Of Well-Dressed Men


ace_icon.gif godfrey_icon.gif

Scene Title Of Well-Dressed Men
Synopsis Someone has their eye on Godfrey and wants to offer him a hand. Time will tell if it's one he takes.
Date December 15, 2020

It's usually Godfrey driving up on someone well-dressed and with an excellent ride. But that's not how it happens today.

The sleek, black two-door vehicle that rolls up has a metallic finish and lacks the purr of a gas engine, but has all the attractive angles of one. Not Yamagato-branded, but with a Porsche crest resting in the center of the hood. When the tinted window rolls down, it reveals a suited man sitting within in equally-tinted shades, the sleeves of his jacket a deep emerald, the cuff of the dress shirt underneath crisply stiff and secured with jet and gold links. He's paler, with a dapple of freckle to match the red- brown of his hair. The unfamiliar man tilts his head toward the sidewalk, to the door Godfrey exits from.

"Godfrey Wells," he calls out with blasé cheer. "Might I buy you a drink?"

His name spoken with an unfamiliar voice catches Godfrey’s attention all right. He stops just outside of the building he’d just exited, turning to peer over a pair of dark framed oakley sunglasses at this stranger with most excellent taste. Pushing the sunglasses back into place, he moves a bit closer, but stays just out of reach.

While not dressed in a suit, Godfrey still managed to look well-dressed, even when wearing jeans and a black leather jacket. At least, he thankfully had a chance to get groomed, which allowed him to feel more himself.

“Though you seem to believe the contrary, I’m not actually in the habit of getting in cars with complete strangers,” Godfrey looks over the car with lifts brows, “No matter how excellent their tastes might be.” Then his gaze settles back on the man again.

“You know me, but who are you?”

The man in the car smiles.

"My name is Ace Callahan," he introduces himself without rising from his seat or flicking up his shades to produce a more honest face. He turns to look up at Godfrey more properly, though, now that he's closer. "I'm a man who specializes in finding opportunities for the right people, and you, freshly unburdened from previous employment—" a kind and roundabout way of referring to his prison time and release, to be sure, "seem as though you are a man for whom opportunity is ripe to strike."

He turns the hand on the wheel over, palm up in a placating gesture. "If you're not currently in a drinking mood, we could always sync up at a later time. There's a wonderful little place down near the shore that's opened up recently, one I think a man of your taste might enjoy." His brows lift. "In which case, I can leave you my card."

Opportunity, huh? That has Godfrey’s attention. While the man doesn’t seem familiar, that name does.

“Hold on, I know that name,” Godfrey says with eyes narrow at the man in the car scrutinizing him. Clearly, trying to place the face. “Pretty sure we didn’t shag.”

The realization is instant and Godfrey snaps his fingers and points at Ace, “Odessa! That’s right. She did mention an Ace, though I must say, you don’t look anythin’ like she described.” Which he seems rather disappointed about. How did she describe him?

Hands moving to fold over his chest, Godfrey’s smile seems a friendlier to Ace, “How is she? She the one that sent you? Surprised she didn't come see m’ herself if she knew where I was.” Maybe there is still that sense of suspicion in his words.

“I do find myself curious about these opportunities though, but excuse me if I err on the side of caution,” Godfrey at least manages to look mildly apologetic, arms unfolding so that he can hold out a hand. “I’ll take the card and meet you later tonight at this new place you’ve mentioned.”

When Godfrey makes his passing comment about them possibly having previously crossed paths in that way, one of Ace's brows arch. Not in derision, it'd seem, but interest. It certainly says plenty about the other man's tastes and the way he swings.

The mention of Odessa, and her having had talked of him brings his temper back to a cool even, though. "She's well," he affirms. "She's busy with the new life she's constructed for herself, so I'm afraid I don't see her as often as I'd liked. I'm sure she'll be delighted to know she was remembered, though."

With a tuck of his hand, a card is produced from up his sleeve and smoothly offered out to Godfrey. "My interests are mostly my own, however. Although…"

The gold and black lettering on the face of the business card repeat his name, as well as the business he associates with: the d'Sarthe Group.

"That's not to say there aren't others curious to see where you'll go next."

With a smile, Ace looks forward again, glancing into his rearview to assure there's no oncoming traffic. "See you tonight, Godfrey."

As he pulls away, there's no indication of where or when transmitted. There is, however, a note on the back of the card.

Merlot Joe's, 8 PM

Merlot Joe's

8:04 pm

The table Ace waits at is directly under a large, golden-framed mirror. Without shades on, it's easier to see the sharp green-grey of his eyes, ones brought out by the beige jacket he wears tonight, ones contrasted by the emerald tie he wears neat down the center of a pale dress shirt.

The air here is light, conversational. Even in the dim evening lighting, the place is packed well enough the murmur of other tables would cover anything said at their own. Ace seems particularly uninterested in his surroundings, though, save for what's beyond the darkened windows.

No, he's got an object of far greater interest he waits patiently to come to him yet.

He’ll probably see when Godfrey arrives fashionably late, directed by a server to Ace’s table. He’s at least upped his wardrobe game from earlier. Wearing a dark gray three piece suit and a lilac shirt under it. His shoes were clearly Italian. Unlike Ace, however, Godfrey hasn’t bothered with a tie.

Godfrey made sure that he was impeccably groomed for this meeting.

Without waiting to be invited to sit, Godfrey simply slides into the chair across from Ace. “Good evening, Mr. Callahan,” he offers in a bright greeting as he unbuttons his jacket and settles in for whatever conversation the pair were in for.

With a small smile, one little more than a flash of canine, Ace greets in return, "Mr. Wells." He lifts a hand to signal a waiter, who nods and goes to retrieve a bottle. One that must have been selected previously, given the lack of verbal interaction.

In the meantime, he pushes aside his own glass more toward the end of the table. "It's a relief to see more places like these opening up. A blessing, truly, to see life, the arts, entrepreneurship flourish as though we weren't on the verge of breadlines here less than half a decade ago. The movements lately feel much like a return to normal, do they not? Even if it is a new normal; under new establishment, new … ownership." Glancing only cursorily over the restaurant, Ace returns his attention to Godfrey.

"Have you given much thought yet to where you will find your place in the world now that you walk in it again? The city is ripe with opportunities presently." With a touch of a more fond smile, Ace adds, "And a man like yourself— with your talent, your history— you aren't one to be sleeping on them."

“I’m for more… excitement m’self. Strobin’ lights and scantily clad beauties,” Godfrey says with a cheeky grin, leaning back in his chair and resting an arm over the chair next to him. “But, you’re right, of course. A bustling economy is good for all involved.” That he couldn’t deny, even though he’d only been there a few years, he’d seen the progress.

When the subject shifts to Godfrey, well… Now that is interesting.

The amused smile stays but the gaze on the other man sharpens. Not that Godfrey doesn’t enjoy being the center of attention, he’s curious what and how much Ace knows. However, beginning on the lips and minds of strangers, wasn’t always a good thing. Especially with his ‘history’.

Plus, he had possibly expected to be bored at this meeting.

Fingers tap on the curved back of the chair, as Godfrey decides how to approach this. “I may have a few opportunities on the table, all very promising. However, I am always more than willing to hear another. Especially, from one who clearly had an excellent eye for taste and talent.”

The wine bottle brought to the table, neck of it draped in a white cloth, pours dark into the glasses set up on the table.

"I'm employed with the d'Sarthe Group, myself— which enjoys a number of pursuits across the Safe Zone, mostly involved in the Staten Island reclamation." Tilting his head, Ace smiles fondly. "There's a new club there, Rossignol. It has a refinement about it; live music, and an atmosphere to long for. I should introduce you to the songstress sometime."

With a wave of his hand to indicate that wasn't what he really meant to be talking about, he takes hold of his wineglass, and the waiter leaves the bottle behind for them to share. A warm plate of bruschetta is slid onto the table by another passing waiter. Just in time.

"While this is an interesting time in the development of the SZ, it does require a certain amount of clout to get anywhere far. A man recently freed from a convincted terrorism charge, much less one who's an expatriate… well." Ace demures long enough to take a sip of the pinot noir. "Many doors close to a man with that kind of history and status."


And this part is key, which Ace concedes with a pleased look. "You have the right people either with you or behind you, greasing palms, opening doors." The arm holding his drink swings out at the elbow. "While I delight in making opportunities happen for those bold enough to seek them, I'm rather fond of making sure it's a mutual pleasure. I'm not sure you're someone currently looking for anyone else to work under, given the situation you've just exited— but feel free to relieve me of that assumption if that's not the case."

He slips a slice of bruschetta onto a smaller plate for himself before leaning back. "Instead, I'm thinking you're a man who might need support as he pursues his own endeavors. Am I on the right path?"

With a lift of his brows, he confesses, "I'm curious as to just what those might be."

There is an obvious wariness when d’Sarthe is mentioned out loud, a twitch of his eyes narrowing, having heard about the small rivalry between Ace’s employer and his own former associates.

“You’re certainly right about one thing…” Godfrey says, leaning forward long enough to take up the long stemmed glass. “I’ve little desire to let someone lord over me, it turned out quite troubling last time and I shan’t allow that to happen again… if I can help it.” He wasn’t fool enough to think he wouldn’t end up working for someone, but he wouldn’t offer them blind fanatical devotion.

Swirling the glass, Godfrey really thinks on that question.

“Truth be told, at the moment, I have none,” Godfrey finally concludes, “I’m enjoying the feeling of freedom for now and exploring the… new me.” The new him with the ability to harness the sun.

“But, I also recommend not underestimating my clout, Mr. Callahan. How do the Americans say it? Oh yes. This is not my first rodeo, and this time, I’m far more prepared.” Was that light reflecting in the irises of Godfrey’s eyes? The man’s gaze drops to the wine in his hand, but the flicker is there, brief enough that it could leave his companion wonder if he truly saw it.

"None at all?" Ace balks, practically teasing. He doesn't believe that for a moment. But he drinks and relents, settling back. It lets him see the flash of light in Godfrey's eye, one that keeps him looking even after the other man's looked away.

Perhaps it was something. Perhaps it was nothing. Perhaps it adds to his intrigue either way.

"I'd not dare to underestimate you," he assures. "All I wanted to do was… offer my support." Brows lifting, he adds with no small amount of cheek, "If there was room for such a thing."

“Well, not none,” Godfrey amends with a crooked smile, “but none that needs the support of a stranger, at the moment,” The man watches people pass by them through partly hooded eyes. “Someday perhaps.” But not now it seems.

Reaching out, a neatly manicured finger runs along the lips of his glass, making a soft humming sound. “The thing about support, it’s rarely without a price.” His head tilts ever so slightly, as dark eyes move over the other man’s features. “I wonder what that could be. You know, the price for your support,” Godfrey says with a motion towards Ace.

“An as yet to be determined favor at a later date, perhaps?”

Almost as soon as the words pass his lips, Godfrey gives an amused chuckle, “Sorry, I must confess that I am only here out of curiosity.” Picking up the glass he swirls the contents and takes a sip. “Why would one of d’Sarthe’s want to talk to me? I was after all a part of his competition. There was a time, we were practically kill on sight.” Which was more than likely an exaggeration about tensions between two groups.

The grin Ace wears in return becomes more wry and knowing, championed over by delight. A tip of his head and a lift of his glass acknowledges in silence the dangerous game he plays at. But don't out him, Godfrey. His eyes gleam as he flashes a smile a little wider.

They don't have the same quality the heliokinetic's do, but something in the light green-grey of them shifts almost darker.

"Apart from the fact that the old rivalries mean little to nothing to me…" And why should they? The former competition fell, after all. Or maybe there's something more. "You were once a part of an enemy organization. Then you turned your back on them, did you not? It begs the question of what would it take for you to turn your back on me, of course, but unlike most, that's not a question that deters me."

A sip of wine later and he sets aside his drink. "You have me pegged right. A veritable stranger in the scene, one without the illustrious past and all those nuggets of knowledge that come with it." His expression scrunches briefly with a narrowing of his eyes. "A man looking to make allies. A man with the ability to leverage the resources of the d'Sarthe Group to his— nay, your advantage, should you be willing to suspend your reservation and begin a shift from stranger in my eyes to…"

With a quirk of an eyebrow, he ventures, "Well. Handsome, cunning man like yourself… who knows how far you might go?" It's an insinuation Ace lets mull while he samples the appetizer finally.

Brows lift quite high at the hidden innuendo in those words. Once Ace has concluded, a small short laugh of amusement escapes the heliokinetic, as if he was surprised at the other man’s words. After taking another sip of the wine, Godfrey sets the glass down rather gently.

“You are an intriguing little man.”

Eyes narrow as if sizing up something… or someone… rather fun. “So let me see if I understand this correctly, if I get to know you better,” He lets his eyes travel down the impeccably dressed man, letting his teeth just touch his lower lip very briefly, “then I might have all my dreams come true?”

Was that sarcasm? Hard to tell really.

This time when his dark eyes lift, there is no mistaking the flicker of light there, because it doesn’t fade this time. “Bold of you to assume I don’t have resources and allies of my own, just because I let go of m’ ties with one organization,” Godfrey says pleasantly, still languidly leaning back not unlike a cat. “So why ever would I accept the resources of Gideon d’Sarthe, even if by proxy?”

Leaning forward, a single brow lifts. “Unless you’re looking to make a name for yourself, out of the long shadow of your master?” Godfrey offers as a wild guess, genuinely curious.

Ace smiles in return, cooler than before, but just as persistent. "I said in so many words I represent the d'Sarthe Group, not that the d'Sarthe Group represents me, Mr. Wells."

"I don't profess to be a magician. I am, as I said, a man who specializes in opportunity. In offering them, in capitalizing on them…" He meets Godfrey's unblinking, no such trick of light appearing again in his own. His smile fades slightly. "And if I thought you were a charity case, we'd not be talking. I'm uninterested in helping support your hopes and dreams. I rather find myself interested in the goals and aspirations of a man like yourself."

Ace tilts his head, lifting his glass from the table again. "But if you're uninterested, or otherwise unwilling to be my dance partner…" Even his glass quirks to the side before he sips. "Well, not every swing strikes gold."

But rather than lose interest, he looks back to Godfrey again almost immediately, brows lifting just a touch. He's said as much as he's willing to say with how little he's been given.

“Mmm…,” Godfrey doesn’t sound completely convinced, sipping his wine as he listens. After a moment or two of thought, he admits, “Well, I would not say I’m entirely not interested, but for the moment I have no use for a dance partner of your caliber.” The apologetic smile he offers the man has no true apology behind it.

“Currently, my focus is… on other matters of importance to me.” Godfrey doesn’t go into it more than that. Ace didn’t need to know about the self training he’s been undertaking to get a better handle on his ability. “Besides, luv, jumping back in feet first right away would be detrimental to the freedom that the Deveaux Society and Yamagato won for me.”

Two powerful groups he clearly wasn’t ready to piss off yet.

“Surely, you can understand the delicate balance needed to walk that sword's edge,” Godfrey asks with his own slight tipping of a brow.

"Of course," Ace assures easily. "I never expected an answer this evening, only to understand if there's anything I can do to make the financial assistance I could provide to you more…" He turns over another bite of bruschetta in his hand before chuckling. "Appetizing."

After popping the bite away, he draws his mouth to one side. "Within reason, of course."

"If nothing else, I do appreciate your time. I enjoy days when I get chase personal interests like these." Ace flashes a warm smile, fond and appreciative.

"And I do mean it, Mr. Wells— it'd be my pleasure to have you by Rossignol some time, regardless of your final answer."

“No Midas touch? Pity,” Godfrey teases rather blatantly about Ace’s limits, but there is nothing malicious in his tone. He had no aspirations that the man across from him could move mountains for what Godfrey might need in the future.

“Well, lucky for you… you’ve piqued my interest, Mr. Callahan,” Godfrey says with a bright grin, because of course Ace is lucky to have him sitting there at all. Though the smile fades at the edges, his eyes narrow ever so slightly. “For now,” he amends before transferring his glass to his other hands and reaching for a bit of bruschetta.

“And to show that I’m indeed interested in our potential future partnership, I shall endeavour to make an effort to check out Rossignol,” Godfrey says, adding with some interest, “and, of course, meet this songstress.”

Ace looks pleased enough at that, lifting his glass and settling back. "I'll look forward to that wholeheartedly," he enthuses quietly. "She's a gem of a being."

Leaning back the way he is makes it easier for him to slip his wallet from his pocket. He drains what remains of his glass and sets it aside to draw two bills from the billfold of the wallet. One hundred dollar note would provide a rounded tip for what's on the table, but he lays two flat on the table, lifting the wine bottle to cover them over.

"Please, order whatever you like for dinner. I have another matter to tend to tonight, or I'd join you." Ace flashes a small smile meant to be an apology before he rocks himself forward to his feet, chair pushed back by his legs. He fastens the button on his blazer with one hand. "Enjoy your evening, Mr. Wells. You have my card when you're ready to talk again."

There is no real reaction to the money and the offer to pay for his meal, Godfrey just returns the generosity with a smile and a small tip of his head in acknowledgment. “And enjoy yours, Mr. Callahan,” he says in response to the farewell, at least.

When the other man takes his leave, Godfrey watches the exit over the lip of his wine glass with narrowing eyes.

Only once he is certain Ace has gone, does Godfrey set the glass down and move to rise without even taking advantage of the gift. His gaze drops to the money set under the bottle with mild disdain, while he straightens his jacket. As if its mere existence is an insult.

He knows it’s in a way, it’s a not so subtle message. A quiet show of power and what Godfrey could have if he partnered up with Ace Callahan… and possibly d’Sarthe. And he did miss his lavish lifestyle.

Almost as soon as the thought forms, Godfrey’s lip twitches in a hint of a sneer. Without another thought, Godfrey simply turns his back on the table and walks away.

Later a waiter will quietly pump his fist as he pockets a hefty tip.

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