In The Neighborhood


lynette3_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title In The Neighborhood
Synopsis That's where Vincent happens to be, completely by chance, when he comes to see an old friend.
Date April 28, 2018

The Benchmark Center: Lynette Ruiz's Office

Not even ten minutes after the phonecall he made to ascertain that Lynette Ruiz was, in fact, in her office, Vincent Lazzaro is being pointed to the office in question by reception. He just 'happened to be in the neighborhood.'

Outside, the armored black SUV he pulled up in circles around to search out a parking spot with a view of the building.

Inside, Lazzaro knocks twice on the door to Ruiz's office, open or closed. He looks much the same as he did the last time they were face to face — short, trim and shaved bald. Maybe a little more silver around the jaw.

He's only made a few very cursory glances down adjacent halls or through open doors on his way.

Everything in the building looks very calming. Gentle colors, comfortable seating, soothing artwork. Lynette's office is no different. The door is open enough for him to see that. But, he'll get to see it more than through a crack in the door.

"Come in," is called when he knocks. And really, she doesn't seem to be having a good day. For all that she's dressed nicer, she seems a little frazzled like back in the Pollopel days. She's only lacking a cigarette. But still, she has a smile for him when he enters.

Vincent might be the antithesis of the soothing calm this place exudes, intensity distilled down into dark eyes and the hard line of his shoulders. Even his wardrobe is sharp for the setting — dark blue tailored sharp cuff to collar, with a shirt and tie to match.


He closes the door behind him.

"I hope this isn't a bad time." It looks like this could be a bad time.

"Vincent," Lynette says, her tone on the dry side. She stands when he closes the door, because her desk only has one chair, but off to the side is a little collection of chairs that vaguely resembles a living room. A teapot sits on a small table, still steaming, next to a few cups. She doesn't offer it directly, but perhaps she thinks it's implied.

His comment gets a sidelong look, and instead of replying, she gestures to the chairs. "Why don't you have a seat?" She picks one herself. And also pours some of the tea. For herself.

"Lynette," Vincent echoes, tone mirrored in easy riposte.

Insult to injury for this unexpected drop in, he stinks like five of the ten minutes he took to get here were spent smoking right outside. But he will have a seat, following her gesture with his own for her to lead the way to furniture and tea, mild in a matching:

"Of course."

He sits, and kicks a leg up over his knee — no tea for him, thank you — dark regard set on her like a lead weight while she pours. She looks frazzled. That's interesting.

Perhaps the paperwork is getting to her. There does seem to be a pile growing on her desk. But given that it's all in neat stacks and slid into appropriate trays, that's not likely to be the cause. That's the cure. She sighs a breath across her drink, then looks over at him.

His regard is noted with a lift of an eyebrow. "Is it my hair? I haven't been able to get it to behave all day." Except, her hair is fine. Perfect. It's the dark circles under her eyes and the way her fingers twitch against her cup that give her away.

"What? Oh — no." No, it's not the hair. He furrows his brow in easy reassurance on that account, one hand sketched up for him to scratch under his chin as he settles into a sidelong lean. "You look great. It's just been a while."

That's all.

He settles his chin into the same hand to stay, sleeve slipped down over an old scar that curves long around his wrist.

"How've you been?" A friendly question asked by a friend. "I heard you on the radio."

Lynette sips at her tea, watching him as he replies. The compliments get a tilt of her head, but otherwise go unaddressed even once she sets her cup down. "It has been a while." She considers that fact for a moment, but is genuine when she adds, "It's good to see you."

The question receives a heavy sigh in return. That, too, is genuine. "Honestly, I could be better," she notes. Her hand runs through her hair, tousling it some. "Did you? I've been assured I didn't say anything stupid, although admittedly, I haven't listened to it back again."

"It's good to see you too."

And he means it, more at ease in this chair in this office than he's been anywhere else on this day. Maybe this week. Evidence of the pressure he's under is a subtler thing — stress fractures exhausted into the edges of pauses that run a little long, a shade of distraction weathered in murky behind his stare. His smart watch tells the full story, and nobody's getting their paws on that data anytime soon.

Almost nobody.

"You keeping your cool was admirable under the circumstances. I confess I had a moment or two where I nearly forgot the war was over." He wanted to murder Oscar, he means, gallows humor shared at a glance and with the barest ghost of a smile. It's very difficult to tell if he's joking. As for her could be better: "Anything I can help with?"

That sentiment gets a smile, at least, even if it is a tired one. "Better here than last time. Less gunfire," she comments. That is a joke, if a dry one.

"With people like him," Lynette says, as far as wanting to kill Oscar, "the worst thing you can do is make someone laugh at them. He very much wants to be seen as an authority on these matters, wants people to see him has having reasonable discourse when he's really talking about the equivalent on chopping off someone's arm because they're left handed. More or less." But then, she is preaching to the choir there, so her smile turns a bit sheepish. "I also like the soapbox, obviously."

His question turns her more thoughtful, like she has to run down a list in her head to see if he could do anything about anything. "I'm not sure," she says, after a moment. "Give me a few days to figure out what I'm even doing about anything and I'll figure out something to throw at you."

"Less gunfire," Vincent agrees, "more paperwork." For everyone, it seems like, these days.

"But the soapbox suits you."

More assurance, earnest behind closed doors. There's a reason people follow her lead. Flipping bigots like turtles on talk radio is just one part of it. Administering flattery isn't the reason he's here, though. Lynette knows what she's capable of.

"I heard Samson Gray made a pass at your organization."

If she doesn't have any suggestions of her own, he can help there, too.

"You know you can reach out to me anytime. About anything."

A glance to her desk, then back to Vincent. "Do you ever miss the gunfire?" Lynette smirks there, because she doesn't so much. Except when she does. It was simpler, for one. And you got to shoot the other side more.

Well, Vincent still gets to.

"That he did," she says, of her surprise serial killer guest, "I know people always say this, but he was really very nice." She wrinkles her nose there, because she hates that she didn't realize what he was.

She regards him for a long, silent moment at his last words, her hand reaching over for her cup again. Fingers tap against ceramic, nails clicking.

"I'm working on something… call it a pet project. It isn't ready to pitch to anyone yet, but it does involved some legal complications. Think I could swing by your office when I have them ironed out?"

"Not really."

Dry on his own behalf, Vincent arches a brow, allowing — at least — for understanding of why she might. On occasion. That is quite the stack of paperwork she has incubating on her desk.

He just suffered a loss or two, is all. Nearly lost his daughter right out of the gate.

No comment, on Samson Gray's manners — just an extension of that same look, which stretches further still into silence while she reaches for her cup.

His eyes are tar dark across the kettle from her, studying as he's studied, measure for measure. This must be the end of the day for him — weariness leeching into his posture despite himself, the longer he's sat there. Intent. In her office living room.

"Absolutely." He loves legal complications! "Just — give me a call, first. I'm not always in New York."

"Thank you, I appreciate it." In advance, even. Or maybe just that he's willing. Lynette rubs a hand over her face, just for a moment. When she looks back his way, her smile is a little easier. "What about you? How've you been doing? I didn't even ask." Terrible. Very rude. "How is Kansas City these days?" It's a bit of a teasing question from someone who lived in LA and then NYC and remembers a time when the Mid West didn't have… that much of a draw.

"Don't mention it."

What Vincent Lazzaro really loves is collateral.

That offer extended, Lynette's smile easier, he knits his brow again at the series of questions that followes, dismissive of the necessity. How is he ever doing?

"I'm keeping busy," he says, which is true. "Always keeping busy — plenty of irons in the fire. I have a house, now." Living that sweet Kansas City life. "It has a garden," he says, and nods, deadpan pride for that dubious accomplishment. "It's awful."

Lynette laughs at that last confession; it's a laugh that implies she really needed that, even though she doesn't say so. "How often do you even see your house? Or your garden?" Or water anything. "Praeger is so lucky to have found you," she says, one workaholic to another. She needs to be a something-aholic, it seems, even if she gave up the blue fairy.

"I can imagine that you have to juggle quite a few irons. New York doesn't seem to have lost its flair for trouble, however much it shrank."

"He is lucky," Vincent agrees, wholeheartedly. "And as little as possible."

As often as he's in New York, the odds are high he has a place to stay around here too, for all that he doesn't advertise it. Pity the Homeowner's Association that tries to come after him for his ill-tended greenery in Missouri.

"I hadn't intended to take too much of your time," sounds like the beginning of an exit, for all that he hasn't yet moved to stand. "I just wanted to check in." See the facility, see Lynette. "I'm glad you're doing well, here."

A crooked smile forms at his reply— replies. Of all the things that have changed about the world, it's almost comforting to find Vincent as dogged as ever. Lynette lifts an eyebrow when he starts to lead up to an exit, but it's accepted with a nod. "I'm glad you came by. You're always welcome around here, even if it's just to check in," she says. She seems a little skeptical as he goes on, though, like she isn't all that sure she's doing well here at all. "Thank you," is what she says about it, though. She seems content to let him pick his exit, as she doesn't get up to show him out but rather, sits back to finish off her tea. The paperwork will call before long, no doubt.

Any trace of skepticism is met with an unspoken don't, eye contact leveled against doubt. She's helping people. Sometimes those people are murderers and she didn't know about it. Shit happens, right?

"Then maybe I'll make an effort to stop by more often."

He pushes off the chair, favoring one knee before he's even properly stood, stiff in the side he was leaning into. Christ.

"You said you could be better," he remembers, or seems to remember, once he's on his feet. "You're sure there's nothing I can help with? Extra security?"

She doesn't, as his look is leveled her way, not aloud in any case. But it is a reminder that she's suppose to be thinking positively now. "Maybe you should. Come by near a meal time, we have a cook on staff." A good one, her tone implies. "Bring coffee and I'll make sure there's desserts," she adds a moment later. Lynette watches him stand, only a glance given to his knee. Otherwise, she doesn't call attention to it.

Her expression dips when he brings it back around to all the trouble. "I'm… working on the security. Although, I happen to have my hands on some hardware that no one here can actually, legally use. If you know of some actual, licensed security people, I could use a few recommendations."

"Interesting." That's an interesting problem for her to have, he means, with the tiniest trace of skepticism for how that arrangement might have come about. But skepticism isn't ire, and an over-enthusiastic security system on a counseling center doesn't really register on the richter scale of problems the Safe Zone has at any given moment.

"I know people who know people. I'll make a few calls."

Now he's really leaving, a gesture passed vaguely back as he goes.

"Coffee," repeated, as if to help him remember. "I'll come by. Thanks for seeing me."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License