that.

When the ring is taken, when the bet is made, Jaiden catches sight of the red-haired woman who he was to marry, standing wobbly with a dart near her ear, and his stomach falls. He thinks back, briefly, to the time that they were in the dream, that she was lost. The time that he gave her his heart to help warm her and guide her through the darkness, and in a sense, help her find her way home. That ring was a symbol of the heart Jaiden gave her. And now it's being used as a pawn in a game of chance that, obviously, is rigged.

As he approaches, Jaiden squares his shoulders, looking as intimidating as he can which, to be honest, as a six-foot guy built like a brick shithouse, is pretty easy. "Don't you think…" he says to no-one in particular, but loud enough to be heard by Delia and her bettors, "that bettin' a drunk woman her ring on a game of darts is a little unsporting?"

There's a bit of a feral hiss when Delia spins around, ready to throw the entire bet and plant the dart in the Australian's head. "Go away!" She growls toward the large man, reaching with her free hand to shove her way past him, still holding the dart in her other. "I need the car." Its the confidence in her voice that makes the man she bet against lose his and he slinks through the crowd and out the door.

It doesn't go unnoticed by the redhead as she pivots toward Jaiden, pointing the plastic feathers at him. There's a scowl on her face, it's something he hasn't seen before. Her blue eyes shoot toward the door that's swinging shut and she slumps, letting lose a long sigh. "I needed that car…"

He's not used to being lectured or having a dart used as a wand, but here it happens, right in the middle of the bar. Jaiden sighs, pinching his brow and shaking his head before crossing his arms over his chest and inclining his chin toward the dartboard. "you're drunk, Delia. You're completely out of it." A pause. "Do it, then. Right here, right now. My ring for the car I drove here in." Not her ring, his ring…how interesting.

"Am not!" As belligerent as ever, the redhead denies all claims of drunkenness and turns toward the board. With one last narrow eyed look at Jaiden, she twists and hurls the dart toward the center. She closes her eyes for the flight, not wanting to jinx herself or her chances of winning both prizes, the ring and the car. Her fingers curl into fists and she flinches as she hears the little pin land with a thud.

Just off center.

Anti-climactic, the crowd turns its back on her and a few of them shuffle back to the bar, some out the door to be home before curfew settles for the night. "No… no no no.." Delia's shoulders sag as she sees the feathers angling out from a black spot, not red. "I can't lose…" She pivots to face the Australian again, her eyes wide and watery. "Double or nothing… Double or nothing… Please Jaiden.. Please.." There's a strong measure of desperation in her plea.

He watches the dart fly impassively toward the board, his arms crossed, flinching a little as it sinks solidly into the black just to the left of the bullseye. He had won! But why, pray tell, did it feel so bad that he had? The bet, when it was made, was heavily slanted in Jaiden's favor. It was lucky that he made that bet, too, because if she had continued, she would have been out a car and a ring. It's better that he win then anyone else because they might not give the Double or Nothing a second thought and take it all from her in her desperation.

He shakes his head in the negative. "Not right now. Come sit with me. Let's talk for a while. Catch up for old times sake."

It's not the most ideal situation, not by far, but Delia seems either drunk enough or willing enough to comply with that simple request. "So later then? Double or nothing later?" What she's not willing to do is let the subject rest. her nails dig into the meat of his forearm, not enough to hurt but just enough to let him know that she's there and waiting for his answer. They rake off his skin when she reaches one of the chairs at his empty table and she slumps into it, a jut of her chin toward the bartender signals her need for yet another drink.

Before he sits, her eyes dart toward the door, gauging the amount of time it might take her to race out and steal the car. Possibly longer than a conversation and she might not actually make it. "So… catch me up then… are you okay? Are you good?" Her speech is a little hurried, her mannerism a little on the edgy side compared to how easily she was talking to the young men earlier.

Jaiden only has 1.5 beers in his system, and it's that watery stuff that passes for Beer in the states, so he's pleasantly refreshed instead of being buzzed or even sloshed. But Delia….Delia's acting different. Completely different than the woman he knew even six months back. He doesn't reply as he slips into the chair, his back to the wall, watching Delia closely with those olive eyes of his. "I'm doing okay. Still working on things, here and there. Had a showing of my photographs from inside the dome, which was popular and got a lot of good press."

The slumping, the jerk of her chin toward the bartender for yet another drink, gets a lift of Jaiden's eyebrow but he doesn't say anything just yet about it. "How about you? I kind of lost track of you when you left the apartment, and you really haven't done much for keeping in contact with much of anyone in any of my circles." He crosses one leg over the other, rocking back in his seat. "Are you okay? What's been going on in your life? This place…." He glances around with a small smile. "Doesn't look like your kind of joint."

Delia lifts one shoulder as she glances around the place, lighting up as her drink is brought to her. She reaches for it and then looks toward Jaiden, as if expecting him to pay for it. He did ask her to sit down with him. "I'm not welcome there anymore," she says nonchalantly in regards to keeping in contact, "I live in Eltingville."

The stony expression is reserved for the rest of the public but he knows her well enough to take the cues of her body language. The slump, meant to make her seem smaller and less noticeable. The way her feet slip under the chair, ready to push off and kick into a run if needed. "They put an ankle thing on me… they're looking for my dad."

There's probably a sigh of relief from Delia when the words 'put it on my tab' are murmured to the waitress that brings Delia's drink. Jaiden turns his attention from the crowd and back to Delia, listening to her tale, nodding. "Eltingville…." this is said with a note of uncertainty. "I've heard a lot of things about that place. Some good, some bad. Somewhere I'm avoiding for as long as I can."

He watches her, observant of her nonverbal cues. "They probably want everyone in the sailing club, to be honest. He's just one of the more important members, and it'd look good if they could recruit him to their club." Flowery language to say 'they want to catch him.' "They bugged you?" He leans over slightly to peer at her ankle, straightening after a moment. "You're a Ryans. You know better than to go looking for him now."

He's quiet, letting her drink her drink, finishing his beer, the brown bottle placed on the table, label peeled off nonchalantly. "Why did you need a car? Why did you make such a long bet?"

"I could have won… I need the money," Delia's voice cracks and she looks away from him, refusing to even look at his face as she lifts the straw to her mouth. "I want to find someone to get it off… then I'm going to disappear." Her eyes drift to study his fingers as they pick at the paper label on his bottle, perhaps a little envious that she doesn't have something to keep her occupied as well. So she opts to dunk her straw and swirl it around in her glass, amusing herself with the clink of the ice.

Her eyelids slide down halfway, fanning her pale lashes against her cheeks and hiding the two blue crescents left. "My daughter told me that I was good at keeping alive, maybe I can do that for a little while… Until they forget about me or find someone more interesting."

The mention of a daughter probably would get a rise from someone other than Jaiden, but when you've met your son from the future from a woman you barely know, revelations like that really aren't that earth shaking. It's startling, sure, but the way he reacts - like she told him there was a sale on meat at the market - is probably more telling than it should be.

"Getting it off would be easy - but they'd know. Getting it off so you have some time to run - that's the hard part." If Jaiden had his garage still, if Jaiden wasn't on the run, he could probably do it, or at least aim her toward someone who could. "Do you have any plan, other than running? Where would you go?"

"I don't know… I can't go to dad and Nick is dying, from the flu," which might account for some of the young woman's disposition. She stares at the glass in her hand, watching the droplets of sweat drizzle down to form a small puddle at its base. "'S'why I need the car."

There's another long pause in conversation and Delia lapses into a comfortable silence, much like one of the ones that they used to enjoy. Back when things were good between them. "Mister Logan got me papers and things, I'm all legal now. Maybe I can trade them off for cash. Someone might want them, right?" Lifting her eyes, she gives Jaiden a look that borders on heartbreaking, complete with tears. "I just— I need to get out. I don't want to be around when Nick dies…"

There's a lot of that going around lately, and Jaiden was painfully aware of all of it. One of the things he prided himself on was keeping up with the news - NPR and the like - and even they have stories about the growing menace of the Non-Evo related flu. Gatherings like this are becoming rare, and a look around might catch sight of face masks or rubber gloves - just in case.

Jaiden nods slightly, motioning for the waitress to bring him another beer and another for Delia if she wanted one, grimacing at the mention of Mr. Logan. "If they're papers he got you, then they're probably good, but they're probably already in your name. IF they were blank, you'd have a better time selling them, but unless you have a buyer lined up then I wouldn't risk it right now." He's speaking lowly at this point, so wandering ears can't really pick up the conversation easily. "Look…." He trails off after a moment, that look pushing all the right buttons - is she doing that on purpose, he wonders? "I can try and help you, but it'll be tough for all involved. If I can get you out, you get out. No new york. No east coast, even. Some safe country. It'll be fuckin' hard.." Jaiden swearing? That's odd. "And you probably won't ever be able to come back."

Up until the last bit, Delia was nodding along with everything Jaiden was saying, practically baited on his words. The next drink is set in front of her and she rips the straw out, throwing it on the floor. It's a gesture that might have more impact if the straw was heavier and didn't just float to the ground. She doesn't stop to lament the lack of dramatic, picking the glass up and drinking the liquor inside down in three painful swallows.

It's her turn to slam the tumbler down and stare at Jaiden, shaking her head. "I have to come back… You don't understand." Getting away for a little while, it's doable. "If I can't come back eventually, I'll just stay at the ghetto. I'll just stay where I am."

Overly dramatic, but not entirely bad. He'd give it a B+ for effort. He sits back, crossing one leg over the other, the waitress bringing his beer and popping the top with a flourish, catching it in her breast pocket and setting it in front of him.

He waits to speak until she leaves.

"Make me understand, Delia. I can help, but I need to know why. Why do you have to come back? Your sister? Your father? Someone else?" It's definitely not him. He knows that much for sure, what with the ring being offered as a barter.

"Because I don't have anyone else…" she whispers, letting her head hang as she folds her hands together and tucks them between her knees. "All I have now is my housemates… and they took her."

Her lips press together into a thin line and she looks away quickly, bringing a fist up to press against her face. "I was supposed to take care of her and watch her… and they took her." Kicking her leg out from under her chair, she stares at the exposed bottom of the anklet. "I need money, so I can pay someone to take it off. Then I'm going to go find her… She doesn't know where she is but I know I can find her. I just— I just have to remember."

Jaiden does not kick her when she's down - that's too cruel. She's on the ropes right now, without a rudder, and other terms that indicate she's lost. She did have someone, but she lost him when she left him. She doesn't count her housemates as close. And she's talking dream-stuff again, she must be. Jaiden leans back, the chair creaking under his weight softly, and fixes her with a calm gaze. "I'm just going to go out on a limb here….but I'm guessing you mean Hokuto, right?" He lets out a long, slow breath. "And…are you still wanting to leave all of this? Go into the dream?"

"After I find her and she's safe.." Delia nods, refusing to meet Jaiden's eyes as she speaks. "I told Nick when he dies, I'm going to go. I don't have to keep that promise when he's dead." Let him haunt her to the rest of her days, is the unspoken challenge to the man that isn't there.

A glance at the bartender and she's kicks herself up from her seat to a stand. "It's getting late, curfew's almost here. I need to get back before the guards miss me… If they're keeping track." Reaching into her pocket, she pulls a few wrinkled bills from it and throws them on the table. Then she glances to the ring and reaches for it. Before grabbing it, she tightens her fingers into a fist and pulls her hand away. "You owe me a double or nothing. I need the money."

Then she pivots on her heel and walks toward the door.

"How much do you need?" Jaiden asks, turning to watch her go. "You never said how much you needed."

She pauses with her hand on the wood, not turning around before giving him her answer. There's a new strength there, a false one that she uses to keep strangers at bay. "As much as it takes, a few thousand, I guess." With that, Delia pushes the door open and disappears out into the street.

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