Ongoing Negotiations


abby_icon.gif alexander_icon.gif niki_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Ongoing Negotiations
Synopsis 24 hours passes and as promised, Niki calls Teo, while Abby and Alexander listen in. For good or bad, nothing progresses on either side, and Abby's bid to be chained in someplace other than the bedroom fails.
Date December 9, 2008

Jessica's Safehouse

Jessica was gone most of the day, leaving Abby there with the supplies she provided. It's dark before she returns…fairly late. She looks over to the woman on the bed. "How are you doing?"

Less than half the load of bread is missing, The water consumed and then refilled. Peanut butter and jelly both used, but neatly put up, tops on, Neat and tidy the prisoner is. The knife in plain view, wiped clean with a roll of toilet paper beside it. Abby's seated on the floor, cross legged, absent whatever she had from the church and looks up when Jessica opens the door. The chain and handcuff still on her left hand. "I could use a toothbrush, and a bible, if you have either. Change of clothes. How are you today Jessica?" She doesn't look thrilled to see the woman, but it's beat sitting in a room all day and staring out the window watching people come and go. That and dust the room with the toilet paper and water from the bathroom. Anything except sit still.

Jessica looks back. "I don't have those things here. But I'll see to getting you both of them." It's a minor enough request, after all. "I can pick up a couple more books for you at the same time, if you like. But right now, we have a phone call to make. I trust we don't need to go over warnings again?"

"Bible will do me just fine. But if you want to throw some other books in, that'd be appreciated Jessica" Abby shakes her head to the question about the phonecall. "Don't tell them, or hint where I am and my limbs stay intact. I promise. I like them right where they are. Are you doing it in here or do I get to stretch a bit. no offense, but it's not .. I wouldn't mind a change of scenery"

Jessica shrugs. She takes out the keys, and unlocks Abby's wrist. "We can go as far as the living room. But it's still going to be in here." And she takes out the phone, dialing Teo's number once again. Ringring.

'Thanks. I apprecaite it" Abby watches the woman take off the handcuff, right hand going to her wrist, chafing gently where it was encircled by the steel before pushing herself up from the floor and easing down subsequently onto the edge of the bed, waiting for the italian to pick up the phone.

Some portion of island away, there's a Sicilian sitting on his desk, bare heels swinging, three layers of damp cloth and jacket shed into a dispirited pile on his chair. Freshly clad, he's grating the invisible impression of lingering rainwater out of his scalp with his fingers. When the phone rings, his hand falls to it almost instantly. He fields Alexander a glance across the floor, cautioning, and picks it up. Connects the call and hits speaker in two swift punches of his thumb. "Buona notte." His voice is recognizable, despite that it sounds like he swallowed a handful of needles in the last twenty two hours: rougher now.

The same voice from yesterday. Jessica speaks over the line to the Italian. "Calling, like I said I would." She tells him. "Putting the call on speaker now." And she does just that.

Alexander doesn't smoke in the library. But he can fiddle a cigarette to death. He glances up sharply at that, and nods.

Abby remains quiet for now, arms crossed in her laps and thumb tapping on her thigh. She's not about to speak until Jessica lets her, but when the speaker phone goes on, she looks to it then to her captor as if looking for permission.

Teo lets a hand fall on the edge of the table, leans into his arm. Spares them all the trouble of figuring out who gets first turnsies, and it's business when he asks: "Find yourself the test subject yet, signora?"

Jessica nods once to Abby, giving permission. "I talked to my contact; they're locating a subject for me. I should know more within a couple days. Your friend is here, she's fine, and as long as we all stay on good terms, she'll continue to stay that way."

"What test?" Al mouths at Teo, but doesn't speak loud enough for it to be picked up.

"She's not lying Teo. I'm good. Restless, peanut butter is only real tastey the first time around, but i'm good. How are you?" Still she taps on her thighs, watching the phone, waiting for the other side to speak.

'Healing,' comes Teo's mimed response. 'Weird disease.' An articulate shrug: fucked if he knows. His features harden the moment his attention shifts back to the cellphone. "Hey, bella. 'M good. Yesterday, you said forty-eight hours. It's already been a day. Hit a snag? I told you we could help."

Jessica replies "I said "hopefully" within 48 hours. I've got someone working on it now. Hopefully they'll have something for me by tomorrow. So far, the plan isn't awry.

Alexander purses his lips, and jams the cigarette behind his ear. No comment, but he nods.
Abby's eyes flicker up to Jessica, then back to the phone. She nervous, worried.

"When is the plan awry?" Teo asks, his tone devoid of cheek. Whether or not Jessica cares to reiterate the terms of do no harm is up to her, but evidently not what the man is asking.

Jessica's voice is just a little smug. "The plan is awry if more than a few days go and my contact can't get me the kind of person I need. Then you get your shot."

Alexander uncoils himself from his seat, the better to pace off the nicotine fit. He can't do jack shit here - phone lines aren't his thing, that's for Hana. So he starts to wear his little path along the floor.

"I'll be fine for a few days Teo. Really. It's almost like being at home. There's a bed and everything, she's feeding me and she's going to bring me a bible" Abby offers. "She's not mistreating me"

Teo's eyes follow the older man's course along the floor, but his mind is miles away. Or less: he has no way of knowing. Hasn't asked Wireless to do her work, yet, though it remains a stubborn itch on his awareness— it would be so easy to. She probably fucking knows already, just hasn't brought it up. Abruptly, he asks, "How important is this person? The one who's sick?"

There's a moment's hesitation, and then she adds in. "She's family." Jessica says. "And that's as much as you're going to get on it. It's important enough to me to go through all this bullshit."
Alexander's tread is soundless, so it's like a haunting, in a way - Al just meandering like a restless spirit, not even really looking at Teo. Listening that hard.

There's a thinking silence; one Jessica has heard from Teo before. "Is she getting worse?" Were the question not framed in the larger quandary of time, he might sound more like he's prying. He might be construed as such anyway.

Jessica's reply is tight. "What part of "that's as much as you're going to get on it" was I unclear on? Say what you have to say; I don't trust you not to do something stupid and try to trace this."
ORDER: Alexander has dropped from the pose order.

"You'll have to pardon me: I don't really enjoy gambling with the lives of others, signora, and I've yet to see Abby's ability create adverse effects." Halfway through the sentence, Teo's voice grows harsh; the strain of unbroken speech taking its toll. A quaver beat's pause. "Twenty-four hours, then you have our help. Or ask for God's yourself. Does that make sense to you?"

Abby shifts, frowning, brows pulled down and in, hands planted on the bed as she twists to aim her voice at the phone. "Teo… She'll hurt me if you show up… I can't.. I can't help her, I can't help her sister if you show up. You'll do more harm than good. please"

Jessica's reply is annoyed. "You're in no place to dictate terms. I'll give my contact a fair amount of time to see if they can come up with what I need. If not, then and only then, I'll tap you. We'll be in touch." And she closes the phone.

Abby's blue eyes look up at Jessica, fingers digging into the blanket. "It's true what he said. There's no… no side effects that are wrong. As long as it's not in the blood, long as there's something wrong, I can fix it Jessica. Almost anything"

Jessica looks back. "You were the one who said you couldn't tell me how your ability worked on someone with mental illness. I'm not going to gamble with someone's life. I have to KNOW it works…and how…before I let you try this."

Abby raises a hand, rubbing it along her cheek, back of neck, back and forth it goes. "There has to be something physicially wrong Jessica. If there's nothing there, to fix, nothing happens. I know how it works, I've been.. doing this for seven years. I mean… problems of the mind, they're… chemical sometimes, or there's a brain cell that's not working properly. But if it's something.. that's not… physical…" Abby glances back up. "I might not be the miracle you need Jessica. Have you thought of that?"

Jessica looks over. "And if you're not, then I let you go. I don't have anything against you. But we're going to at least try this, if I'm confident it's safe."

"Then bring your sister over. I can tell if I can help her or not. If the healing doesn't go anywhere, if I can't feel it trasnfer… then.. I can't help her. If it does, then I can stop, and you can bring your … test subject" Abby stands then, her jaw a little tight. "It gives you at least part of your answer Jessice. you can blindfold me if you don't want me to see your sister if she comes, when she comes here"

Jessica looks back at her. "I'll consider it." she says. "I'll go get your things. Come on. Time for you to go back into the other room." she says.

Which means no. "Okay" Abby answers, taking a deep breath. "Bible, clothes, books please. radio for music maybe. Just something to kill time while your gone. And no, I can't make a whatever out of the radio to have them save me" She ads the last part a little snarkily. "Just gives me something to hear other than silence"

Jessica nods. "All right." Once Abby's back in the other room, the cuff is applied to her wrist again. "What else do you want to eat? It has to be something that can survive at room temperature."
Which leaves very little. "You can't.. chain me out in the kitchen? Or leave me unchained? I told you, I behave. I could havve, tried to use the knife, or break out of the handcuff and try to get out a window. But I haven't. I promise Jessica, I wouldn't go anywhere. But then I can cook, and keep myself entertained"

Jessica shakes her head. "No. I'm not trusting you with access to kitchenware, or a stove." She considers. "I'll bring you a cooler with some ice." She turns to exit.

"This is crazy" Abby murmurs under her breath as Jessica turns. 'Seriously. This is crazy. You picked me. I'm about.. the most model person, you could have kidnapped. I'm accused near daily of being a saint, you need my help for your sister, but you won't let me near her. You make phonecalls to my roommate and leave a knife in the bedroom with me, and i've SEEN what you can do with a butter knife. trust me. But you won't let me just wander. I'm harmless, really. I don't like violence, if you haven't figured it out. I don't like being hurt, oh heck I drove away from you like a bat from hell when you started lighting into mary. I've done everything you ask. I don't have a bible to swear on, but If I did, i'd have my right hand on it and swearing to heaven and back that All i'd do, is just… clean, at worst, keep myself fed, you fed when you come, really. You can chain me in there, just please"

Jessica turns back. "I'm not letting you near her till I'm sure what this ability of yours does. I'm TRYING to make this as pleasant as I can for you. Now, if you'd rather I handle it like I usually would, I'm more than happy to tie you, gag you, and throw you in a closet."
'Cut your arm" Abby replies, her eyes matching Jessica's.

Jessica looks at Abby like she's gone insane. "Are you nuts?"

'Some people think so. Something about having faith, and being nice. Turning the other cheek and all that. Cut mine if you like, just a little. I'll show you. If you cut yours, you can feel what it's like, see what it does." Abby thrusts her own arm out.

Jessica shakes her head. "I already know you can heal. I don't need a demonstration."

Abby sighs deeply then nods. "Then go. Let me get back to my silence. So I can ask god for the answers you want. If he has them" Abby turns then, making her way back to the window, sit on the windowsill and look out. She ducks her head, looking up at the sky. 'Hope your day turns out good"

December 10th: Critiques on the Art of Negotiation
December 10th: Olive Branch
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