How To Make Friends And Influence People


alec_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title How To Make Friends and Influence People
Synopsis …NOT!! Alec finally confesses what he's been doing in his spare time after Liz decided he wasn't a threat to Cat if she decided to go with him as the engineer on her building.
Date April 2, 2009

Elisabeth's Apartment

When Liz gets home, Alec is already there. Sitting at her kitchen table, he looks vaugly nervous, unhappy. The apartment smells like Italian food and a plate awaits her on the table next to a glass of wine. He runs a hand through his hair and rubs at his eyes as the door opens, he glances up and offers a small smile, "Heya sexy."

When she lets herself into her apartment and smells dinner, Elisabeth gets a smile on her face. She closes the door and drops her keys on the foyer table, heading toward the kitchen. Her voice precedes her body by just a couple of seconds and she's sliding her jacket off her shoulders as she crosses the threshold. "Norton, I thought you were working toni…." And then she trails off, looking more than a little startled. "Alec….?" Her brows pull together and there is hesitation. "Uhm… hi." She's clearly thrown, uncertain of how to act. "How did you….?" She gestures vaguely toward the door with a questioning look at him.

Alec just shakes his head, "It's a bit of a long story. One I'd be happy to share if you'll have diner with me and listen for a bit? Stuff you should know." he smiles warmly and stands, walking over to take her coat and hang it up. He's all helpful and stuff! But then he usually is.

She looks less than thrilled at this moment, honestly. More, Elisabeth looks suspicious. She didn't give Alec a key, and this is making her uncomfortable. Her eyes follow him warily and her reply is far cooler than any reception she's ever given him. "I'm … I think I'd rather wait to eat until you fill me in, Alec. Not that I mind the surprise, but … you look like something's on your mind. Something you're pretty sure I'm not going to like."

Alec chuckles softly, "Well… uh… Yeah." he admits as after hanging up the coat he retakes his seat. "Just a bad day all around." He sighs and retakes his seat at the table. He lifts his glass of wine and takes a swig.

She raises a single eyebrow at him, and Elisabeth takes a bit of pity on him. Moving around the table, she picks up the glass of wine he already poured for her and takes a sip. "C'mon… come sit in the living room and tell me what's up," she invites quietly. Her eyes on him are still watchful, but… this man's spent enough time in her apartment that whatever alarm bells she's got going are muted by the 'if he wanted to hurt me, he would have' vibe.

Alec is also so obviously not a fighter. Sure, he's in fantastic shape, but it's all yoga and running and swimming and minor weight training. She's never seen him do so much as Tae Bo. He follows her to the living room, "I'm starting to think my chicken marsala is cursed when it comes to you," he teases pitifully as he takes a seat. "I should have waited for you to put the gun away. You're going to shoot me in the face." He eyes her. "I just want you to know that'll take /forever/ to clean up and it won't be worth the momentary happiness it might bring."

Elisabeth eyes him and says, "Now you're starting to freak me out." Her tone is dry. She takes a long swallow of the wine, sets the glass on the coffee table, and goes over to put her gun and its holster in the desk drawer. "There," she tells him mildly. "Now… not sure what you think you could confess that would be so bad, but since it's obviously weighing on you… spill."

Alec takes a long deep breath, "When you met me in the deli, why were you there?" he asks plainly, looking up at her to meet her eyes full on for the first time since she came home. "I mean, I know we talked about the whole following me around checking into me thing but um… Why did you run across me at the deli? Was it because you lost me at Broadway and Lex earlier that afternoon and you knew I always ate at the deli?"

Elisabeth looks surprised. "Actually…. I didn't know you always ate at the deli, but … I knew you were a regular. I hadn't been following you that day," she comments. "Figured I'd try my luck at the deli. I'd already resolved to meet you in person, to get a sense of what kind of person you were. I only followed you a couple of times, you know." Her words are cautious. "Got lucky that day, you were there… and I liked you."

Alec nods his head, "And I imagine you looked into my financials didn't you? Tried to figure out why I called prepaid cell phones and stuff?" he asks softly. He scritches his head, "I imagine what your 'wealthy friend' was a bit turned off by these things weren't they?" he eyes her again, his gaze still wavering. "To your credit you haven't asked me any questions… not sure you've given up on seeking out the truth yet though. I'm curious as to why on both accounts."

Pursing her lips, Elisabeth studies him. "My friend actually wasn't turned off by that at all," she says honestly. "Given that I've gotten involved with you, I wanted to be sure that you wouldn't get sucked head over heels into some things that … I've been keeping an eye on." She shrugs a little. "The prepaid cell phones have made me a little leery, yes, but in this day and age, everyone's using them. Initially…." She sighs heavily, tucking her hands into her back pockets. "Initially, I wondered if you and your company were on the up and up. I determined you were, and that was what was important. The rest? You're not involved with the terrorist groups that I've been working to stop, and so I stopped looking. Quite a while ago. The job hasn't come your way only because she's not ready yet to do anything with her building. So far as I know, your credentials have impressed the hell out of her."

Alec nods his head, "Yeah… about that… My firm is as legit as it gets, but me on the other hand…" he eyes her, "I … I know you saw my financials before, and I'm sure that before the bomb went off you were impressed with the skill with which I used the market, always turning a profit, possessing funds beyond what I should have? While some of that was legal I'll be honest with you, a good portion of it, the majority, was made through illegal means. Nothing horrible!" he quickly adds, "I'm not a terrorist or anything for god's sake, just… I'm a genius Liz. I'm not bragging, it's just… I get so /bored/ so easily. So I found a… a hobby if you will. It pays well, doesn't hurt anyone who can't afford it, and in the interim it's taught me a great many useful things. The insomnia helps give me the time to pursue my hobby when I feel the need to." he waves all that away, "Gah this is not fun." he makes a face. "Hate confessions."

Now there's a visible frown. He's confessing….. what? That … he's skimming off the stock market? Elisabeth studies him and says, "Ooooo-kay. So…. you're a bored genius who's skimming money off the stock market or something? Aaaaannnnnd…. you think I need to know this why exactly?"

Not that she minds knowing and all, but…. hello? Cop!

Alec sighs, "No no no." he rubs at his eyes. "I got… involved with someone. Someone… Look. I stole things okay? I was a theif. Nothing big, you know, high end luxury cars and the like, just stuff from people I knew could afford it. Assholes with to much money and tax shelters. Anyway, I sorta… drew someone's attention. I can boost a car, it's basic engineering principles, but this guy… This guy is magic Liz. He's a professional, and it's from him that I made all that money. I'm his middle man, the guy that hooks him up with one job or another." he eyes her with a wince, "He doesn't steal anything anyone would miss, mostly industrial espionage for higher, which is why the authorities never hear about it, because what he steals no company can admit to losing without watching their stocks tank into the toilet. They have insurance, so they're covered, but he gets paid by a competitor a fee, gives them what he took, makes a bundle. It's a victimless, for the most part, crime and it's entirely untraceable. The guy is… I can't even tell you how good he is Liz. He's a ghost, it's almost superhuman, but I know it's not. He's just that good. I work for him. It's his cell you saw me call. And it's him that said you needed to know… mostly cause I /really/ wanted to tell you." Alec easily deflects on this because technically nothing he said is a lie… sorta. Kinda. It's pushing the bounds of the word 'technically' but still…

Elisabeth listens intently as he starts talking specifics. Her blue eyes remain on his face. "Wait….. so…. why the fuck are you telling me this?" she demands. "Christ, Alec…. do you have any idea what kind of position this puts me in?" Cuz well… yeah, okay, it's hypocritical to the extremes. Not like Liz doesn't know at least one other thief, maybe like five of them, and a bunch of terrorists too. But she can justify all of those because they're all fighting the good fight… truth, justice, the American way, rah rah. This? This leaves her flabbergasted.

Alec eyes her, "Because you can't tell anyone." he states with a wince. He looks a little green around the gills for a moment and finishes off the entire glass of wine in a swallow and quickly pours himself a second. It's gone in much the same way. "God you're so gonna shoot me."

She just gives him the Look. The one women the world over have perfected when it comes to a man who is hedging like mad. "Alec, if you don't fucking spit it out, I'm gonna beat it out of you, that's for damn sure," Elisabeth finally says.

Alec takes a deep breath, "Abigail Beauchamp, Norton Trask, Kay Damaris, Darius Johnson, Elisabeth Harrison, Teo, Parkman, Cat who thought it was funny to name herself after female 80's rock stars," he rolls his eyes at that, "the list goes on. Name something all these people have in common Liz." he eyes her as he pours himself another glass of wine, his hand shaking.

There's a long pause. "They're all people that I know," Elisabeth replies calmly. But her eyes on Alec now are ice cold. Because she can tell something major's up… and if he's about to blackmail her, she's going to shove him out the window and claim he committed suicide.

Alec nods his head, "And they're all part of an organization called Phoenix." he says softly. He doffs this glass of wine as well then retakes his seat on the couch, opposite end as her. "I'm telling you all of this, because that's what I wanted to do. Because I learned about what it is Phoenix does and frankly, I can't say I disagree with it. Neither can my benefactor." he takes a deep breath before plunging forward, "I've been instructed to offer you our services. They extend beyond mere theft. Security, infiltration, you name it, one of us can do it. I can even crack safes!" he seems proud of that, "That's where my hobby started, engineering marvels those thing-" he stops, "Sorry. Off track. Anyway… For a price, he's offering to help, and for no price I'm offering to help build whatever it is you wanted built. So long as someone covers the basic cost of materials. We don't want to get in the way of you or your friends, and he-we're, not looking to sign up and join the fight. But we have the power to help, and we're willing to. He just has a code, foremost on that code is that he does nothing for free. Nothing. He has this… honor system, it's hard to describe. It would be chivalrous if you know, he weren't a thief I suppose." he's rambling and looking nervous again. "It's-" he sighs, "I should stop yammering now. I'm sure you get the drift?"

Holy….shit. Well…. he's got at least some of it right, though his list of people is all skewed around. She doesn't say a single word — forcibly biting back any interruptions at all until he's done. When she finally speaks, she seems…. calm's not the right word here. Controlled is a better one. She could try to play it off, but he's clearly got enough information to actually be dangerous — especially if he approaches the wrong people on that list. "Actually, they're not all part of the organization known as Phoenix. Almost no one you named in that list is part of Phoenix, aside from myself." She doesn't elaborate on which people he might have right, not at this moment.

"So let me get this straight…. you've clearly been doing some serious spying on me, in spite of the fact that I was stupid enough to stop the digging on you. Sounds like you've managed to catch yourself bits and pieces of conversations, enough to know that I'm certainly involved with a group with whom …. let's just say the minimum that would happen would be jail time. And so now you're…. offering your services. And your benefactor is offering HIS organization's services as…. a information network? For a fee, of course, whereas you're offering out of the goodness of your heart. Or something." There's a pause. "And the catch is…. what? If I don't put your people on retainer or something, you'll expose me?" There's a dangerous glint in her eyes at this point.

Alec nods his head, "I know they're not all members, most of them serve as support staff and your friend Trask has or had connections to Pariah." which is his way of telling her that he's being vauge on purpose, it's a subtle clue that he knows more then he's letting her know he knows. He's careful, and he's smart, despite being nervous he's not showing his entire hand here. He sighs, "I told him you wouldn't understand." he mutters as he rubs his eyes, "Let me… Okay. Let me paint you a picture." he takes a slow breath, "I knew you were following me, so yes, fearing I was under the microscope for the theft of a ferrari or whatever, he did some counter digging for me. In the first twenty-four hours I discovered your connections to a terrorist organization." he holds up his hands, "Your words for it, not mine. Anyway, you followed me for two days and got nothing more then a sort of suspicious cell phone. One day, and I already knew you were up to your eyeballs in Evo terrorists. I didn't have a choice at that point Liz, I had to know how bad I'd fucked up. I like you, really I do, I respect what you and your group are trying to do, if not the way you go about it." he sighs again and runs a hand through his hair.

"I'm not a courageous man babe, it's not in my make up. Be mad, be angry, be disgusted, but I know what fighting back gets you when the other guy is bigger stronger and better armed. It gets you beaten with a wrench he uses to tighten pipes at work or your back pressed to the top of a lit stove." he stares at her and his eyes harden up. They're not cold like hers, they're just emotionless, robotic or distant. Everyone has a defense mechanism. This is where he hides his rage, for the scars he carries, behind the wall of detachment. "So I don't do freedom fighting or any of that jazz. But I can help in little ways. You want me to build a safe room? Babe, I can make you a Fort Knox. You want help planning the demolition of a building, I can tell you where and how to plant the charges to do the most boom with the least bang. I can do these things, and I am offering that to you. He… He agrees with me, but he has a code. It's a simple code and it's honorable in it's own way. The deal, if you want to call it that, is this. We tell no one nothing about everything we've learned, and in return you do the same. You tell no one about us… except those you have to. I'd keep it out of your law enforcement circle though, if you please. Anyway, this… this Ghost and I are offering our assistance. I'll do what I can for free, because I think you people have the right idea. He'll offer you a discount. You need something liberated from where you can't get to it, you tell me, I contact him, you make the payment, he supplies the goods."

Alec tilts his head to the side and then adds, "Or you don't ever talk to me again and we all forget we know anything either direction."

She could go fishing for the information. As Elisabeth watches this man she's been sleeping with for weeks now, she's struck by just how… fake and phony he clearly is. A far, far more accomplished liar than she ever suspected. But several things are also not ringing true to her. Like how the hell he found out in 24 hours that she was involved in anything at all. She isn't stupid, she covers her tracks pretty damn well or she'd be in jail already. "And if I choose the latter, how the hell do I know you or your benefactor can keep your fucking mouths shut, Alec? There's certainly no profit in that for your puppeteer."

Alec eyes her for a long moment, "Did you honestly think everyone who was Evo is on your little list? Someone… close to us is Evolved." he looks away from her, his eyes hardening again. She wondered at least once how a man with his obvious signs of abuse could be so normal, it's obvious that he's as damaged inside as out. Lying is a survival mechanism for foster kids. It's not like she should be surprised, "We understand what you're doing, we agree with it. I'm offering you my personal assitance, he is offering you his professional. The fact that we've not yet outed you and all your friends. The simple fact that you and everyone you know is still walking around free should be all the proof you require. Dammit Liz." now he looks frustrated, "Kinda funny. A week ago I was pretending to be so mad at you for tailing me." he winces, "Sorry about that by the way. He still wouldn't let me tell you the truth. Look. If we wanted you taken down, we would have handed everything we have over to Homeland Security, maybe that Katherine chick you seem to hate to much. But it's not our style, not our gig. Like I said, there's a code, a strict one, that we follow. Take everything from those that can stand to lose it and from those that cannot, take nothing."

There's a soft, bitter laugh at his 'little list' comment. She has fucked up so bad here… and now everyone she knows is at risk. She knew it was possible… that she was walking a fine line. A dangerous one. She expected the danger to come from her job. Stupid, stupid. She pushes a hand through her hair, her other one resting on her hip. On top of everything else this week, this is more than she can really comprehend right now. We're about to hit a federal penitentiary, the chances of coming back alive are… small, at best. "Get out," she finally says quietly. "Just… "

And then she pauses, turning to look at him with a sharp look. Something just hit her. Parkman's name. "But before you go, you better tell me exactly what checking up on me has entailed." Because he's tipped his hand, and if she finds a fucking bug in this apartment….. she has a sudden sense of blinding rage and her jaw clenches. "And it better have fucking been stopped as of this instant… because if I think for a single second that you are in any way coming at me, Alec? There aren't words for the amount of sheer hell I can bring down on your head. Everything you think you know? Could be gone. You'd just … lose months of your life to total amnesia and never know why." Oh yeah, she's bluffing…. sorta. She doesn't know the Haitian, wouldn't contact him if she did most likely. But she knows someone out there can do it — they did it to Deckard in jail. And she can bluff real well when lives are on the line.

Alec shakes his head at her, "I understand your threats, but they're groundless. I've done the homework, you don't know anyone with that sort of ability. Besides," he locks eyes with her, "if I really wanted to come at you, you'd never have known it was me. I'd never have given you what I've given you, and /everything/ I've given you I've done on purpose." he sighs softly, "As of this morning I've forced him to shut down all survielance on you, all of it. You have my word on the matter." his eyes flash a bit, "And yes, I /am/ a man of my word." there's steel in that sentence, "Oh, and while you threaten to screw with my head and bring down hell on me, you should know that I am on your side in this. Take some time, think it over, you'll see I'm right." he stands, his shoulders a little stooped, looking unhappy about everything. "And the chicken marsala really is good. I hope you can at least try it before you rage about pondering all the ways to do me some sort of vengeful harm." he shrugs his coat on, "I'm sure you'll contact me, one way or another, soon enough. For what it's worth, I really do like you gorgeous. Another life…" he shrugs and heads for the door.

She laughs at him. The laugh holds bitterness and hurt… he was her friend in one of the hardest things she's ever dealt with, and he just pulled the rug out from under her. "You don't even know half of the people I know, Alec… because only a very few have ever been to this apartment or spoken to me in public." She smiles faintly. "Teleporters have a way of making getting to a private meeting anywhere in the country very easy." Later, when she's not floored and pissed and … hurt beyond belief. Later, she'll be able to think through this and realize that his points are valid. She'd have never seen it coming if he wanted to burn her. But right now? She's struggling to not panic altogether. "You have a funny way of showing that you like someone, you son of a bitch," she replies angrily. "And you're right… I should have just shot you in the face."

Alec eyes her with an understanding look, his patience is apparently fairly solid. He just smiles faintly, "Why do you think I waited until you locked up the gun before laying into the heavy stuff?" he asks softly. "Take care sexy." and then he's gone, closing the door behind him.

The chicken marsala hits the door after he goes out through it, be damned with having to clean up it and the broken plate later.

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