constantine_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif

Scene Title Inventory
Synopsis Constantine confronts Eileen about some missing medication.
Date March 10, 2009

Filatov Clinic

It's nice, now and then, when a day passes with no truly significant events occurring. And given the messes that Constantine has found himself a part of as of late, between Tavisha and Teo and who knows who else, a nice, slow day is a welcome day. The sun has already set, and the door to the clinic is locked; closed for the day. However, it's never as easy as just turning off the lights; there is clean-up to be done.

Presently, that is what is being done, Constantine busying himself organizing his supplies into their proper places in the many cabinets under the bright glow of the overhead lights while Ranger lounges on the floor near the dressing screens. Whether Eileen is waltzing with the broom or mop, or is otherwise making sure everything is presentable (and more importantly, clear of obstructions) in case of late night emergencies, Constantine elects to share a tidbit of information with her.

"I took inventory today," he says without turning away from the cabinets, perhaps making it difficult to tell if he is speaking to Eileen or to himself, or even to Ranger. "I think that I should make a habit of doing that more often. The strangest thing came to my attention."

Practical and down-to-earth are two descriptors that Constantine has come to associate with Eileen since she began working for him, so he might be mildly surprised when a lengthy pause elapses between his observation and her subdued reply — his assistant doesn't usually have her head in the clouds. "Mm?" she asks, her lips parting just so. "What's that?"

Although she doesn't look back over her shoulder at the doctor, he may notice her keeping a wary eye on his reflection in the glass cabinet in front of which she's sitting as deftly thumbs through a patient's files, filling in missing pieces of information in bold black ink, each stroke of her pen emphasized by the sound of its ballpoint tip scratching against the paper.

"There's a drug that I was certain I had," the doctor replies, calmly locking another drawer and moving on to the next one. "But when I took inventory, it turns out that there simply isn't as much as there should be. Even looking back over the records, I simply could not account for that much of it missing." Click. Another drawer locked, Constantine finally turns around to face Eileen, removing and folding his spectacles before sliding them into his shirt pocket.

"Isn't that just the strangest thing?"

"Maybe one of us misplaced it," Eileen suggests, lowering her gray-green gaze back to the file and maintaining a carefully-guarded facial expression. "We've had a fairly hectic week, all things considered. It'll turn up." Despite her reassurance, her voice contains a note of doubt. She isn't the most proficient of liars, and it's hard for her to dismiss Constantine's implication when she can feel his eyes on her back.

A moment later, she closes the folder and sets it aside on the counter, rising from her seat at the cabinet. "Would you like me to put in an order for more?"

"I think that I would rather find out where what we already had has gone to," Constantine says, moving away from the cabinets and towards Eileen. Perhaps it wouldn't be so much of a concern, if his walk weren't a tiny bit slower than normal, more purposeful and more deliberate. More threatening. "Or rather, who it's gone in."

The muscles in Eileen's jaw tighten, causing the tendons in her neck to stand out and jump against her pulse. Constantine can't hear it, even as he approaches, but her breathing is as deep as it is measured — her shoulders rise and fall with every intake and subsequent exhalation, stretched thinly through her nostrils. She holds her ground, however, and pivots one foot, leading her hips and the rest of her body into a swivel that brings her round to face him. "I'm sorry?"

"Think, Eileen. Misplaced it? Really? Where?" And there is the crux of Constantine's present argument. "Another cabinet? I'd have found it. In a strange place, certainly, but no cause for alarm. But it's not been misplaced. It's missing, and that's another problem entirely, because medicines don't just 'go missing'. They go 'somewhere'. Now, I know for a fact that I can't account for its disappearance. And if Ranger were responsible, we would know it. Because he would be dead.

"That leaves, exactly, only one of us to ask where it's gone. Or, who it's gone into." Logic can't solve every problem. In truth, it can't solve any problems; it can only provide someone the means to solve them correctly. The real question, however, is not whether or not Eileen knows where the medicine has gone, or who it's gone into. The real question is whether or not Constantine already knows the answer.

He might well know, especially if he's gone over the records like he said he did. Eileen thus finds herself in a precarious situation: she can either come clean and tell the truth about who she prescribed Constantine's missing medication to, or she can continue playing dumb. Either way, she risks losing her job, her livelihood, though she'd have been a fool not to take this into consideration before she made the alterations.

In the end, she decides to compromise and test out the middle ground. "It's possible that I made a mistake," she points out, perhaps a little too quick to accept the blame. "Recorded the numbers incorrectly. Undercharged. I can take another look—"

"Yes, I think that you should." Constantine stands directly in front of Eileen, within arm's reach. "But even if you did make a mistake, and record numbers incorrectly, that still wouldn't account for just how much of it is missing. Far, far more than one person should ever be prescribed. If you made a mistake, then you made a mistake on several records, and forgot to write down exactly what you prescribed to who.

"Oh, but Eileen. How long has it been? A month? A little longer? How many days have we worked side by side? Enough for me to know that you aren't so incompetent that you could have possibly made an error that grievous. And so, I find myself left with two possibilities. Either I am a fool, or there's something important that you aren't telling me."

There are several important things Eileen isn't telling Constantine. That she attempted to poison John Logan isn't even at the top of the list. "Longer," she affirms, swallowing hard. His close proximity causes cracks to appear in her chilly exterior and her cheeks to grow warm and pink, flushed with anxiety. As she speaks, she reaches up with one hand, the backs of her fingers brushing the bandage on her face.

"One of his women came in the other day," she murmurs, voice low and taking on a gravelly edge. "Said he needed something to help him sleep." There should be no doubt about who he is. The records are clear. "You saw what he did to Teodoro Laudani. I couldn't just let that go."

As the story unfolds, Constantine finds himself unable to stop from groaning, pinching the bridge of his nose between his fingers and shutting his eyes. It's not the sort of groan he might make as if to ask, 'What have you done?', but much more as if to say, 'You know you're not supposed to do that.' What he says next isn't so much a criticism of the girl's decision, at least not as much as it could be. It is, if anything, little more than a simple, if somewhat inaccurate statement of fact. "You could have. Very, very easily."

Recovering from the sudden headache that apparently overtook him, Constantine returns his gaze to Eileen. In the past, in Vanguard, something like this may have gotten her an angry, or at least disapproving look from her colleagues. The doctor, more than anything else, looks mildly curious. "You jumped at this chance as soon as it appeared. It's not the first time, since I've known you. I make a point of never knowing too much about those around me, but I find there is a slowly growing obsession to know just what happened in your life to give you this hair trigger."

Constantine looks mildly curious. Eileen looks mildly offended. One foot leads the other, the soft leather soles of her flats scuffing against the hardwood floor as she maneuvers around the doctor, careful to only brush shoulders with him on her way past — she doesn't often turn her back on people, even those she trusts not to shoot her in it. "You have the island's respect," she says, reproachful. "Your prices might not always be reasonable, but people pay them because you're the only ripper in the neighborhood who doesn't ask questions." So don't start now.

"The only reason John Logan didn't do to me what he did to Laudani is because I work for you. I had no way of knowing how long that amnesty would last, so I moved as soon as I saw an opportunity. Leverage." Eileen, at the very least, doesn't sound proud about it. Her gaze turns out the clinic windows to the street on the other side of the rain-slicked glass, image distorted by the rivulets streaming down it. "It has nothing to do with a hair trigger," she concludes softly. "It's about self-preservation. I'll pack my things."

Just as Eileen's response, and reasoning, is to the point and doesn't leave much room for open interpretation, so too is Constantine's. Turning to face her after she's passed him, his statement is simple, and very direct.

"Please don't."

Don't? "I poisoned one of your clients, Constantine," she points out, though the sheer ludicrousness of what she's saying doesn't really hit her until the words have already left her mouth. "I'd have killed him, too, if he hadn't had a healer on hand. What do you think it'll do to your reputation if it gets out you're harboring a snake?"

"I rather think it wouldn't do much," Constantine replies. His statement is not only devoid of sarcasm, it is rather flat in the way he says it. In this instance, if in no other, he is dead serious. "John Logan provides a valued service to the Island, I will admit. But any man can proprietate a brothel. Any woman could, the provider of the service is irrelevant. His role is, ultimately, unimportant.

"And even if it wasn't, I wouldn't care. When I say to you, 'Please don't,' don't think of it as me asking you to stay around because you're a fantastic help around the clinic, even though you are. Think of it as me asking you to stay, because I enjoy your company. Because I have the peace of mind knowing that, should I awaken in the morning and the world is coming to an end, I can count of you to be here, ready to treat the lost and the damned until there is nothing left. You're, so much more than, from I'm standing, than my assistant, Eileen. You've done the impossible. You've become dear to me. Not many have."

Eileen gives Constantine an exasperated look, but the way she chooses not top openly argue with assessment betrays her true feelings. There are very few people left alive who she can call her friends — it's heartening to know her employer is one of them. "You've been very kind to me," she concedes, "but he's going to retaliate as soon as he confirms what he already knows. I've no protection by association, not anymore. Is that really a risk you're prepared to take for my sake?"

"Risk?" Constantine asks. Almost casually, he approaches Eileen, not at all the frightening figure he was only moments before. The doctor is, perhaps, a bit perplexing in this fashion. Her comrades in the Vanguards could generally be considered one or the other; friendly or dangerous. Constantine manages to be both friendly and dangerous, switching his roles whenever one is more appropriate than the other, but rarely combining them. "Eileen, as I said. John Logan is inconsequential. I've heard that, on occasion, he may contend as to who owns this speck of land. And of course, it's either himself, or a partnership with James Muldoon." A half-hearted sigh escapes Constantine's lips as he says this, indicative of neither his belief nor denial of this statement.

"But the fact of the matter is simply that this is my island. Life on it exists as it does, or at all, because I benevolently permit it to. I am confident in the security that my name brings to those I consider my close associates. My friends. My confidants." As he speaks, Constantine Filatov only seems to grow more confident himself; bolder and more assured. "I am confident that, given who I am, what I am to the people who live here, no one would be so near-sighted and foolish as to make this clinic a target. To this community, you are valued very highly, Eileen. And to me, more highly still."

It would be nice to believe. It would also make Eileen the same naïve child she was when she first joined the Vanguard, lured into Kazimir's fold by promises of familial love and protection. If she's learned anything in the last year, it's that no one is untouchable, no matter how valued or treasured they are. "You'll forgive me if I don't agree because my life experience dictates otherwise," she says, finally turning away from the window. Her footfalls cross the room, scarcely audible but for the creaking of the floorboards under her weight. It's an older building, and its foundations are older still. "Good night, doctor."

Perhaps some of Constantine's soliloquy, for that is what it was, by and large, were too much to assume. But only some. "Good night, Eileen." As far as Eileen seems concerned, their conversation is over. Constantine knows that everyone has their limit, a known distance they are willing to be to be pushed; for tonight, his young assistant seems to have reached hers.

It may perhaps be a bit much to hope that, after he has gone to the Pancratium tonight and returned, that Eileen will still be in his clinic, in his home, or that she will stay through the morning. The doctor suspects that after she poisoned Logan, she had been looking for an excuse to leave. But maybe, she was instead looking for an excuse to force him to force her to leave, something she did not find tonight. Maybe all he has done was convince her that today was her last day working under him.

Then again, maybe taking inventory was the best thing that could have happened to either of them. Until the morning, it will be a mystery, and Constantine can only hope that the answer he receives will lead to a continued occupancy of the clinic's spare room.

March 10th: Rats Under the Moon

Previously in this storyline…
The Tucker Family Reunion

Next in this storyline…
Learn Something

March 10th: The Tucker Family Reunion
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