Physically, Financially


alister_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif

Scene Title Physically, Financially
Synopsis Alister's reaction to seeing Eileen again is not what he anticipated it would be.
Date April 18, 2018

Yamagato Park, The Unicorn

Alister’s search for investors has produced no fruit today.

Without an audience with President Egami, it seems unlikely that the hopeful Water Baron of Staten Island will find any funding from inside Yamagato Park, but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy his stay. Neon lights reflect in the rainwater gathered in the nighttime streets and cast everything in an inviting, lurid glow. Maybe one day, with enough money and time and effort, he can elevate the Rookery to this level of electric gleam.

He passes by strip clubs and ramen houses with foggy windows and steam emptying out open doors. Late night grocery stores and outdoor vending machines sell small portions of food in brightly-coloured packages alongside condoms, electronics, glossy magazines, and almost anything a heart could desire as long as it fits inside a coffin-sized box.

An arcade boasting the newest line of virtual reality games looks like it might be an entertaining way to spend the rest of his evening before he returns to Staten Island, but something tells him to keep walking until he arrives at a gloomier establishment close to the neighborhood’s border. It’s quieter inside than it is outside with the spring rain pelting against glass and shiny steel exteriors, and almost empty at this late hour except for a dozen or so regulars, most of them inked or pierced, with hair that spans across the entire colour spectrum.

A jukebox in the corner rolls out the greatest hits of the 1980s. Old movie posters, all of them featuring Godzilla, line the back wall where the bar sits, advertising an extensive collection of absinthe, amaro, and another Western digestifs that are popular with the business’ eclectic clientele. What looks like a taxidermy unicorn hangs at the center of a wall of mirrors.

It’s— interesting.

While Alister is certainly the type to find anything resembling Americana to be… distasteful at best, this place has something different about it. It seems a little more… what's a good way to put it… classy. Well, in its own unique way.

He heads in, wearing a simple but expensive grey suit, using a black umbrella as a pseudo-cane. He's not even sure if he wants to enjoy anything here, but it's a curiosity, and he can't help but indulge in a curiosity.

Heading over to the bar, he takes a seat, resting his umbrella against the edge. Then he holds up a hand. "I'll have… bourbon, whatever's the most popular kind here." that's always a good way to order, while avoiding the awkwardness of an establishment not having his particularly expensive tastes.

The bartender selects a squat but elegant-looking bottle with a piece of ginger suspended in smoky amber fluid. Alister doesn’t get much of an opportunity to inspect its label because something else catches his eye while the bartender prepares his drink. Two empty stools stand between him and a woman at the end of the bar — she looks out of place compared to the wilder, more anarchistic youths milling around the jukebox or comparing tattoos in one of the velvet-lined booths on the other side of the room. For one thing, she’s older. For another, she’s clothed in a sharp black dress that feels like it could belong in either a corporate boardroom or someone’s boudoir. She wears her dark hair up in a loose bun at the nape of her neck, fastened with a pin in the shape of some sort of amethyst bird.

The slowly-rotating disco ball hanging from the ceiling does little to illuminate her face, which is turned away from him as she nurses her own glass of bitter, aromatic spirit on ice.

The woman does indeed catch his eye, and when he takes the bourbon, he doesn't even bother remembering to grab his umbrella. He casually, with his own sense of haste, makes his way over to her, and takes a seat directly adjacent to the woman's perch.

Taking a slight sip of bourbon, he looks her over, then says, "I knew I'd find something classy if I looked around hard enough."

The woman’s free hand goes to cover the sketch she’d been filling in on an abandoned cocktail napkin. She sets down her pen. When she turns to look at him, she swivels entire body toward Alister, long bare legs hooked at the ankle where they end in a pair of unremarkable black heels.

Her mouth forms the first syllable of a response, but she doesn’t get any further than that. Eileen Ruskin stares at Alister— no, Leonardo Maxwell from beneath the swoop of her lashes.

“Well,” is what she eventually says when she finds her voice, “this is very awkward.”

"What the fuck?" Alister… no, Leonardo says in this moment. "You're alive?!"

Many emotions rush through his mustache'd head in this moment, many thoughts. "You… you completely and utterly ruined me! And that… that asshole took my company and drove it into the ground! By the time I actually escaped the Institute, I didn't have my ability or my company! I had to rebuild from scratch, and I'm only just starting to dig myself out of the mud!"

He doesn't stop, he's just… he's far more emotion than anyone ever truly sees, that even Eileen has seen. "And then you just… you just die and leave me alone, leave me with nothing, without you or my money or anything, you just went and supposedly died!" He slams a fist against the counter. "Now I've lost Eileen, my ocelot, someone stole her, I don't even have that!"

His hands are shaking, and all he can ask is, "What the fuck, Eileen?"

Eileen gives Alister a few additional moments to process all of this. She doesn’t interject or try to interrupt him; instead she sits opposite him at the bar, shoulders squared, and maintains eye contact as he goes on his tirade and punctuates it with his fist.

The sound is loud enough that it draws the attention of two men in smart black business suits lingering on either side of the front door. One starts to take a step forward, reaching inside his jacket for the weapon he conceals there, but Eileen stays him with a swift gesture of her own hand. She folds the cocktail napkin in half and tucks away in the purse she carries in her lap.

“Sorry,” she says, even if her tone is too guarded for a real apology. “It all seemed like the right decision at the time.”


"I… I can't believe I'm going to say this…" Alister looks down, fingers on his forehead for a few moments, then he looks back up at her. "I don't care about the money, I just… I'm pissed about it, yes, I don't know why you did it, maybe you ran away with it and made a new identity, and faked your own death, I don't know."

"I'm going to make myself sound like a fool now…" He looks her directly in the eye, his tone far more vulnerable than he ever allows it to be. "You were more to me than a mere curiosity, you were more than something to play around with. I…"

He stops, taking a long sip of his bourbon. It seems like he has to stew in his thoughts for a few seconds. "I was in love with you, that's why I have an evil rare exotic pet named after you that I've put a $5000 bounty on, because I want it back."

“Oh, Leonardo,” Eileen says. “I know.” She reaches out and pats Alister’s arm through the fabric of his suit. “No man lets a woman anywhere near his bank account unless he’s absolutely mad about her.”

What little comfort she offers him feels stiff, almost formal, like a distant relative trying to console the bereaved at a funeral. Her hand gives his bicep the lightest of squeezes. “If it’s any consolation, your money saved people’s lives. Thousands of them.”

She isn’t sure what to say on the subject of his evil rare exotic pet, only because she’s positive she couldn’t have heard him correctly. So.

Back to the money. “How much have you got now?”

Alister, who suddenly becomes a moron when Eileen is around, answers, "I'm worth roughly one million. Pennies compared to before. But I'm trying to find funding to repair a water processing plant, then I'll become a Water Baron and charge people money on a sliding scale, providing clean water to Staten Island and making a profit. A small part of Staten at first, but I'll gradually have more plants repaired."

If he reads into the subtext of the things she says or doesn't say, it's hard to tell. If anything, he seems to perpetually be a man who wants to shove her hook directly into his mouth at all times. "You've grown so… so much more refined. I'm willing to put the past behind us. What you did was cruel, heartless, at least to me. But if we can go back, or at least try something new, then who am I to hold a grudge?"

Though, there's one thing that needs to be addressed… "You have to call me Alister Black. As far as the world knows, Leonardo Maxwell is dead." his voice is in a more hushed whisper now. "I can't take my name back until I've made enough money to actually fend off my corporate enemies. They'll devour me and everything that I currently have. I need to secure Staten before I can be Leonardo again."

There's a sigh, and the way he gazes at her… he hasn't stopped being as mad as any man who would allow her into his bank account. "Eileen…" he says, as if the name were trapped in his throat, something that needed to be said for no reason at all.

This is really happening, isn’t it?

Eileen knocks back the rest of her fernet. Ice tinkles at the bottom of her snifter as she sets it down on the bar’s surface and slides it toward the bartender with the back of her slim hand. “All right,” she concedes, “Alister.”

She steers a glance over her shoulder at the men by the door, who are beginning to look a little impatient. The suit who’d been about to wrangle Alister leans back against the wall, arms lax at his sides and loose in his pockets, but his face tells a very different story.

“Alister,” Eileen says again, “I’ll tell you what. I don’t want you to say something you’re going to regret, so let’s come back to this conversation when that treatment facility is up and running, hm?” She rises from her seat at the bar and scoops up her long wool coat from where it’s been hanging on a hook beneath the counter.

“Maybe we can try again, but if I’m going to be with someone — it needs to be a man who can protect me.” A smudge of lipstick draws her focus back to her discarded glass and its rim. She scrubs it away with her thumb. “Physically. Financially.

Alister suddenly slams both fists onto the table. "Bring me an entire bottle of your best grape bourbon!" he demands, slowly turning his gaze back to Eileen. "I promise, I will take over and dominate Staten Island, become rich beyond your wildest imagination, and I will make you into a queen! That is my solemn vow, Eileen Ruskin!"

If Eileen hears Alister’s promise, she doesn’t react to it on her way out the door except to pop her umbrella as soon as it’s offered to her by her handlers.

The door swings shut behind them, leaving Alister alone with his present glass of bourbon, and a very confused bartender who isn’t yet sure how to break the news to him that bourbon doesn’t come in grape.

"Okay, boss," he says instead. "You got it."

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