Prompt Corner


ace_icon.gif gideon_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif redd_icon.gif

Scene Title Prompt Corner
Synopsis The party is not yet over, but it's time to put some things to bed.
Date November 13, 2020

Staten Island: Rossignol

In theatre, the prompt corner is the place where the prompter—usually the stage manager—stands in order to coordinate the performance and to remind performers of their lines when required.

By the time Richard Ray has taken his leave, Rossignol’s eponymous Nightingale is on her fourth Midori sour of the evening, staring out at the milling crowds below, enjoying the music, the liquor, the atmosphere, seeing and being seen. Now that she doesn’t have to be on, and pretending she isn’t feeling like a piece of meat laid out between territorial wolves, her expression has gone blank.

“He’s gone,” the blonde confirms for her employer in an even tone of voice, assuring that The Shadow isn’t lurking in any of the nooks and crannies of their corner of paradise. She starts to raise her glass to her mouth when she sets eyes on her partner and he on her in return. Her gaze shifts toward the bottom of the staircase on the floor below, her wrist tilting in that direction as well, indicating that he perhaps ought to make his way up now.

S'interrogeait-il sur mon travail?1 the troubled songstress asks, finally bringing her glass the rest of the way to her lips for a swallow of the liquid that matches the shades of her dress so perfectly. Her focus less narrowed now, she more readily senses the blips on the emotional radar surrounding her. Especially Gideon, given his proximity, but also the lingering form of Ms Mun, the bartender who looks after each of them, and the security just beyond their curtain, and drifting along nearby on the edges of her perception.

"Pas exactement."2

Gideon has allowed his energy to remain in the space around the booth, emotions stormy enough to overcast an already cloudy day. Even in the cadence of a lighter tongue, the gravel in his chest doesn't appear to vanish. "Je pouvais dire qu'il s'intéressait à toi … mais il semblait heureux de mettre son énergie ailleurs."3

An addition comes with the raise of brows and a hand plucking up his drink, mostly ice and the lingering taste of a cocktail. "Il voulait acheter la dette de votre garçon."4

Vraiment?5 Odessa lets out a humorless chuckle. “Il est sur la mauvaise voie, n'est-ce pas?6 Her expression sours. Can Richard be so naive as to believe the debt isn't hers? Or is he forward thinking enough to realize that if Harry Stoltz owes anything, it's her?

It's ultimately neither here nor there at the moment, is it? “Qu'est-ce que vous avez dit?7 She takes another drink and lifts the near emptied glass for a small shake side to side to signal the bartender for another.

But it isn’t the bartender who gets to her first. The breath at the back of Odessa’s neck is warm, unwelcomed, and unexpected. As is the sniff of her hair that follows. “I dated a girl that smelled like you once, she was from Louisiana, always wore a little collar necklace. You know the black, ribbon kind? Stupid looking.”

The grinning countenance of Silas Mackenzie harbors a devil beneath it as it eclipses Odessa’s shoulder like a rising moon. But this isn’t the man who helped the Travelers reach the Ark, this is Redd, one of Gideon’s men.

“You aren’t stupid, though, are you?” Redd asks in obvious rhetorical fashion, taking a seat beside Odessa. Only now can she sense his presence, only now can she feel the oily sense of smug satisfaction radiating from him like the odor of a dead fish at low tide.

Ace has detangled himself from matters on the floor not a moment too soon, it'd seem. "Redd, it's a fucking wonder you were ever married with the way you slink up on women like some back-alley cretin." Observation made, he stands at Odessa's other side, a steadying hand between her shoulders before he presses a kiss to the side of her forehead.

"Brava, Ourania. Well done." Praises murmured, Ace turns from her to look to Gideon. The murmured French sails over his understanding without ruffling so much as a single feather.

"The opening was quite the success. Everyone I spoke with was enamored with Marie and our Nightingale both. Drinks, specials, and decour well-received." Ace smiles after acknowledging the victory. "If we don't receive favorable writing in the local rags I'll be shocked."

More than shocked, given the money that was palmed to ensure it, but that's a matter for any other time.

"Je lui ai dit qu'il était libre de faire une offre. Je n'ai pas dit qu'il obtiendrait quoi que ce soit pour ça."8 Gideon answers Odessa with a flicker of a laugh, leant back in his seat in the booth. One hand remains on glass, in an idle on the table. The other arm is over the arch of the back of the seat.

That particular hand curls fingers loosely together when Redd makes himself known, the subtle furrow of d'Sarthe's brow the only other indication of distinct displeasure — at least, outwardly. Ace's quiet sweep up to them tempers it, somewhat, moreso with the affirmation that the gathering was a success.

"Excellent." Gideon allows a small smile to twitch at the corner of his mouth again, blue eyes frozen on Callahan. "Care to explain why Richard Ray thinks he can buy you from me?" Amusement coiled on the inside, bristling outer edges lending it a mild menace.

"Ouais?" Odessa responds to Gideon with a laugh of her own. A laugh that pitches into something shrill at the warm breath on her neck and the scenting of her perfume and her hair. She jolts, but ultimately holds in place, breath inhaled sharply through her nose while she waits to see if he’s going to try anything else.

It's a good thing for everyone involved that Ace arrives when he does. With his hand on her shoulder, he feels the tension that had wound its way through her. How she was a hair's breadth from smashing her empty glass in Redd's face.

Crossing her arm over her body so she can rest her hand over his at her opposite shoulder, the gesture could easily be misconstrued as a show of simple gratitude. Instead, it's a wordless warning to her partner. Gideon isn't precisely looking for a head to gather, but that doesn't mean Ace needs to stick out his neck to test.

Her glass is exchanged for a refreshed drink and now she spiders the fingers of both hands around its crystal curves. A look of thinly veiled disdain is very briefly flickered in Redd's direction, then glances over her shoulder to Ace as if to ask if she should be fielding that question.

Redd doesn’t interrupt the boss’ interrogation, but his knife-like smile says more than enough as he side-eyes Ace and vaults over the bar with a flap of his long jacket to help himself to the top shelf liquor. Even as he’s getting himself a glass and choosing the right bottle of gin, Redd doesn’t divert his true attention from the power play forming between Gideon and Ace.

Gideon's question brings Ace's expression to lift up in curiosity as much as amusement of his own. Really? It's a question he turns silently to Odessa for just a moment before he looks back to d'Sarthe. "I didn't realize I was such a valued commodity," he cheeks. With a pleasant smile he reflects, "And such a good thing the d'Sarthe Group doesn't deal in human trafficking. Though I do wonder what this says for Raytech."

He smirches his tongue off the roof of his mouth in a quiet tut. Shame.

"Truthfully speaking, I'm just as at a loss as you are on that. If he needed a vacation booked, all he'd have to do is hire Harry through less unconventional means." Leaning his back against the bar, it lets him reserve a look for Odessa while still keeping Gideon in his periphery.

"After all, he doesn't know a thing about Ace," the selfsame man points out lightly, eyes on Odessa in nearly a dare. That's right, isn't it?

That tension finds its way back into Odessa’s shoulders and shows in the slight tremor of her hand as she lifts her Midori sour for a drink. She’s quick with a shake of her head. “Non, mon amour.” She’s painfully aware that while no one’s saying it, she’s at the center of this issue.

"No, I didn't figure Richard for the trafficking type." Gideon murmurs, brows up and gaze briefly scanning Odessa's body language. "He must have some… delusion about you. Or rather," He looks more fully to the woman nearby, brow still raised in continuous question. "You."

"I don't blame him." The addition is passive. Uncomfortably so.

"In any instance, seeing as there's no debt to buy, I'm curious to see what, exactly, he wants with that kind of hanging knife. Perhaps he just doesn't like your choice in partners." There is a distinct lack of judgment on d'Sarthe's part; he has no chips to care about, especially when it comes to Ace Callahan.

"I'll be seeing him again. Not immediately. Far enough from tonight that it will give you two every chance to think about what else you need to tell me," A smile flickers on his lips, catches the light in his eye. "And time enough to enjoy your holidays. This can wait. He can wait."

"I've got a schedule." He gives wave of hand, gesturing further down towards the lower level. There sits his more personable assistant, Ms. Mun, enjoying her quiet time, as she should, in casual off-clock conversation with one of the hostesses. Gideon leans against the table, feigning conspiracy and masking the previous seriousness with a pleasant humor. "And trust me, on pain of death, she keeps me to it."

Odessa shifts uncomfortably in her seat. That designer luggage of hers is being laid out on the table now, isn’t it? “Richard’s being a jealous ex,” she opines more blithely than she feels. She gestures with her glass, seeming to grow slightly more at ease as she goes along. “I’ve moved on to better things while he apparently still hopes I’ll fall back into his arms.”

Whether or not this is how she feels, what she really believes is happening, is irrelevant. It’s the version of the truth she needs to spin to minimize the situation as much as she can.

“I’m sure he also believes that I’ve been hired to kill people rather than sing.” The brilliant smile she wears is at her own expense. “As though I can’t change my stripes.” Odessa never promised murder when she signed her contract. Her wardrobe is expensive now and she’d like very much not to get blood on it. Still, she knows how to jump to attention when a man snaps his fingers.

The smile fades and Odessa holds her drink against her sternum, purple-painted lips pulled into a thoughtful frown. “At any rate, I don’t anticipate him being any immediate problem for any of us. He values his alliance with you, Monsieur, and doesn’t want to see me in trouble, so.” Hopefully that’s enough to close the matter for now.

Pointedly, she hasn’t glanced in Ace’s direction once. She’s afraid she’d lose her nerve.

“If Dick’s that much of a nuisance,” Redd says thoughtfully as he finishes mixing his gin and tonic, “there’s plenty of ways of distracting him.” He looks up to Gideon. “I’m not saying we off him, but I’m also not not saying we off him, either. That can stay nice and smooth on the board.”

Finishing his mix, Redd lifts it up to his lips and takes a sip and leans against the bar. “But Dick isn’t going to be doing a lot of Dick Tracy if he’s mourning the loss of a kid that was killed by a hit-and-run driver, or if Officer Harrison falls down a flight of stairs and breaks her neck. Accidents happen. People are clumsy.”

Redd kicks his brows up, looking at his drink, he’d outdone himself in his own self-centered opinion. “But there actually was something I wanted to bring up tonight. I wouldn’t grace you all with my presence otherwise…”

For all Ace hates when Redd turns his wiles on him, he does ever so love hearing him apply that creativity of his elsewhere. Especially when it benefits him. It draws the sharpness of his gaze away from Odessa, mellows his mood with a pleasant tinge.

"You never have been the type to just sit back and enjoy the fruits of a good night, Redd," he sighs. When he turns again to better have Redd in his sight, he lays a hand at Odessa's back again, lower this time. It's not gone past him that Gideon's looking for them both to sing a duet for him soon.

They'll be ready.

"Speaking of dealing with problems, I do have a suggestion on how we should deal with the attacks on our trucks along the 202," Ace remarks with an eye back to Gideon. "I'll sync with Ms. Mun to see if you have time on Monday, but I wanted to let you know."

That done, he cedes the stage of the floor back to the ever-so-modest Silas "Redd" Mackenzie, head tilting to see just what show he'll perform.

Gideon need not reiterate that he has people for that, Odessa; she knows it, but the notion seems to amuse him. Thusfar, he's kept her to what she's more openly offered. One can't say that he isn't gracious about such things. The latter half of Redd's commentary sours the passive positive mood in him, however, and though far apart, the scathing expression d'Sarthe gives is the pure feeling that Redd is the one with a predator breathing down the back of his neck.

The response is nothing less than a level growl, words chosen oh-so casually.

"If you so much as allude to that again, I'll have you skinned and made into a rug."

It's a promise, of course. Not one that Gideon dwells upon.

"The 202?" Eyes finally break contact with Redd to move partway toward Ace. "I believe I can make some time for that. It's been an irritation." Gideon's tone says as much. He wants whatever it is, to end.

The more Redd has to say, the more Odessa’s fingers tighten around her glass. Even Ace’s hand at her back can’t ease her this time. Her hand is trembling and it’s a wonder the crystal doesn’t creak from the pressure placed upon it. That quiet prelude to the fortissimo of shatter. Her jaw sets, lip curling, about to open the white gate of her teeth to spit an invective involving vivisection when Gideon’s growl sets her right back to heel. Her expression grows placid.

The moment it shifts to pleased is hidden behind that glass unshattered.

If the boss forbids it, then it’s off the table, and Odessa is assured. Finally, she allows herself to absorb Ace’s good mood, letting it soften her posture and her countenance.

Redd slinks down onto one elbow at the bar, tongue pressed against the side of his cheek and eyes momentarily narrowed. He takes on the posture of a dog who got a rolled up newspaper across the nose. But not a good tempered dog, the kind that takes a moment to debate whether to bark or bite. Redd’s eyes focus down on his drink and he rolls it in his hand with a turn of his wrist, then blinks a look back up to Gideon.

“Where’s Jason?” Redd asks, his voice as flat as day old soda. “Funny he didn’t come out tonight.” But it’s not. In fact, it’s downright unusual for a night to go by without Mines somewhere in Gideon’s shadow.

Redd’s tone all but says he knows the answer.

Ace, for his part, assumed something about Mines' near-inability to not look intimidating or unsettling had proved part in that. Redd at least had an ability that helped him fly under the radar, but… now he wonders.

Rather than shift a look to either Gideon or Redd, Ace lifts his head to a prepared glass left just for him, a lemon drop which seems so perfect for this moment now. Sour, sweet. He drinks from the top of it silently, unwilling to pass comment on the topic.


"He is working. Out of town." Redd receives an answer, perhaps more quickly than anticipated. Gideon's expression remains nonplussed while his inside is akin to the scowling sound of an angry wildcat. It's only for Odessa to see, that potential danger so close to the surface.

"It's not as if he's foregone an opening before." d'Sarthe is unconcerned, "besides… every busy man needs some time away once in a while, don't you agree?"

Whatever Jason Mines is doing, it’s very strictly in the realm of mind your own fucking business. Odessa finds herself back on that roller coaster, riding the car for the climb back up to hyperarousal9 and hoping not to be teetering at the top for very long. “Absolutely,” she’s quick to emphatically supply in response to the question Gideon poses. “I hope he finds the little jaunt restorative.” Her tone and delivery are smooth, very in keeping with that Old Hollywood image her usual looks hope to conjure. All congeniality and agreeable disposition.

But she’s distracted by what she’s able to read between the lines and underneath those polished exteriors everyone’s put on. Ace is likely to note it in the way that she doesn’t note his choice of drink with an appreciative little smile. And that’s an intentional snub, one Odessa is hoping he’ll read into the right way.

“Out of town? That’s funny…” Redd says in the way someone does when it is absolutely not funny. “Because the way I saw it, he was putting his fingers in really big, really visible pies. But… maybe it’s nothin’.” Also said in the way where Redd absolutely means that, yes, it is something.

“Anyway,” Redd takes a sip from his gin and tonic, “just thought I’d clear the air. Make sure you and him were all square. And it sounds like we are.” Redd flashes a toothy smile, then looks from the bar out into the club, smiling contentedly and sipping his drink.

Ace doesn't buy the brush-off of the topic, but he folds the information under the hem of his mind, puts it away for later pondering. He knows better than to touch it aloud, unlike Ourania. But she also hears and sees more than even he does here, maybe sees the need to hard-drive the conversation back to something… not this.

"It's been a hell of a night, gentlemen. Lots in play at once. A toast?" Ace proposes, lifting his glass and looking to Gideon. Silently, the conversational reins are placed back to him.

"As I said." Gideon arches Ace a brief look before caring enough to take up his glass once more. Redd, for all his lack of charisma, earns the driest of smiles. "Working."

"A toast, then." Brows arch as Gideon raises what remains in his glass, his offering of words to none of them in particular. If anything… simply a distant point past all of the bodies, his mind floating into the shade of somewhere else. "To the working class."

Odessa holds her spine straight, her head high. The unconsciously imperious expression that had begun to settle on her features is wiped away by her easy smile.

Everyone’s emotions have their own unique je ne sais quoi. Usually a kind of tang, a flavor. Gideon d’Sarthe’s ire has a texture. Like sand, road salt, broken concrete, and gravel under her palm when she hits the stones of Belvedere Castle.

Maybe she’s just paranoid.

Still, it feels as though everyone in this room is far too close to the next logical progression of this mood of his. The blunted teeth of the steel trap, set and ready to snap! given sufficient provocation.

Something’s on the horizon. Odessa lifts her glass. “The working class.”

The alcohol can’t drown her concern.

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