ellen_icon.gif hao-tung_icon.gif

Scene Title Involvement
Synopsis Hao-Tung is formally filled in on Ellen's newest intentions. If there is a surprise, however, it is more for her than him.
Date August 16, 2009

The Lucky Monkey - Upstairs Apartment

Up the narrow flight of stairs tucked in the back of the shop, should one get through the locked door, it comes to a tiny landing, where there is another locked door leading into the main apartment. However, doubling back, there is another narrow flight of stairs leading up one more flight, into a small attic space. Here, in between the sloping eaves, Ellen has a bed-sitting room of her own.

One end has been walled off to create a small but full bathroom, while the rest of the space is simply left open. A privacy screen, which looks like it probably came from the shop two floors below, at least attempts to divide the bedroom area from the sitting room: A double bed with a simple brass frame is pushed up under the eaves furthest from the bathroom, while on the other side, a second-hand loveseat faces an old television set, with a cheap coffee table in the middle. Up against the far wall, a tiny kitchenette has been installed, with a hotplate and a bar fridge.

The store has been closed up for the evening, and upon Hao-Tung's arrival, Ellen decided to leave the rest of her closing up tasks for later. There are things to discuss, so she locks up, hits the lights, and then leads the way up here to her private abode, such that it is. "«Can I get you anything? Something to drink?»" she offers as the two flights of stairs finally end at her attic space. The room is quiet, but a window cracked to let in some of the cooler night air also lets in the ambient noise of the busy city two storeys below. At least a small breeze drifts through the otherwise stuffy room.

The soles of Hao-Tung's shoes clankclank up the flight of stairs as he follows Ellen up them at a conservative distance; not so much because he is trying to stomp but because that's the natural reverberation the steps have, thanks. Plus he is always kind of heavy-footed in general. It's a gift!

When he lets himself through the doorway of the apartment proper, he doesn't search for a spot to sit right away, but rather stays pacing around a little ways past the door, large hands clasped behind his back as he briefly surveys his surroundings. "«Just a glass of water. Thanks.»"

"«Of course.»" Ellen offers a nod to that, heading over to the tiny kitchenette to get that for him, pouring out one for herself while she's at it. Glancing back over her shoulder, she notices him taking in the lovely surroundings. Unable to let it pass without comment, she notes wryly: "«Now you see why we usually go to your place.»" The water, of course, doesn't take long to prepare, and the room isn't much to cross when she brings both glasses over, nodding towards the loveseat. "«Do you want to sit or is this a brief visit?»" Of course, she has things to tell him, but if he's looking to be out of here quickly, well, perhaps she's looking for that one excuse to put this off a little longer, not quite sure how he will react.

«"There's work to do, so I don't have much time. It'll be a brief visit — unless you, of course, were planning something to make it longer ."» Hao-Tung arches a brow over at her, then returns to passing his gaze over the nearest wall and whatever might be adorning it. That's just for a few moments longer, and then Ellen comes back with the water; when he sees it, he heads to take a seat one on end of the loveseat with a small groan. No reason he can't sit, even if it is meant to be brief.

"«Sun is in trouble,»" he remarks somewhat abruptly, referring to one of the Red Poles. "«There'll be paperwork to take care of, as well as a little visit to pay.»" Hence. Work.

"«I see.»" Ellen doesn't immediately say much further, taking a moment to figure how to play this. Her instinct is to take this out, insist that there's nothing worth keeping him, but she generally tries not to outright lie to him. Not anymore. "«There was something I was hoping to talk to you about, but if you are busy, I wouldn't want to keep you.»" That is closer to the truth, she figures. Settling herself onto the other half of the loveseat and then leaning forward, setting both drinks down on the table, one in front of each of them. "«It sounds as though you have your hands very full already. It can wait.»" It can wait, she hopes; though perhaps it shouldn't.

But Hao-Tung's attention is attracted just by the wording of this, and he gives another look to Ellen, this time with more casual interest. There is a grunt. "«If you have something to tell me, I'm all ears,»" he remarks, reaching forward to lift one of the glasses off the table and lift it to his mouth, taking a large swallow from it. If he notices the notable pause she takes between her sentences, he doesn't comment on it; hoo, boy, here we go. "«What is it?»"

Here we go indeed. Ellen merely smiles placidly, though perhaps by now, he knows her well enough for that non-expression to be pointless. "«Perhaps you've heard already.»" She really has no idea if someone would tell him such things. Still, the only way out is through, and so after another brief pause, Ellie decides to simply have out with it. "«I had visitors to the store the other night.»" Another pause while she reaches for her own water, but doesn't take a sip. "«Liu and Song. They've agreed to use the store as a front.»" It's stated simply, as fact, though she watches him more closely than her somewhat indifferent tone would suggest.

The chance is strong that Hao-Tung has heard some murmur, somewhere down the line; the triad is a large, active one, and there are many hands that report directly to him before they ever reach the doorstep of the Ye siblings. Nor are all his colleagues in their pocket, quite yet. "«I did hear about that visit, as a matter of fact.»" With two of his fingers, he wipes a smudge near the lip of his glass, a slow, deliberate movement. "«And it does not surprise me. I still won't pretend I'm happy you've chosen to get yourself involved, but in the end, it's your choice.»"

Ellen nods, not horribly surprised that he heard, nor surprised at his lack of surprise. "«I never asked you to pretend.»" She wouldn't ask, he wouldn't do it. But in the end, here they are. She finally takes a small sip of her water, before continuing, starting to get to the real part of this that she wanted to discuss. "«I'm to expand operations. Set up a shop on Staten Island. In the Rookery.»" Each detail is offered separately, and she watches him closely all the while, waiting to see at which point, if any, this starts to become news, and then what his reaction will be. Of course, knowing her, if she is telling him, it is for a reason. Lying outright is one thing, but lies of omission, well, those she still has no problem with. Then again, her reason could simply be that he would probably notice her opening a second store.

"«If you are really deadset on it, I'll help you.»" This is rather abrupt, though Hao-Tung doesn't act like it is, taking another leisurely gulp from his glass as she looks at her appraisingly. As if she is a jewel of which he is trying to determine the worth. If she should look up at him weirdly at all, he'll just glance back with a very slight shrug. "«You'll need my help. Or, taken another way, it'll go significantly easier for you if I do what I can. This is Triad business, and I won't have you snooping around in deals where I can't see you.»" Protective? Chauvinistic? Her call. "«Have you started looking around for properties in the Rookery yet?»"

Ellen is actually caught a little by surprise by this abrupt offer of help, but there's perhaps some relief in there too. Could it be that's where she was trying to go with this? Of course, she would sooner die than honestly admit there is something she can't do herself. He gets a very faint smile and she nods her head. "«If you think that's best.»" Yes, let it be his idea. If it's chauvinistic, she isn't too bothered, since she's getting her way anyway. "«I'll start the search tomorrow.»" Not that she was waiting on it for him to be on board or anything, of course. "«And, well. Thank you.»" It's a moment of sincerity, at least, as short and awkward as it might be.

Of course Hao-Tung thinks it is best, or else he wouldn't have brought it up. "«Good,»" he replies curtly, though not really bothering to acknowledge the thanks he is given. "«You can perhaps follow up with a phone call, when I'm more free. I'll want to know all the details of what's going on — down to a tee. Now, is there anything else I should know?»" His gaze flickers towards the direction of the door and back, indicating that it probably wouldn't be a bad thing if he got going soon.

"«All right. I'll call later,»" Ellen promises quietly, giving a small nod with that, before she follows his gaze towards the door and summons up a small smile. "«Nothing that can't wait. Don't let me keep you from your work.»" She leans forward again, setting down her barely-touched glass of water. "«Perhaps one of these days when we're less busy, we should go out. Or I could come over. It isn't right that all we discuss is business these days.»" Especially not since it tends to put him in an even crankier mood than usual.

A very rare hint of a smile touches Hao-Tung's lips; a silent breath of air escapes through his nose, and the half-finished glass of water is set down onto the table with a 'thump'. There's a brusque sigh, and then he rises to his feet. "«I would like that. I need something to ease me from all this business.»" he says, regarding her for another moment. "«When I can come up for a breath of air, I promise we'll do something nicer. See a show, perhaps.»" With him paying for tickets, of course. He can no doubt afford such things better than she can.

And his tiny little smile gets one from Ellen as well. She might be used to him being Grumpy Bear, but that doesn't mean it isn't nicer when she manages to find the right thing to say at the right time. After he rises, she pushes lightly to her feet as well. "«A show would be nice, yes. I haven't seen anything in awhile.»" No, suffice to say such things aren't really up there on the priority list when you're trying to keep the family business simply afloat. Whether in gratitude for this, that, or simply in farewell, she leans in to give him a quick kiss on the cheek. "«Let me know when business eases up?»" she suggests with a slight arch of her brows.

"«I will.»" Leaning to receive the peck amiably enough, Hao-Tung turns to begin the short journey over towards the door when she is done, giving several of his beefy knuckles a good 'crick' as he straightens them out. He hadn't even taken his coat off, so there is no need to request that, at least. When he does reach the door, he lingers on the threshold long enough to give her one last significant glance, his brow arched. "«I'll probably be having a talk with Liu and Song later, as well. Have a good night, Ellen.»"

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