If the Price is Right


eileen4_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title If the Price is Right
Synopsis Eileen visits Burlesque to inquire if Logan is familiar with the resident thorn in her side.
Date August 20, 2009


A flashy little strip club, its name advertised in bright neon pink above the door in swooping cursive, with the figure of a woman outlined in the same seeming to kick a leg with each flash of the light. Two bouncers stand by the door, which is a reflective chrome and stays closed unless opened by the security duo, with a red carpeting extending out onto the pavement. They will check you for I.D. before permitting you entrance. You'll be greeted by a woman in full burlesque regalia, with exaggerated makeup, a corset that barely keeps everything in, fishnets and feathers. Provided you can pay the cover charge, she will show you to a table, offer to get your first drink of the evening, and leave you alone to enjoy what Burlesque has to offer.

The main room's focal point is the generous stage, a circular platform with Broadway lights around the edges, and a catwalk that extends further out into the scattered round tables where patrons can sit and drink. The lights that shine down on it are never particularly clear, often shards of pink, green, blue, which hide as much as they reveal. There is almost always a dancer on the stage, even as even more girls move around the room to give more intimate shows on tabletops. There's a long bar that crawls along one side of the room, with a couple of bartenders behind it, a counter of black glass with rows and rows of liquor on display on glass shelves. Leather booths are tucked away towards the back, offering some privacy for whatever purpose.

Despite the proposed theme of the club, impressions of burlesque only factor in with the permanent staff and particular shows of featured dancers. Otherwise, the tunes are standard for any kind of strip club, and the girls will wear what they like. There are private lounges for more expensive, personal shows, and a darkly lit, obscured staircase leading up to both dressing rooms and the manager's office.

Ever since the Linderman Act was written into law, there has been a rumour circulating the streets of New York City about how all the kingpin's employees are required to sign their contracts in blood pricked from their fingers. At least one man's experience with the organization dictates otherwise, but even if it were true, popular opinion is that the newest manager of Burlesque wouldn't have anything to worry about. There's another rumour going around, no less sinister than the first and probably no less fallacious: John Logan doesn't have a soul, and therefore nothing to sign away.

What he does have is an office, a comfortable salary and the respect of his employees, and while the price at which these things were purchased may not yet be entirely clear, such thoughts aren't what plagues him this evening. It's a knock at that office door, followed by a scratchy voice that Logan will recognize as belonging to one of the club's security guards. "There's someone here to see you, sir," it announces, chafing his ears with its smoker's rasp, "says her name is Eileen Ruskin. You want I should send her in?"

"Who's Eileen?"

Not the only thing on John Logan's mind, aside from the rough voiced words filtering through his door, would be— you know, it's hard to keep track of things like names. Sandi, maybe. Ends with an 'i'. Candi? Whoever she is, she's seated on his desk, legs to infinity crossing at the ankles with the girls pushed up to here and more peroxide in her hair Logan's ever been acquainted with.

She raises her eyebrows at her soon-to-be manager, nails more than fingers seeming to do up her blouse, Logan's green-eyed gaze switching from closed door to woman.

Brandi, isn't it? "Old friend. You'll have to excuse me, love, we'll continue this later. Send 'er in," Logan adds, voice directing towards the door, before he makes a princely hand gesture, waving the blonde off his desk, which is useful, apparently, for all kinds of work. It's a wonder why he never saw the good in it before. Brandi twists a smirk his way, before kicking her legs over the side and hopping off with a bounce of a skirt and lick of yellow-blonde hair, insinuating herself out the door with a flash of a glittery smile to the security man.

Eileen Ruskin. Logan pushes himself out of the comfortable leather office chair, rounds around the oak desk and comes to lean back against it, door-side, as he extracts a silver cigarette case from the inner of his jacket, lights up with economical movements. There are probably worse people to invite up into his lair, truth be told.

Minus several inches of hair and the pallid complexion of a terminal cancer patient, she looks exactly the same as Logan remembers her. Dressed in low-rise jeans and a fine, white chemise beneath a leather jacket that stresses rather than covers her petite frame, Eileen appears in the door's frame a few moments after Brandi's exeunt, green eyes alight with the studious curiosity of a cat and a slinking, deliberate pace to match. "Had a hell of a time tracking you down," she murmurs as the door clicks shut behind her and the security guard adopts a post outside the office, one ear undoubtedly turned toward the sound of muffled conversation in an attempt to decipher it, "but here you are."

And here she is, her shoulder holster empty, pistol confiscated somewhere between the front doors and Logan's office. The only weapon she has on her person is the Batangas knife at her hip, and this is something she removes as she speaks, then places on the desk when she's within reach. "You're doing quite well for yourself. Congratulations."

With a cigarette leaking smoke pinched between his fingers, Logan's hands are otherwise empty. Whether he's unarmed, similarly, is a different matter, and he makes no comment as the fancy blade is set down onto the desk, a gaze slanting in its direction. "You should bite your tongue," he says, without coincidence, while his eyes blaze green. Taking no chances, none whatsoever, as his power puts a thorny stranglehold around Eileen's, though he might not realise he has anything to worry about. "You shouldn't act happy for me when you wouldn't be. That's not honest, you know."

He pulls an ashtray towards himself, taps the cigarette against the glass lip. Predictably, Logan is dressed well for the warm New York evening, down to pinstripe slacks and a gauzy sort of grey shirt, no buttons, with a low V-neck, impractically designer and European, with a pinstripe jacket over that. "Unless you're choosing, quite late, to take me up on my offer. Then I suppose you'd be happy."

"Not exactly, no." Eileen spreads her bare hands in demonstration. No gloves, only the silver rings glittering faintly upon her fingers. "I'm afraid I wouldn't be of much use. Implying otherwise — that's dishonest." As she lowers her hands, one corner of her mouth ticks up into a faint smile too rueful to be a smirk, though it could easily be mistaken for one. "Daniel Linderman has a reputation to maintain," she explains. "He wouldn't have hired you if he didn't expect you to behave yourself, and I don't think I'm alone in saying I much prefer a domesticated dog to a feral one."

Although she doesn't bite her tongue, her front teeth briefly drag across her lower lip before capturing it between them. A few seconds later, she's taking a seat on the corner of his desk, heels drawn up off the floor, booted toes brushing carpet. "You look good in a collar, John. How's the leash? Not too tight?"

Eileen is awarded a tight smile, Logan's gaze drifting to the smoldering embers of his cigarette with far too much contemplation before he takes a steady and patient drag of smoke. Perhaps in an effort to soothe his own nerves, although that's the only visible sign that needling got to him in any way. Smoke curls out from between teeth, and again he lets ash fall into the glassy tray between them. "You know. I liked you better when you were whoring yourself to me out in a dirty little brothel basement," he says, his tone of voice friendly in sharp contrast to his words. "And unless you plan on giving me an encore, my name is Logan to you."

And in a show of trust that doesn't quite match up with this exchange of words, the vibrant green of his eyes fades as dull as the ash he's let fall from his cigarette, glassy and cuttingly pale. Maybe not so much trust as it is a dare to prove him gullible.

"Of course you liked me better. I was on my back." Eileen rubs her fingers together in what appears to be contemplation, studying her fingernails and the dark crescents of dirt and grime wedged between them. She's long overdue for a touch up on her manicure, but that's assuming she had one to begin with, and with what Logan knows of Eileen — it isn't very likely. There is no nausea beginning to bubble in the pit of his stomach, no pain pervading its way into his leg, no sudden bite or sting. Either she's telling the truth about her ability, however implicitly, or she's biding her time, playing with her food like a cat batting a mouse between soft paws.

Her eyes lift to Logan's face once more, silent and assessing, their pale irises eclipsed by her lashes and the shadow they cast. "I'm only allowed to call you by your first name if I'm breathing it into your neck, is that right?"

"Yes." Unlike her hands, Logan's hands are definitely clean, if not in the metaphorical sense. Nails neat and unbitten, without a trace of dirt beneath them, and palms pedantically soft. The only fault being the traces of nicotine yellow at the edges of finger pads from liberal cigarette use, although now he seems to desire both hands free as he places the cigarette down into the tray and takes his weight off the desk.

Not an especially tall man, he still has plenty of height on the petite woman as he rounds around to step in front of her. "You've got it. Either that, or if you've raised me, which you haven't. So why don't you behave yourself or we'll have to start testing the integrity of this leash I'm on."

Eileen's fingers, bone white, curl around the edge of Logan's desk. She inclines her chin, peering up at him with a strange expression, a conflict of emotions rendering her face stony and illegible. "I'm not ungrateful for what you did for me," she says in a voice that's suddenly very low and edged with— something. Whatever she might have been about to say next is cut short with razor quickness as her arms grow rigid and the muscles in her neck and shoulders tense. She works her jaw, slowly.

Not ungrateful. Angry, perhaps. But not ungrateful. "Enough." Heels falling flat against the floor, she pushes away from the desk without stepping fully forward or narrowing the distance between them more than is absolutely necessary given their positions. "I came here because I'm looking for someone. Does the name Feng Daiyu mean anything to you?"

Smugness isn't becoming on Logan, and yet, it's so often there. Eileen gets a quick smile, and awarded for losing whatever game Logan was choosing to play with a few more inches of personal space as he rocks back on a wingtip heel, hands coming to rest comfortably in the pockets of his jacket. He's between her and the door, and that's enough for him. Head canting to the side, he seems to actually give remembering a try, gaze wandering, before settling back on her.

"And who's he?" he asks, all those words coming out immaculately pronounced, as if perhaps he weren't the son of an east end stripper. "Ex-boyfriend, family? Why is it you think I might know of him?"

"The man spent several weeks searching Staten Island for hide or hair of a friend of mine named Ethan Holden, but you know him better as the Wolf. Now—" Maybe it's Logan's smile, or maybe it's because she intrinsically senses that she's losing valuable ground. Whatever the reason, Eileen decides to reclaim those few precious inches, edging forward as she speaks rather than take advantage of the opening and attempt to maneuver around him. "With Muldoon out of the picture, there aren't a lot of people left who he might've thought to ask about your little fight club."

Eileen reaches into the back pocket of her jeans and produces a clip of money between her middle and index fingers which she then holds up, angled sideways in front of her face. "You don't remember anything about someone coming to the Dagger and asking after Holden?"

His gaze switches to the folded over bankbills in favour of her own green-tinged irises, an eyebrow going up, though he doesn't immediately go to snatch the money away. The man he's now somewhat certain she's referring to had tossed such bribery at him too, and Logan had descended upon it like any financially hurting business owner might. Slightly more secure, and still remembering the way white teeth had sunk into soft flesh in aforementioned dirty brothel basement, Logan allows a pause to settle for a moment.

"I might do," he finally says, in clipped tones, chin angling up. "Never did leave his name, but he was on your trail, and your dad's trail. Holden. Said he was going to kill you and him. Naturally, I told him everything I knew. Clearly that wasn't quite enough, now was it?"

He puts out a hand to accept his reward, expectant.

Eileen flicks her wrist back, hand cocked away. She rotates the clip between her fingers with the ease of an experienced street magician, or someone who has simply spent a lot of time practicing to improve their dexterity. The knife on the desk provides a good clue as to which. "He told you Holden was my da. Interesting."

Not interesting enough for her to get hung up on, however, because she's studying her reflection in the clip a moment later, her face elongated, distorted by the metal. "If I'm to give you this," she says, "I want a promise that you'll keep me up-to-date with the situation should Daiyu decide to grace you with his presence a second time. Do we have a deal?"

That depends, namely, on the worth of being vindictive, and if it adds up to the notes of white and green clipped in metal. Logan's hand doesn't move from where it's held between them, as if an invisible silver platter were resting upon his upturned palm - as ever expecting the world to place things upon it accordingly. He blinks at her a little, mother wing flutters of movement. "Depends on how much you've got there, my darling," he says. "I'm not cheap. If the price is right, then certainly, we have a deal."

There's a slight curl of Eileen's upper lip, followed by a sliver of exposed tooth, slick and pearly. She touches the tip of her tongue to the canine's point, runs it leisurely across her front teeth and the inside of that same lip, either lost in thought or doing an admirable job of pretending to be. Her brow knits, both her dark brows lowering as she narrows her eyes to slits the shade of clear water on a cloudy day. For all appearances, her posture is relaxed, almost indolent in its languidness, though there's an undercurrent of tension in her body language that's difficult to miss. "Name it, John."

There's a tick of a second, wherein movement is suspended between them, at least within this room. No doubt there's all kinds of moving and shaking downstairs, but for now, in the four walls of this office, they're both still, regarding each other. Then, with the kind of speed and strength that speaks volumes for how much Logan cares about personal space, the arm that had been folded across his midsection promptly lashes out to grip her's, between wrist and elbow, his fingers digging into flesh.

And then, we dance, as he takes a step forward to drive her back, the backs of her thighs colliding with the edge of the desk. "Now was that a suggestion, or do I need to teach you a lesson in manners?"

Logan is about to receive a lesson in manners of his own. The hand that isn't held captive by his grip cracks against the side of his face with enough force to split open his cheek where her rings connect with skin. It hurts, but it doesn't hurt as much as a knife would have, and hers is still within immediate reach. "Don't darling at me," she hisses under her breath, voice raw and ragged, choked with fury and what sounds like it could be grief. Grief for what is neither clear nor does it matter; Eileen is coughing up venom. "Respect my name and I'll respect yours."

Any pressing against him that occurs is no more voluntary than the hitch in her breath or the tremors wracking both her hands as she strains to wrest back control of the situation in between gasps. "Take the fucking money. Two hundred dollars. I'll double it if you turn up anything else."

This wouldn't be the first time, but there are differences. Quicker. Harder. Unexpected. A hiss eases out between teeth, a furious, blazing glare turned to her, hand refusing to loosen from her arm for the time it takes for her to spit words back at him. Conviction falters before, quite roughly, Logan pushes Eileen aside, and taking a few steps back from her. The back of his hand goes up to wipe along his cheek, smearing red towards the side of his nose and onto his wrist.

"Fine," he says, the word designed to gather back his composure, chin tilting up once more. His cheek is marked red, palm-sized, the tiny gash of where the ring cut in bleeding anew. "Two hundred it is, double if I have anything else to say. How do I find you if that's so?"

His hand, once more, goes out for the money. It doesn't shake with indignity or anger, even as his other comes up to again wipe his face.

"You don't." Eileen picks up her knife from the desk, but reattaches it to her belt rather than unfold it or flick it into the open position. "If you're going to tell him everything you know, and you will, I don't want that to be a part of it." She slaps the money, clip and all, into Logan's outstretched hand. Hers — the one not handling the cash — is reaching for her face, smoothing hair away from her brow, rubbing its heel along her own chin and jaw.

He's wiping at blood. She's doing the same with sweat. "I'll find you when I need to. Ask Teodoro; it's what I do."

His fingers curl over the cash, barely even looking at it as the notes, clip and all, are tucked into the inner pocket of his jacket, alongside the fancy cigarette case. "Brilliant," Logan says, teeth showing the midst of the word being snarled in her direction, if mildly so. "Look forward to seeing where this little chase of yours is leading, because I think I have an idea of the destination."

A brisk tilt of the head towards the door indicates the more immediate journey of leaving his office, accompanied with; "Go on, then, and don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out."

Eileen's exit is not as dignified as she perhaps wishes it was. She shows Logan her back, and on her way out the door ignores the bewildered look that the security guard gives her. It's impossible for either of them to keep track of her retreating footsteps, their sound drowned out by the muffled music drifting up the stairwell and into the open office, but she's soon gone, leaving only the the marks on Logan's face as evidence she was ever there.

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