Perfect Circle


eileen_icon.gif logan_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Perfect Circle
Synopsis Teo and Eileen have questions for Logan, and everyone gets answers between the lines of mostly polite conversation. Also, a certain brand of painting is spotted.
Date February 21, 2009

The Happy Dagger: Logan's Office

This place is office by name only - there certainly isn't a desk in sight, let alone a filing cabinet. It's decorated almost the same as any other room in terms of colours and decadence, with quality thrown in for good measure. The walls are painted a dark red with warmer golden trimmings, and layers of chiffon surround and cover the one window in the room so that only the lights of the outside world make hazy spots on the rich fabric. Hung upon the walls are paintings, likely expensive ones, depicting erotic scenarios and characters.

A couple of couches provide areas of comfort, some conventional, others more of the old Greco-Roman style designed to recline in rather than sit, and a small round coffee table with elaborate patterns etched into the wood boasts a perhaps ornamental hookah, although it's clearly seen use. The wooden floor is mostly covered by a large zebra striped rug, soft on bare feet and kept immaculate. An antique teatray is pushed into the corner, and holds a stunning array of fine liquor and crystal glasses. Next to it, an antique writing desk, although there's no chair near it and doesn't seem to hold anything, although the locked drawers may have purpose.

Despite it being called an office, this room seems more to cater to luxury and relaxation than business, although business occurs here regularly. Just not as much as pleasure.

Languages are Teo's domain. Learning them, translating them. Words, actual communication, are more a stretch, and he's never been very good at pictorial representations in artwork at all. There's a painting on the wall, between crimson panels and gilt fringe, an depiction of dark architecture and mirrored asymmetry, some golden conflagration roaring above and cold, sterile, morbid death vaporous below. The painting tugs at the edge of Teo's tense mind and weary senses, a draw that's faintly magnetic for all that he can't make visible sense of why.

He should probably be staring at the booze set.

He almost sighs again. Stops, remembering the way Eileen started Looking at him when his cheeks ballooned out and raspberries started buzzing into the room's perfumed air. Boooorrred. Teo finished counting the braided knots in the hookah's mouthpiece twice, the crystal pieces and their diminutive rainbows thrice, determined that the rug came from an actual striped horse, tried not to fantasize about shooting holes into everything until Abby tumbles out of one of them, tousled and bitching about church days missed.

He's Italian. The only quiet he reveres takes place in Church. He decides, eventually, to strike up a conversation. About Staten Island's geography, the going price of staples, maybe. Something commonplace. Turns to the matchstick Englishwoman, opens his mouth, to address that stern little profile. He hears somebody — somebody — scream, and his head snaps around on its axis, turns for the door, strong brow seizing low, a vicous scowl.

It's Teo's existential version of Patellar reflex. Run toward the sounds of human pain and havoc. Ironically, that might make more sense on Staten Island than it does in cleaner coiffed parts of Manhattan Island. His query regarding produce aborts into a sharp utterance: "What the fuck?"

The only thing stopping Eileen from doing the same thing is the fact that they're standing in the middle of a whorehouse — sudden cries stemming from pleasure, pain or some twisted amalgamation of the two aren't exactly an uncommon occurrence. Although she doesn't turn her head or swivel around to dart a glance in the direction from which they came, the muscles in her neck and shoulders visibly tighten, drawing her back into a rigid arch. "It wasn't her," she says after a short pause in which she ruminates over other possible sources, expression growing even darker and dourer than it did when they first stepped inside the Dagger.

No, it wasn't Abby, but it did sound suspiciously like someone calling for—

"Anyway," she adds, speaking more to herself than to Teo, "as long as it doesn't involve Abigail, whatever goes on down there isn't any of our business. Let's try not to cock things up."

Suspiciously like, though the filter of subwoofer bass and tinkling laughter, floors and furniture do little to clarify the matter in Teo's mind. She's right, of course. Bursting in on some john doing a painful thing with a bitty redhead and a keyring would do nothing to improve their standing with the man they're trying to get face-time with, and chances are reasonably high that that sort of thing is all he'd find kicking down doors.

The most telling thing about the scream was that it stopped.

Which leaves him nothing to go on, and they've learned a little about cold trails over the past few weeks. Teo's foot thumps to a graceless halt halfway back across the floor and he glares at varnished wood and matte paint. Finally, turns around. "Trying," he offers, by way of assent. He pushes his shoulders back and is a rewarded with a faint pop of his vertebrates that only he can hear.

Trying may not be good enough, especially if their individual track records are any indication of what's to come. Eileen quells the urge to pace the length of the office like a caged animal wearing a groove in its habitat by taking a seat on one of the couches, her legs crossed at the ankle, gloved hands resting upon her knees.

"If you knew how many times you and friends came close to dying, this might not seem like such a big deal," she offers, perhaps in an attempt to reassure him. Unsurprisingly, it falls a little— flat. "Impending viral apocalypse, men who turn into smoke and shadows, death incarnate. Weaseling information out of a puffed up pimp is almost a walk in the park."

It's a cue. But a literary cue only. Having attended to messy business, Logan gets rid of what evidence of such he can before heading back upstairs, and that takes more time than perhaps is inconspicuous. But perhaps brothels need a lot of overseeing. Who knows?

Either way, his door finally swings open, letting in the lights of the hallway, the sounds of music and voice, and aforementioned pimp, looking a little tired but affording the contents of his office a smile. Tailored black, pinstripe pants, a dark blue silken shirt, no jacket to be seen, and of course, a black cane that rests a silver tip against the ground in rhythmic movements as he walks, pale green eyes shifting from Eileen, to Teo, back to Eileen. Huh. Logan bats the door shut with a quick movement of his hand, both of which are cleaned of blood and gore - even underneath fingernails.

"So sorry to keep you waiting," he says, in a tone that is entirely insincere, barely even trying to sound as he says. "Business meetings that don't end happily tend to run overtime, and I wasn't quite expecting the company. Hello, Eileen, and friend." He doesn't immediately recognise Teo, it seems, casting him a quizzical look upon approach.

Though the other man doesn't recognize him, Teo recognizes the blond man who appears in all his finery. No Bebe, though. That's almost a shame, though he hardly needs more distractions. It's coming together in the other corner of his mind, gradually, what the thing on the wall looks like. He turns up the corners of his mouth politely, stares politely also, and keeps his hands down at his sides, a muddy child's tacit promise that he didn't get his germs on any of his host's nice things.

And it doesn't look like it. No brown shoeprints on the floor, nor flaws in the glass of the hookah's swan neck. "Teo," he replies, apparently, blithely unconcerned by the conspiracy of coincidence to add his own organs and blood to the sword cane's consumption. It's enough assurance for him, that Eileen had volunteered her real name to this man once. Just as uncouth, he jerks his head at the painting on the wall. "Is that fire supposed to look like something, you think?"

"We don't plan on staying long, so hopefully we won't put you any further behind schedule than you already are." Unlike Logan, Eileen has a difficult time not being sincere, even if her words are slightly more stilted than usual, their tone brittle, almost spiny. In passing, her gaze skims over the cane — if it weren't for the flash of silver blazing in her vision every time its tip thumps against the office floor, the woman's attention wouldn't be drawn to the accessory at all.

But it is. And what she sees horrifies her.

Her already pale face goes completely white, every muscle in her body stiffening as her jaw grows so tight she can feel her teeth grinding against each other with the sheer amount of effort she puts into keeping her mouth shut.

The last time she saw that cane—

Eileen swallows. Hard. Resisting the temptation to lapse back into memory is almost as difficult as choking back her muffled snort of surprise, but she somehow manages with Teo's assistance. The painting provides a momentary distraction which she uses to get her shit back together. Forget about Kazimir. Forget about him.

It seems everyone in this room have strange, unrelated hooks of cognitive dissonance to get caught in. Teo's painting, Eileen's cane, and Logan's— business meeting. As Teo introduces himself, Logan glances at him somewhat sharply, barely resists making him repeat that with an instinctive, 'Sorry?' No, he keeps his mouth shut, a talent he normally isn't great at at the end of the day, and it may be why he can't quite pinpoint as to why Eileen has suddenly gone pale and as tense as a skittish animal. Logan is doing a little better than she, at least, forcing a mild smile back into place as if he weren't a moment ago gouging out the eye of a man who cried out for this new guy standing in his opulent office.

"Fire?" Logan repeats, a little stupidly, before glancing back at the painting. Oh. He grabs onto the train of conversation, attempting to ride it away from his momentary bout of silent shock and panic, replacing it with the more oily presence of mind of a criminal businessman. "Oh, that." Quite different to the mock-Renaissance depictions of nudity that otherwise feature on his walls, Logan shrugs a little. "Fire's fire, isn't it. I guess I've always thought it looks a bit like a bird, too."

Painting ignored, he focuses on Eileen, studying her face somewhat as if to see what made her stop and start so, hand on the offensive sword-cane in question, too distinctive to be a question for the young woman, however. His hands spider over the wolf's head uncaringly, casually. "What can I do for you both?" He studies Teo once more, perhaps hopefully the response won't be, 'have you seen a friend of mine?'

The twist of Logan's head was short of whiplash inducing and quickly suppressed, but it draws a momentary glance from the young Sicilian that is better attributed to paranoia than to apt suspicion. Teo tends to be sensitive about his name, if not, apparently, as sensitive as he should be. As the pimp turns to study the Brill piece, he turns a pallid eye on Eileen, inquiring, if pointlessly so.

Has someone been talking about me? It's too long a question to parse into eye-blinking Morse, and ends up flagging in priority beside the fact that Eileen looks like she's about to keel over anemic. His forehead creases with concern, one unspoken query overwritten by a new one, only to grow illegible, blurred, mistranslated by the belated revelation of the image on the wall. A bird?

What do you know? "We're looking for somebody," he answers presently, cocking his shaven head in Eileen's direction as he shifts his eyes to Logan. A prompt. Not to be cruel to the girl's poor nerves, but some experience has led Teo to believe that sometimes the business at hand is the preferable distraction to the distractions.

By the time the conversation rotates back to Eileen, her face has settled once again into a neutral mask defined by its austere stare and the deep creases at the corners of her frowning mouth. She's still as gaunt and white as a corpse, but a warm tinge is gradually beginning to brush across her cheeks as the blood flows back into them, lending her a mottled pinkish cast.

"We're new to the area," she murmurs thickly, "and we aren't as familiar with the ebb and flow of information as we'd like, but you seem like the sort of person who'd be knowledgeable about these things." It's the closest Eileen is likely to come to an accusation. She's choosing her words very carefully, and she's speaking much slower than either Teo or Logan has ever heard her. "Her name is Abigail Beauchamp — blonde, skinny, not a lot of curves to her. She's a Registered healer about my age. Have you heard anything?"

Outwardly, what happens is Logan peers with some concern and no visible suspicion at Eileen - her slow way of speaking, the stranger cast of colour to her skin. It fades, mostly as their purpose becomes clear, stumbling first over what he was hoping Teo wouldn't say, and then spinning into a whole different orbit when this new name emerges. Abigail. From Deckard to Teo to the blonde downstairs, around and around we go, where we'll stop, nobody knows. Whether it's truly a perfect circle is up for debate, but there is something certainly circuitous about this chain of events.

Logan shakes his head after a moment. He doesn't look outwardly guilty, eyes betraying some thought as if perhaps maybe he's heard this name before but then again maybe not, oh dear. "I'm afraid I haven't," he says, looking from Teo to Eileen. "Doesn't ring a bell for any of the girls come to work here, at least. I hope for your sake you're not looking for a missing person, but otherwise, I don't know of any new healers setting up shop down our way. Perhaps Dr. Filatov might know of some competition," he adds more directly to Eileen with a shrug of slim shoulders.

The Englishwoman's agonizing precision and caution make the hairs stand up on the back of Teo's neck, although he refrains from twitching despite that the whole thing is making the surface tension of his skin feel like it's about to crack. "That's too bad." Outwardly, he's scowling in that very serious way that demands that the camera come in for its close-up and the audience take him terribly seriously despite that he isn't doing anything very constructive: a young man's way of paying attention.

He isn't very good at telling liars. The one thing Lucrezia never managed to inculcate into his armored skull. "For our sake?" he repeats, genuinely inquisitive, though without the bug-eyed naivete of a kid who somehow did not notice that the Rookery's society is one giant gutter system. The lines in his forehead deepen. When Logan looks at Eileen, he glances at the girl too, briefly, before squaring his gaze on the older man. "What do you mean by that?"

If Logan is watching for it, he may perceive the slightest narrowing of Eileen's gray-green eyes. She remains guarded, silent in anticipation of his answer to Teo's question, but the thoughtful manner in which she regards him has shifted to something a little more portentous and petulant — her heavy-lidded gaze grows almost conspiring, reminiscent of a cat studying a particularly colourful bird from behind a pane of glass. What does he mean by that?

Click, click, click. The cane swings lazily to connect against the floor in between his footsteps as he moves off in between them with a vague wave of his free hand. "This isn't exactly the safest place in New York City," Logan says, dismissive, moving enough so that he isn't lingering just a few feet from his door way, perhaps to make an easy path for them to leave. Or perhaps to escape their scrutiny for just a few more comfortable moments. "New or not, that much must seem clear to you. If she's a missing person, that's unfortunate for your search, isn't it. I'm assuming she's a friend of yours?"

"She's more than that," Teo replies, straightening where he stands for lack of anything else to fidget with. He feels one of his vertebrates give. More than that. Not even he really knows what he meant by this, whether or not it precludes friendship or merely encompasses the wider array of duties and debts owed by the wide array of people to the missing healer. Grammatically, either works.

It takes Teo a moment to determine what's probably safe to say, insofar as it probably wouldn't make being here any more dangerous than it already is. "According to the NYPD, she is missing. Not that they would've noticed if some other people hadn't done so first. This," a bare-knuckled hand makes a motion between Eileen and himself, a loose gesture, casual nearly to the point of negligent — more by habit than elaborate artifice, "is those people trying.

"Safe or not, they figured it would be a good idea, and they know we're here. Would you do us a favor and ask around? Anybody who makes sense?" he studies the back of Logan's shoulder, as if the lines of immaculate tailoring would betray more than the pimp's eyes or posture. Possibly, Teo should working on that whole 'threatening' thing; he looks disjointedly polite throughout the entire delivery. For a terrorist.

Eileen fears Teo may have just given too much away, but she says nothing to this effect. The sidelong glance she slides him is furtive at best — knowing they appear stronger if they present a united front, she follows his lead and straightens her back, rising to her full seated height. Like the Italian, she doesn't cut a very intimidating figure, though it would be almost impossible to misinterpret what she says next.

"It would be in your best interest, John, to keep us abreast of the situation if you should happen to learn anything. As much as I enjoy my work at Filatov's, I'd take absolutely no pleasure fixing you up a second time."

Eileen may not appear as much of a threat, but when you spend as much time in the company of killers as she has, you learn how to make them. Whether or not she's doing it effectively remains to be seen.

Turning back towards the two once further inside his sanctuary, Logan's hands resting peacefully on the wolf's head of his cane, his face a picture of careful neutrality as Teo speaks, taking in as much information as he's not putting out. So, Muldoon was a little bit right. Good for him. People have friends.

He rolls his shoulders beneath the silk of his shirt as if to relax himself, even if his expression betrays nothing of tension. Whatever answer he had for Teo - refusal, dismissal, agreement as noncommittal as it may be - is derailed promptly when the kitten standing next to the Italian shows her teeth, and Logan rather suddenly and genuinely smiles at her, even if it's just another way of showing teeth too.

"My, and we were getting along so well," he says, almost coyly. "Lucky for you my life won't continually rest in your wee hands, my dear. As for my best interest, that is, I'm afraid, my business, and has little to do with your friend and her whereabouts. Have you two pumped me of quite enough information for one evening or was there something else you wanted to know?"

With a little effort, Teo suppresses the urge to give Eileen an apologetic glance. He knows he said a lot. The place gives him the heebie-jeebies.

Logan gives him the heebie-jeebies. Although he realizes it isn't a good idea to show anybody all your cards in a game with stakes like these, he figured it was probably important to convey the understanding that they would be missed. Putting whomever took — has? — Abby on the defensive through a twitch in the grapevine might be an acceptable sacrifice in favor of walking out intact from a place rife with screams that run the same hue as the walls. He's highly susceptible to heebie-jeebies, and viral apocalypses do not improve on that.

On the upside, he personally thinks that the cards he showed were a lot better than the hand that they actually hold. Brava. Sparing an instant to wonder who sent Logan to Filatov's the first time, he turns up the corners of his mouth. "Si," Teo says, lapsing into a polite conversational tone. Kind of. He'd never quite lapsed out of it. Teo jerks a thumb at the same wall that had held his attention moments before, the rectangle of oil and stylized symbols hanging there. "Who painted that?"

Missing people and stolen paintings. Logan's colder gaze on Eileen shifts to something more blank and irritated when it comes to rest on Teo, but it only takes him half a second to decide before very simply saying, "Brill. Thomas Brill." Guilty men have no answers, after all. Green gaze moves towards the image of a building set aflame, the wings of the explosion reaching for the sky as if for its own kind of freedom. "It's a piece called 'Dual'. Like it?"

Never one to be offended by a pimp's abrasive mien, the good Catholic boy takes this answer with a polite nod. "It's very well done," Teodoro replies, in lieu of a more honest and less socially acceptable response. In truth, it freaks him out a little. Strikes too close to home. The name, Thomas Brill, resonates with some far-off memory, but that information is compartmentalized in a part of his brain far away from Abigail Beauchamp and all of those who are looking for her, so the blurry association slips beyond the edge of his focus in a moment.

The corner of his mouth goes up. "How would you prefer to contact us, if you hear something? Phone? E-mail?"

It's a pointless question. Without incentive, Eileen surmises Logan will have no reason to contact them no matter what the outcome of his inquiries — assuming he asks around at all. She rises from her seat on the couch, charade over, and idly adjusts the lapels of her coat while she waits for Teo to finish playing his part. Not for the first time tonight, the painting earns a brief once-over from the raven-haired woman, but her attention doesn't linger on it any longer than necessary. Any symbolism laid bare on the canvas escapes her notice entirely, at least for the time being. Her mind is too busy running rampant with morbid speculation.

"No need," Logan says airily, discarding a grappling hook of communication or two with just a slight tilt of his head, a smile playing out across his face. Practically angelic supported only by classically Aryan features, although only if you buy into the milk white brand of Christianity really. "Eileen and I are practically neighbours, I'm sure I can pay her visit should something arise." A glance towards his door, more than enough of a hint that Eileen's already gone ahead to take, Logan giving her a lingering look as he adds, "Good luck finding your pretty friend."

It's a pointless question, except to prod experimentally at the flimsy framework of Logan's pretended politeness. Fortunately for the young Sicilian, it doesn't cost him a finger. Or an eye. Leaving him two to stare at the pimp with, when the pimp stares at Eileen. That bothers him on a number of levels, none of which he sees fit to elaborate on verbally. Instead, he picks up his boots and begins to clomp obediently after the small woman. He gets the door first, if she'll let him, acknowledges Logan with a bob of his shaven head. "Thank you. Good night."

On her way out of the office, Eileen pauses at the threshold, one gloved hand resting lightly upon the handle. As she hears Teo coming up behind her, she turns her head just enough to look back over her shoulder past him, eyes affixed to Logan. Of all the things about him, the way he was loking at her isn't what bothers her the most.

"I never said she was pretty," she states, an even icier edge to her voice, and while this might provide her with an opportunity to open a new line of questioning, she instead lets it slide and revels in the silence spanning between them as Teo gets the door.

February 21st: Exodus 21:24

This scene is part of two storylines, 'By Hook or By Crook' and 'The Brill Paintings'.
It is preceded by
Exodus 21:24 and Spiral

Next in these storylines…
The Green Mile and Qui Es In Caelis

February 21st: In Other Words, Miss You
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