If You Wish to Live and Thrive...


gillian2_icon.gif lucrezia_icon.gif

Scene Title If You Wish to Live and Thrive…
Synopsis …let the spider run alive.
Date June 17, 2009

Greenwich Village - Fourth Floor Safehouse

Someone else's stuff.

The elevators doors open with a ting. In some ways it's just like any other apartment floor. By all appearances it would be, except the fact that the elevator required so much security just to push a simple button. Good thing, too, because it's supposed to be a safehaven for those who wish to need a safe place. The person who steps out would be new to the floor, having only ever come when she got shown where it was. Dressed in dark colors, one might think she's a recovering goth— in fact she's just a goth who stopped keeping up the lifestyle full time. Dark hair still hangs almost in her face.

Gillian expects the hallway to be empty, but that does not appear to be what she finds. There's a smell of that she misses more than she'd probably ever admit. Cloves. A habit she had to stop when she went on the run. That draws her footsteps down the hall to find the source of the smell, and she doesn't have to go far. Damn she's missed that smell… The smoke comes from a woman hanging in her doorway. Bored, typically European, and devastatingly beautiful. And it isn't just the smell that she recognizes. It's impossible to recognize her from the orange jump suit and the prison hair that she'd had in their brief encounter in Moab, but— it's somewhere else she recognizes her from. "Weren't you in Peccaminoso?" She doesn't quite pronounce it right, but she tried.

Indeed, Lucrezia Bennati cuts a cinematically striking figure, impossible to ignore. She's currently framed in the doorway of someone else's apartment, on display like some sort of slattern, smoking a sweetly-scented cigarette while clad in a slightly sheer black robe that she's barely bothering to keep on her shoulders and easily reveals the floor-length nightgown worn underneath. It seems she must not have been expecting anyone to wander by at this hour, or — then again — maybe she was

The Italian woman slides easily into a smile as the prospect of being face to face with a fan here or all places is an unanticipated pleasure. Peccaminoso, of course, was the sordid story of a woman carrying on a tragic affair with two brothers. The irony that this might be the film Gillian recognizes her from ought not be lost. It was also the first film in which the starlet dared for full frontal exposure, much to the rabid delight of French and Italian audiences everywhere. Ah, European cinema! Anything for emotion.

"I was," Lucrezia croons, smoke curling from the corners of her mouth to sweeten her accent all the more. "Do you know it?" The other woman obviously does but it's more modest than asking if she enjoyed it or not.

Sadly it's been a while since Gillian saw the movie— or any movie, really— but there's an immediate nod, "Yeah, of course— it was one of my favorite movies a few years ago— a friend of mine had the subtitled version and we watched it enough times I stopped having to read the subtitles in most scenes." And really, in some of those scenes, looking at the bottom of the screen would have been quite a pity. Steamy could easily be the word for it.

"I'm surprised to see you here…" It's almost like finding a peacock in the chick coops. Something that doesn't really seem to belong— Even knowing Cat's rich doesn't help with this situation much.

"Brava," lauds Lucrezia mildly, still wearing her smile while she continues to smoke with unabashed enthusiasm. She even employs the black-papered butt as a conductor's wand while she gestures to the air just over her right shoulder, presumably meant to imply the apartment building itself; the aforementioned here that Gillian spoke of. "I am a wanted woman. Your… friends keep me here out of a kindness," she says, the last few words falling out of her mouth sugar-coated in a contrary tone, as if she didn't actually believe what she was saying. "Would you care to come in?"

Welcome to my web, said the spider to the fly.

"Guess it'd be fucking difficult for someone like you to hide in public," Gillian admits quietly, glancing over her shoulder and then down the hall. There's many other rooms, perhaps even one for her, but she just nods and moves to follow. "Got another one of those? I had to stop smoking cloves when I became wanted too— I ran out sometime in November and never managed to get more," she says, looking at the woman's hand for a long moment. Even if she managed to make it through the addict stage (thanks in part to everything else going on— it's coming back now).

"I've been thinking a lot about your movie lately… so seeing you in the hall— really surprised me." There have been many reasons why she would be thinking about it… the world seems to be lacking in coincidence.

"Of course," says the aging actress as she waltzes her way through someone else's living room and into the dining room en route to the den wherein a polished silver and mother of pearl cigarette case awaits her return with refined indifference. She plucks it up from the tabletop and then extends it, open, in a generous gesture of offering to the younger woman in her wake. Lucrezia's smile seems to be at least superficially sincere but there's a hint of something hidden in her expression; the suggestion of something unknowable concealed in the corners of her mouth.

Slowly but surely, the subtle sound of a very small voice whispering undiscernible things begins to weave its way into Gillian's aching ears…

The Black Widow cops a lean against the edge of a small desk and continues to let plumes of smoke bloom from between her lips as she says, "I'm just full of surprises." She pauses for a moment and then adds with a pair of fingers pitched in the other woman's direction, "I've seen you before."

The whispers aren't quite as evasive and headache-inducing as the telepathic conversation she had in a bar a week or so ago, but Gillian still reaches up and rubs at her forehead faintly, eyes sliding shut as she takes in a slow breath. Whatever is causing the whisper is noticed only because it'd not been there a moment before. Even if part of her should realize what's going on, thanks to a conversation with a group of Phoenix-types.

"More people are full of surprises than I thought," she admits with a quiet rasp, like someone who's recovering from throat pain might speak. Eyes open to watch the puffs of smoke, a blink at having been seen before— she can't recall anything recent, however… "I've been helping the people here since the beginning of the year— guess you could've seen me at a few of their things." All the other times she saw the woman, she'd not quite looked like her cinema-self… Whereas she's looked more or less the same— minus various injuries and some changes in hair color.

Lucrezia makes a mild humming noise — or, perhaps it might more accurately be described as a purr — in response to the younger woman's explanation. "That must be it," she adds just prior to finishing off her clove cigarette and smothering the dim cherry to death on the edge of an aluminum can currently serving as an ashtray. So upscale.

"Can I get you something to drink?" she offers en route to the kitchen, all sashay and swagger. The whispering remains ever-present but unobtrusive, blurring up the edges of Gillian's peripheral perceptions like so much white noise; someone somewhere must have left a radio on without bothering to tune in to any particular station.

Radio left on in the next apartment makes sense, so Gillian dismisses the sounds as she moves further inside the apartment so she can find a place to get comfortable— and instead moving further toward the kitchen at the prospect of a drink. "Imagine you got better choices of drinks than I'm used to," she says with a small smile, big enough that dimples are visible, but not quite large enough that it shows teeth except when she continues to speak.

Now what was her name… The problem with being a fan of her work is that the face and the voice are more recognized than the name— Fingers itch for internet movie database right now— but there's no computer for her.

"My name's Gillian Childs," she adds to introduce herself. Childs— Winters— sometimes she's not sure of her last name. Gillian at least seems to have always been hers. "How long have you been… needing to hide out here?"

If only the circumstances for this particular meeting might be adjusted, Lucrezia could be inclined to agree… about the drink choices, at any rate. Unfortunately, this isn't really her 'place' and thus the libations made available aren't exactly up to par with the Italian woman's expensive tastes. Faygo Grape soda just can't compare to a nice Napa Valley merlot but it's what she's got to work with and so she makes the best of it. Instead of bemoaning her circumstances, she rather imagines that this must be what Teo's life in like, living as an American. What is it they say here? Quando a Roma… Oh, the irony.

"Longer than I would like," she says from the kitchen, undaunted by the relative rudeness of carrying on a conversation from another room. "But, I am told it is a, how do you say… a necessary evil?" There is, perhaps, some irony in that statement, too, but it isn't very apparent without the reference of expression.

The actress returns with a pop can in hand and offers it over to Gillian while wearing a somewhat apologetic expression even as she says, "It is a pleasure to meet you, Gillian. Gia. That is a lovely name." Their fingers will meet for one cold, condensating, sensual moment when the soda is exchanged.

Even a merlot is better than the beer that most people would have to offer… most people not including Cat upstairs, at least, but definitely more than most safehouses. This one could possibly be considered the most upscale safehouse she's had the chance to stay in… Gillian dimples lightly at the nickname, having made it most the way to the door of the kitchen by the time the actress returns with a pop can. There's a soft laugh at the sight of it, even if she reaches out and takes it. "Gotten mostly bottled water in the other safehouses," she admits, letting their fingers touch as she takes it.

The can is chilled, while her fingers are quite warm. Not going to remain that way long, holding onto the can.

"You could say I'm staying with them out of a 'necessary evil' too, though I'm sure the circumstances are different." She can't imagine multiple people would be helping Phoenix for anywhere near the same reasons she did… There's a long pause… Name— Italian. The only other person around here who speaks Italian… A replay of some words spoken by the blonde leader of Phoenix in her head draws the connection. Teo's aunt. "You're Teo's aunt." Lucrezia.

The light laughter that languidly finds its way from between Lucrezia's lips adds some good-natured noise to the din of what seems to be several small voices whispering just over the Italian woman's shoulder and, yet, it's obvious that they're the only two people in the room. "I am," she says simply. She isn't inclined to question how Gillian came into this particular piece of trivia. The source is unimportant. Instead, she wagers a slightly loaded inquiry. "Do you know my nephew well?"

"Wouldn't say well, but I know him okay, I guess," Gillian says, taking a moment to look down into the can. The way she's looking down might hint toward more than she's actually intending to hint to, before she reaches up to push bangs and hair strands out of her eyes. "I get along well with him, at least— he's surprisingly easy to talk to." For someone who often has a difficult time being open with most women, there's no surprise she had been able to open up to Teo more than the other leaders of Phoenix. And he'd been good to look at, too.

There are some subtleties in gesture and body language that are not lost in translation for the older woman despite the relative barrier of conversing in words that do not belong to her native tongue. As an expert observer, Lucrezia can tell the difference between being bashful and playing coy. "He gets along well with most women," she says while simultaneously allowing the shadow of a smirk to darken the corners of her mouth as if she had just told some sort of private joke. "He has a good heart," she adds. It's almost a non sequitur.

Somewhere in the back of Gillian's brain, there's a tiny ping that cuts through the static and comes in clear. It's a little bit like some kind of proximity alert. While the younger woman might not rightly realize it, she's carrying company on her shoulder in the form of a big brown spider that’s climbed all the way up in order to get a closer look at this strange new creature on the scene.

Lucrezia's expression appears momentarily strained.

"I don't doubt that— he's good at listening, and saying what a woman should've said to herself long before," Gillian admits quietly, smile fading a bit at the tickling voice in the back of her head. It doesn't even seem to be made up of words… Sensations. Like the difference between normal sight and looking around when she'd been in metal form. Theoretically it had the same end effect, but the manner of getting there had been completely dissimilar.

Almost like whispers— to the point she gets some idea of what the whispers mean. Curiousity, mostly.

"I think that…" she starts to speak quietly, before she glances to the side enough to spot the large brown spider standing out on her dark clothes. Immediate reaction would be one of shock. Oh god, is it poisonous!? Don't bite me— don't— just keep crawling. At least the second reaction isn't flailing arms and screaming. She's been living in enough crappy places in the past that spiders have crawled on her, but that doesn't mean she wants it there. It's funny how her body actually takes on the effect of trying to lean away from something perched on her own shoulder. Ineffective, but visually noticeable.


And, just like that, the eight-legged interloper begins to scuttle back down Gillian's arm in search of somewhere else to be. Lucrezia can't help but notice the exchange though she doesn't immediately jump to the conclusion that anything unusual has occurred. After all, this is the typical type of reaction that most people might have upon discovering that there's a spider squatting on their shoulder. What could be considered out of the ordinary is the Italian woman's way of dealing with it…

"Hold still," she says before extending a hand over to the other woman's shoulder so as to provide the creepy crawly a parallel exit strategy. The aging actress is apparently undaunted by the prospect of playing bodily host to a sinister spider or so it seems. Once her wee passenger is aboard, she whispers a reassuring, "There we are." though it's a bit difficult to determine if she's speaking to the spider or the other woman. She keeps the creature cupped in one hand before bending down and allowing it to escape into the dim shadows of some spare corner in which there is already a web.

"It is very bad luck to kill a spider," Lucrezia explains with a serene smile on her face before turning and making her way back into the den. "Come with me," she says, crooking a finger. "I hope no one minds if I steal you tonight. It's been such a long time since I've had good company…"

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