Poker Face


elaine_icon.gif nelson_icon.gif

Scene Title Poker Face
Synopsis James Nelson has decided that he's waited long enough and plays his hand.
Date July 11, 2010

Outside an office building, New York City

Everything was in place. His chips were all on the table, ready to be gambled. Not like there was anything to be afraid of: he held the pocket aces. James looked at his watch, keeping an eye out for anyone suspicious. Anyone who would be willing to give him a closer look would notice the knife in his jacket, but really, most would just glaze over any guy sitting on the sidewalk with an empty cup in hand. He looked over to the payphone, where a man stood, watching James. There was no movement to acknowledge what was happening, no words were said. Here comes the Flop. Time to move.

Elaine's spent a good chunk of her sunday in a room with dusty artifacts. The benefit of her job (and with her boss being out of town) was the ability to work on different days and odd hours. She'd spent most of Sunday morning working, and it was almost lunch time. She sits back in her chair, rubbing her eyes a little from staring and squinting at text on a scroll. She almost loses balance in her chair when her phone rings. Peering at the number, she notes that it's a local number, but not one she recognizes. She frowns, picking up her cellphone carefully and answering.


The voice on the other line is nothing short of frantic. "H-Hello, is this Elaine?" It seems to be a rather british accent, but most certainly not recognizable. The passing of a wailing siren in the background is purely coincidental, but it most definitely servers to add to the oddity and terror the man seems to exude from his voice.

Elaine's body stiffens. It's unfamiliar, and the sirens don't bode well for the situation. Clearing her throat, she nods, though it's a moot point for a phone call. "This is she."

Without hesitating the man breathes a sigh of relief. "Good gods, I found you. Your friend Magnes was in an accident. He is unconscious right now, but he asked me to call you and gave me your number. Please, you need to come here now." He talks fast, albeit understandably. What worry? Did he cause this accident?

This was not what she wanted to hear. Elaine's free hand gripped the arm of her chair, white-knuckled. "D-Did you call an ambulance? Are they going to take him to a hospital? Where are you?!" Her mind flashes to all sorts of things. What had Magnes been doing?

The man suddenly grew angry. "Of course I called an ambulance, they're getting here now! But I would think they need someone who knows him, and he asked me to call you! Just…I dunno, we're down Old Madison Street. Please, just get down here!" The man was indeed worried, it seemed. However, he hung up rather abruptly, probably to take care of things on the scene. He did seem scared, but he seemed like a good man, he'd probably take care of Magnes.

Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck. The constant mental swearing is all Elaine can coherently manage while she scrambles out of her chair and dives for her purse. Her phone remains in her hand, and she moves quickly to the elevator. Old Madison. If she grabbed a cab directly outside, it shouldn't be too far. Maybe a two minute drive, considering New York taxi drivers. Running would take too long. She stands at the elevator, pushing the button over and over. "Come on, come on.." Fidgeting with her phone, she quickly looks down at it, realizing she'd need to let someone else know. If it was bad enough that Magnes was unconscious and the man was freaking out so much, it meant that it could be Serious Business.

Her fingers quickly hit the phone's keys, typing in a text message to Sable, being as direct as possible:

'Magnes was in an accident, Old Madison Street. Going there now. Meet me at the hospital please? Don't know how bad off he is…'

The elevator doors finally slid open, and she pressed the button for the lobby, followed by the 'close door' button. As the elevator arrived at the bottom, she quickly dashed for the street, almost obivious to the world around her. She began moving in the direction of Old Madison, eyes peeled for a taxi. She might as well start heading towards the street now, in case she couldn't grab a taxi. She moves, barely conscious of her surroundings. Was that a flash of a yellow taxi? She stops for half a second, ready to raise her hand if she finds one.

Of course she wouldn't notice the man not too far away from the payphone, eyeing Elaine and signaling with his hands. Of course she wouldn't notice the haggard looking James sneak up behind her. Of course she wouldn't notice a hand reaching out to take her arm. However, she would notice his words as he grabbed her arm rather firmly after speaking them.

"Hello Elaine."

The last time Elaine had heard that voice saying those words, she had ended up in a trembling heap in Sable's arms, before that, she had broke down in front of Quinn. This, however, was far worse. This was not supposed to happen. He wasn't supposed to be able to get to her, and there he was.

"Jesus…" She gasped, attempting to quickly pull her arm away. "Let go of me or I'll scream." Probably not the wisest idea to not have just screamed right then, but her head was reeling from the though of Magnes having been hurt to the fact that James was standing in front of her and his hands were on her arm.

James smile seemed kind enough, but Elaine knew better. "Oh, you won't do that. You know not to scream in my presence. Or…or have you forgotten? I think I might need to reteach you." His hand tightens around her arm. His smile is always the same. Looks like his aces paid off, the flop was in his favor. He couldn't lose now. There was no way.

That smile wasn't a good smile. The last time she had seen that smile was before she had passed out, sometime in the beginning of April. The pain had been too much to take, and she remembered is words warning her that she got what she deserved—she shouldn't have screamed.

The smile sends a chill down her spine, but Elaine's in public. She almost cries out from the pain of a tightened hand on her arm, but she refocuses, setting her jaw. "I'll scream." She repeats. She won't let herself be intimidated, despite the fact that her heart wants to jump out of her chest and run away.

James smiles kindly (if there was a kind bone in his body) at her as he took her hand. "No you won't. That's that." Now with his hand around hers, he tightens his grip on her, giving her pain she hadn't felt in quite a while. And she knew better than to show this in public. "Come on, we should go for a walk." James seemed oblivious to what he was doing. The actuality was something far more evil and disgusting.

Elaine gasped sharply in pain as she felt her hand crushed in James', her eyes flickering about. There wasn't enough people over on this side of the street at the moment, at least close enough that she could just flag someone down. "Don't feel like walking. Lets sit for a while. It's lunch time. There's a hot dog vender over there… maybe you should go get us some?"

He wasn't stupid, but she was desperate and losing a bit of will. Pain would do that to her.

James tilted his head with a frown. "But I've already eaten. I've been waiting out here for you all day. I even had to bribe a homeless guy to give you that call. I don't really have any money with me." He shifts, exposing a very dangerous knife to her and only her. "Besides, I'm sure you don't want anyone seeing this, now would you? Because then I'd have another reason" his voice grows almost evil, "to teach you better."

Jesus Christ.

He had a knife. Before, he was a threatening voice. Now, he was literally threatening. Elaine's eyes widened, and her resolve to quickly pull away and run had weakened. One wrong move and that meant either she'd be on one end of the blade or someone would see and he'd be very, very angry. She wasn't sure which was worse.

She swallows hard. "I still don't feel like walking. Can we just sit?" If he was still deluding himself that this was normal, that they had a relationship, perhaps some of his sick concern could slow him down.

James gave her a thoughtful look. "…Hm. I guess you thinking that your little toy was in trouble did wear you out a bit." He smiled at her, pulling her with him while still maintaining the tightened lock on her hand. "Let's go sit on some of those benches, and we can talk this all out and get you better."

Talking was not what she wanted to do. Elaine knew what talking with James meant. Talking with James meant wearing down her mental walls like waves crashing against a cliff. His hand still gripped tight, and she found herself whimpering as he tugged on her hand. It hurt, but she was focusing on her surroundings as he dragged her towards a nearby bench. Right. Phone. Phone in pocket. If she could hit a button, she could get the last number she dialed to redial. She idly tried to remember who it was, but even if she couldn't talk, dialing the number and maybe hearing them arguing might be enough of an indicator to get someone to help. As he dragged her, she reached her hand into her pocket, fumbling for the redial.

James manages to catch a passing glimpse of her rummaging for…something. Her phone no doubt. His hand tightened intensely, surely more than enough to paralyze her with pain. "Now now, we can talk to your friends later. Let's just talk, mmkay, my Elaine?" He smiles at her once more.

"Ah—!" Elaine gasps again, biting back a full-on howl. She wasn't good with pain. Not like this. She wants to scream that she didn't belong to him, but at this point, that wasn't wise. Not when he had the upper hand. Maybe when she needed to distract him she could. Here, though, here was bad. She'd play along, at least for a minute. As they approached the bench and sat down, Elaine wouldn't look at him, instead staring across the street. "What do you want to talk about, James?"

Sitting down, James put her hand on his lap, still doing something very close to crushing it. "Leave them, Elaine." He looks at her the same way someone would look at their drug-addled child. "You're confused right now. You don't know what you're doing, who you love." He smiles at her. "You love me. I know you do, and you know you do. So…just leave them. You can tell them your goodbyes later, but right now…let's just be together."

Playing along with this wasn't working for her. Elaine was already remembering what 'being together' with James meant. She preemptively flinched. "It's over, James. I can't be with you anymore. You hurt me. You're still hurting me!" Her gaze focused on the hand that he held in vice grip. Even if he released it, trying to move her fingers at all at this point would probably cause her pain.

James grinned, his brows furrowing. "Well, if you didn't need to be taught, then I wouldn't have to hurt you. But you make things so hard on yourself, my Elaine." He shakes his head. "Don't worry, I'll teach you to love me. I'll teach you that I'm the only man who can ever make you happy." His faux smile hides such a deep insane evil, and she knows just to what lengths he'll go, especially as he begins to reach for his knife with his free hand.

Oh, god. There'd never been a knife before. There'd been makeshift weapons in the heat of the moment, but never a full on weapon. And he was reaching for it. Shit.

"I'm sorry, I was just confused. I know you wouldn't hurt me." It was more of a hopeful statement than she meant to sound, but she'd have to play in. Elaine flinched, hoping his hand would stop in its tracks. "Lets just talk. What did you have for lunch? I was hoping to grab one of those hot dogs, I haven't eaten yet…" If she can keep him talking, perhaps she can keep him calm while she thinks. God, think, think…

James stops for a second, smiling. "I knew you were just confused. My, Elaine, you are always so pretty." He looks almost in bliss. "Yeah, let's go get you something to eat, I don't have any money though. Hm." He gives her a thoughtful look, and almost for a split second, through her tormenting pain, she feels his hand loosen from the euphoria of having the winning hand, finally, after so long.

The constant pain ceased, a little, leaving only shadows in its wake. Elaine was glad she couldn't move it. It was better that way. "That's okay. We should just sit here. I like the air out here today, it's nice." Moving was a bad idea. Staying in place was good. Movement meant less of a chance of freedom. She didn't know where he might lead them.

Then her phone chimes. A text message.

Elaine's eyes flicker to her pocket. "Let me answer it, they'll worry if I don't."

James looked at her, then down at their hands, his hand suddenly intensifying once more, as if it had forgotten something. "You can, with your free hand. I don't want you wandering off anytime soon." He smiled at her. He seemed very controlling, but very happy.

Pain again, searing through her hand. Elaine bites it back, giving a nod. "Okay, thanks." She offers, as cheerfully as she can while in pain. It's hard to type left-handed, but she manages to write out a message, hitting send.

'trap hes here outsde work w knife cantget away'

Reception willing, she had a lifeline. "So it's been really hot, hasn't it? I don't remember it ever being this hot in New York, at least not for a while." Keep him talking, keep him sitting. She had to manage it.

James nodded. "Yes, especially after that storm this winter. Most certainly bad. Especially with what you did." His voice grew darker. He seemed quite bitter about…about whatever she seemed to do then. His eyes glared at her, filled with malice. His knife flashed again, maybe an intentional movement.

"It's okay, I'm back, safe and sound, right?" Elaine spoke quickly, breath caught in her throat. "Warm weather means better times! Isn't that supposed to be true in life, they say all kinds of things like that. Seasons are like that!" She was trying to breathe, but it was getting hard. Panic was still rising.

Uh oh. James was getting visibly enraged. His blissful smile faded into a frown, his eyebrows furrowed themselves. His voice grew tense. "I waited for you, Elaine. Waited for you to come back." His hand slid into his jacket, the hilt of the blade revealed in his hand. "…Why wouldn't you come back? I pleaded and begged and you never came back." His eyes began to fill with maddened tears.

Elaine's heart was beating faster. Think. Think. "I'm sorry, James. Calm down, okay? Calm down. People will stare if you cry. You don't want people staring, do you? It's okay. I'm back now. Making up for lost time now, right? Right?" Her breathing was more shallow, shifting slightly in her seat. Stall, had to stall.

James bore his teeth, gnashing them. "Yes…you're here. And I'll teach you never to leave me, you whore." A flash of metal. He pulled his knife out, sloppily, slashing it on her forearm. It was nowhere near her wrist, thankfully, but the dulled blade was sure to be painful as his hand squeezes to the point of agony on her. She was his. There was no other way to put it. He had made her his and only his.

Elaine couldn't help but cry out as the knife cut a jagged line in her skin, causing pain to sear through her already aching arm. He was dangerous. This was dangerous. Desperation welled in her. There wasn't time. She had to act, she had to do something. Her free hand grips the bench's armrest, her feet bracing on the ground. This could hurt. She suddenly surged forward to her feet, abruptly kicking as hard as she can to his shin while yanking the arm he had in his grasp away. The second she feels his grip give way, she'd be running as fast as she could down the pavement away from James.

James' twisted grin lets out a grunt as he felt her resist. It wasn't painful so much as surprising. She dare resist him? As well, his hand loosened just enough for her to slip free of his iron crushing grip. Enraged couldn't even begin to describe him. His clumsy lunge to grab her with the hand holding his knife only warranted a slash to her leg, a cut which would hurt but would be no deeper than the one on her arm. He stumbled, trying to get to his feet, albeit very frantically.

Pain was now searing through her leg, a spatter of blood left on the bench as she made her sprint away. Elaine pushes her way through people, regardless of who they are, her one hand clutching the opposite arm, trying hard not to limp at the pain. It doesn't even occur to her to try and scream for help and cause attention, but it's clear by the fact that she's running and there's the occasional drop of blood that something's going on. She, on the other hand, doesn't care so much that innocent bystanders know there's trouble as much as the fact that she needs to find somewhere to duck out of the way to safety.

Spotting a dumpster just barely sticking out of the mouth of an alley, she ran around to the other side, ducking down behind it as she sat, back against the brick of the building, her left side pressed close to the green metal beside her. Breathing hard, she let her head rest back on the red bricks, biting back the cry of pain that had been welling in her since he first touched her hand. She wasn't yet safe.

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