Good Tidings of Rye Bread and Cranberries


eileen4_icon.gif deckard3_icon.gif

Scene Title Good Tidings of Rye Bread and Cranberries
Synopsis Eileen investigates a text message sent by Teo to see if there's any truth to it.
Date September 12, 2009

Chelsea — Deckard's Apartment

Deckard doesn't have many books. Maybe at one point he did. Before he came to the city, or before so many of his ratholes wound up getting raided. As things are, the stack of them that lives vacantly on the kitchen counter is thinly populated indeed. Moreso than usual at the moment, as two of them are open on the sofa with him and a glass of whiskey.

The bottle's on the floor at his feet, more for lack of furniture to set it down on than convenience. Not that he's put much of a dent in the glass balanced on his knee anyway, left hand currently occupied with turning slow through the pages of a worn out textbook that Eileen might've seen once or twice before if she'd ever spent time browsing through Filitov's collection.

When you're part of a network like the Ferrymen, it isn't uncommon to get phonecalls at odd hours or even visitors knocking unannounced. Tonight, Eileen falls squarely into the latter category as bare knuckles rap against Deckard's front door — three brisk taps that are at the end punctuated with the familiar sound of the diminutive Englishwoman's voice, muffled though it is through the wood and drywall. "Flint?" it asks.

There's a pause, then, and Deckard would not be mistaken if he imagined her clenching her jaw and grinding her teeth to fill the silence. "It's Eileen. I understand if you don't want to speak with me, but there are some things that I think you deserve to hear."

Rap rap rap, and Deckard scrubs at his face as he slants a sideways look over at the door, then groggily down at his watch. Earlier than he thought. Eileen's voice is pretty unmistakeable as far as the library of them he has on file goes, and she in turn would not be mistaken if she were imagining him looking up after the brightness of warm lighting built into the ceiling as if to measure the approximate obviousness of the fact that he is indeed home to be bothered in the first place.

In the end he swings the book closed, pushes up onto bare feet and pads on over to squint and frown and dither dickishly through the peep hole. Just Eileen. No Midtown Men or Mercs or Bible Thumpers, which is probably what prompts him to turn the lock and open the door in the end.

He's Flint. Barefoot, rumpled and unshaven in a t-shirt and jeans, greying hair shorn short and whiskey in hand. He's tired, thin, and somewhere between buzzed and inebriated, but he focuses on her adeptly enough and he doesn't sway into the frame. "Hey."

A brown paper shopping bag tucked under each arm, Eileen stands on the doorstep alone. The peephole did not lie; her only companion, not counting the pistol she wears in the holster beneath her jacket, is the spindly shape of her shadow mirrored on the opposite wall. There is no sign of Sylar, or Ethan or even Amato lurking somewhere in her peripheral — just this small, dark-haired sylph of a girl with rings under her pale eyes, yellow tobacco stains on her fingers and lacquered nails.

"Can I come in and borrow your kitchen?" she asks, gesturing to the bags under her arms with a slight tip of her chin. Paper crinkles as she shifts her weight from one foot to the other and readjusts her grip on them. "I brought you some things."

A belch muffled quiet into the back of his hand after a few seconds spent eyeing her, Deckard tips a glance back in at the apartment behind him. It's…pretty bleak. Spartan. Austere. A single tan couch stands alone as the only piece of actual furniture in the living area that opens up behind the entry. There's a shipping crate a little ways past that with a beaten up old radio and an empty bottle of tequila balanced on top of it. A half constructed wooden do it yourself bookshelf stands against the wall behind the couch with various screws and flat heads scattered across unattached shelves in the bottom. A shotgun sleeps on the only shelf that has been attached.

There are books and booze in the kitchen, but no food past an open bag of fritos in the sink(?), and a spent pair of jeans rumpled on the floor in one of many spans of empty space that make the apartment seem larger than it is.

Could be worse, ultimately. He steps back and nods, free hand braced back against the door to close it after her. "You want a beer? Or. Whiskey."

The first thing Eileen does when she steps inside the apartment is slip out of the black flats she wears on her feet. It's not that the bottom of her shoes are dirty; more likely, this gesture has more to do with the way she was raised and an attempt to communicate respect. She offers him a small smile, tentative, the corners of her mouth creasing with mirth. "Yeah," she says, heading into the kitchen, "beer'd be canny if you could."

The paper bags are set down on the counter and, edging up onto the tips of her toes, Eileen begins to remove their contents one at a time, starting with a medium-sized white box that looks suspiciously like something Hadley might carry behind the counter at the bakery. "Teo tells me you ran into a spot of trouble with some of my friends the other day. That true?"

Teo tattled. Realization hoods vacantly at Deckard's brow while he flips the lock, shoes frowned at as if he's not immediately sure how they got there on his way to trailing after her for the kitchen. He is maybe not used to living in a place where people bother with taking off their shoes.

"Couple've weeks ago. I dunno." Verbose as ever, he lingers on the edge of his own kitchen like he isn't sure he should go in while she's doing — grocery things. Shoulders sloped and face long, he watches the unpacking process with near appreciation for the normalcy of it, whiskey glass tilted in his hand. Groceries! In his kitchen! Which is an actual kitchen! With a stove! He's apparently forgotten about the beer offer in the midst of blunt wonder.

A tupperware container joins the box on the counter, though it isn't immediately clear what's inside — only that it's been pre-cooked and sloshes audibly against the plastic when she sets down. Two loaves of deli-fresh rye bread are next. A hard white cheese wrapped in paper. Fresh cranberries. Several links of black kielbasa. "I'm sorry," Eileen says, averting her eyes. "I don't think Ethan gives a kipper's dick about other people, really. Gabriel gets that way too."

Blowing out a short sigh through her nostrils, she shakes her head and begins folding the now empty paper bags in a series of swift and practiced movements, each gesture underscored by obvious aggravation. "What happened won't again, I can promise you that. Who was it?"

Is bros before hos still law if the bros are kidnapping assholes and the hos bring good tidings of rie bread and cranberries and…not exactly sure what that last thing is, but so far it seems to be free. Deckard hitches a hint of a lean into his side to better see without actually getting closer, whiskey sipped and swallowed while he watches her Do Her Thing and declines to interfere lest he…put something in the wrong place. Or something else equally terrible.

Hesitation lines in between his brows and in fuzzy furrows around his mouth while he mulls it over, left hand hooked up around the back of his collar, which is already straight. "What happened will keep happening until I'm dead or Abby gets her groove back."

"You're a human being, Flint," Eileen clips out, small hands gripping the edge of the counter so tightly that the joints in her fingers bulge and her knuckles swell. "Not a workhorse to be dragged out of its stall by the bit every time someone needs some heavy pulling done. They had no right to do what they did, and if they try it again they're going to get their ears boxed."

She abruptly releases her grasp on the counter and wipes off the palms of her hands on her jeans. Like the bottom of her shoes, they aren't dirty — tobacco stains aside — but they are starting to get a little damp. "Have you got a pot or a saucepan or something?"

Deckard listens without arguing or making a face because Eileen brought him food and it's the Polite Thing To Do. Unfortunately, with both auto responses on hold and no others immediately forthcoming, he's forced into looking sullenly impatient with the entire situation all the way down to being rebuked for — technically being sullen.

But in the end, giving her the silent treatment isn't exactly polite either. A sigh breaks off the end of his slate stare and he peels himself off sideways to bumble around the refrigerator door, the frosty hum of which entices a one-eyed ginger cat out from its roost underneath the couch. "No. It was Gray. And Holden."

"I'll speak with them," Eileen resolves, returning her attention to the food already laid out on the counter. "They won't apologize themselves. Too proud. Arrogant." Her hand finds the knife at her belt and cracks it open in the next beat, using the blade to cut open the package of cheese and then sliver off several generous slices. The label on the paper identifies it as Oscypek, whatever that is.

She begins plating the cheese slices with her back to Deckard as he maneuvers around the fridge, her facial expression unreadable, body language bristling with underlying tension. She's angry, though not at the man whose kitchen this is. "My mother's side of the family is Polish," she explains in a sudden change of topic. "I made you bigos. It's a cabbage stew with smoked pork and peppercorns. The poppyseed cakes in the pastry box are called makowiec. I don't know if you've a sweet tooth or not, but Abigail might like them."

She'll speak with them. Deckard winces into the buttery glow of the fridge's largely empty interior — it's a little like having your mom yell at another kid on the playground for kicking your ass — but still no argument. Maybe he's not being polite. Maybe Eileen just scares him a little when even he can detect the bristle in her posture and the tension in her voice.

There's clinking anyway, and the scrape of a metal bottle cap being rent away from glass before he nudges the door closed with his foot and only narrowly misses decapitating his ginger puss in the process.

When he finally looms up next to her to peer at the food, it's also to set the beer down next to the cheese. For the most part it all looks like stuff he'd eat by virtue of being edible, even if he can't pronounce any of it. "Teo will eat it if I don't."

"He's an Eyetie," Eileen says by way of explanation. Ethnic slur aside, she probably doesn't mean to be disparaging; there's a certain warmth and fondness that creeps into her tone when she speaks of Teo. Although she's about forty years too young to be Deckard's mother, she's probably old enough to be somebody's, and even if she isn't — this hasn't stopped her from acting like one. "He'll probably eat anything."

Her knife cleaves cleanly through the piece of tape holding the pastry box shut, allowing her to lift open the lid and select one of the aforementioned poppyseed cakes, which she then places on the plate with the cheese along with a handful of cranberries that she doesn't bother rinsing under the tap.

This done, Eileen slides the plate across to Deckard and picks up the bottle, moisture running down its sides and gathering in the gaps between her fingers, before finally raising its lip to her mouth so she can drink. "Go on," she murmurs around the glass, "you're too skinny."

"Part of the package." Left hand touching light at the plate edge to slide it over another couple've inches before he prods experimentally at the cheese, Deckard picks it up first, just finicky enough to sniff at it once before he bites off a piece and sets to chewing. Slowly at first, then with more confidence once it proves not to be — rot in his mouth.

In fact, taking one bite seems to have reminded him of some earlier hunger gone ignored or glazed over enough that he takes another bite before he's finished with the first, blue eyes cast aside after beer and cake and cranberries. "Everything else okay?"

Eileen washes her mouth out with a swig of beer and sets the bottle back down on the countertop. "Everything else is fine," she says, and this is of course a lie. "I'm staying at the Speakeasy over'n Brooklyn if you need to get in touch with me for anything. I've been keeping my cell off, but they have a number in the white pages. Room 201. Ask for Shoshanna." In contrast to the first, all of these statements have the ring of truth to them; as well-kept a secret as her current lodgings are, she has no reason to deceive Deckard about where she's holed herself up.

The tupperware container, kielbasa and what remains of the cheese and cranberries, meanwhile, are piled one on top of the other. Mindful of the cat, Eileen balances the stack in one arm and opens the fridge again with her opposite hand. "I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell anyone," she adds. "That includes Gray and Holden."

"Rrorwwl," says the ginger cat, who meows like a broken Jack in the Box for reasons that are probably related to the 20/0 vision it's rocking. Used to it enough now that it doesn't make him grimace, Deckard finishes chewing his cheese and plucks up a cranberry instead — just the one — to watch Eileen alternate between lies and truth while he mashes it slow between his molars.

"Shoshanna~," is repeated exactly like that, with the little flourish and even a hint of a squint while he herds another berry away from the pack with the crook of one finger. "S'that your stripper name?" Maybe that's Flint for, 'I won't tell.'

"Close enough." Eileen finds a place in the fridge for everything after a few small readjustments that leave one of the shelves looking like an artsy tribute to either Tetris or Jenga. The rye bread she leaves out, encased in its protective plastic packaging. Bare feet move soundlessly across the kitchen floor, and the hand that had been holding the fridge door open — now closed — touches Deckard's elbow as she moves past him on her way back to her beer.

"I need to get a move on if I'm to be where I need to before it gets dark," she says. "You're a sweet man, Flint Deckard. Teo and Abigail are lucky to have someone like you in their lives. The cat, too."

"Something in me is," is not denial exactly, but it is a weird thing to say as casually as Deckard says it within current context, brows tipped up and expression on the mildly embarrassed side of skeptical. He doesn't pull away from contact at least — even smiles slightly, one-sided and slanty as he picks his way through the berries after a pair of them.

"Thanks for the food. And…" for not being a bitchface. Unfortunately positive sentiments are not yet developed enough that they can stir appropriate vocabulary along with them. Eventually he just kind of shrugs and tries to pretend like he wasn't going to say anything else. "You know where I am if someone puts you on a spike or something."

Deckard's comment earns him a faint furrow of Eileen's brow and a glance askance. One dark brow arches upward. Of the few things he's said to her during the course of their intermittent conversation, something in me is will be what she puzzles over the most during her journey from Chelsea to the designated safehouse back on Staten Island.

"I'll be sure to pull the spike out first, shall I?" she asks on her way out, pausing to slip her flats back on at the door, bottle of beer still in hand. "You're very welcome."

"I think you're supposed to leave them in until you get help so you don't bleed out."

Eileen's glance askance is fielded and returned with an easy mirror of the same look, deflection as natural as his tracking in her wake to let her out once she's closed in on the door. Maybe even awkwardly enough to insinuate that he'd rather that she stayed, but that's all it is. Awkward insinuation without formal request or physical manifestation past a glance back into the sparsely populated apartment when he opens the door for her.

"Oh." Just like that. Oh. Eileen clicks the heels of her shoes together, once, and then steps out into the hall as soon as she confirms that no one is waiting for her on the other side of the door. She either misses the insinuation or chooses to ignore it; inky curls of hair shield the side of her face from view, making the expression it wears indecipherable except for a sliver of pale skin eclipsed by a curling mouth.

It's a smile, however slight.

"Have a good night," she says, and then she's gone, trading her physical presence for the rhythmic sound of retreating footsteps.

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