Relationships Without Benefits


cardinal_icon.gif pearl_icon.gif

Scene Title Relationships Without Benefits
Synopsis The night before the raid on the Pancratium cages, Cardinal crashes someone's couch.
Date Mar 10, 2009

Pearl's Apartment - Staten Island

It's late in the evening, if by 'late' one means 'midnight was missed awhile back and something called dawn might be flirting with the horizon in a couple hours', anyhow, and it's certainly no hour for decent people to be awake. The other resident of the apartment's spending her night at her boyfriend's, probably trying to convince him to marry her yet again, though that seems a doomed enterprise.

So, the sound of the television being on might be a bit irksome if one happened to wake up to hear it. Cardinal's sprawled back on the couch, feet kicked up on the coffee table, one arm behind his head and the other holding the remote control flipping channels one at a time. He actually looks pensive, worried even, not a usual expression for the cocky asshole of a thief.

Decent people. Oh, you silly. There's barely the whisper of sound as the window opens, and a leg slides into the apartment. The noise of a car going past is eaten by the television's volume, so just a small billow of curtains and the sound of jeans sliding over a sill heralds the arrival of Pearl to her apartment. Most people take the door.

It's been a good couple of weeks since that particular criminal was sacked out on the couch, of course. Hell, she might have thought he was dead, or arrested, or just lost interest and moved on. As the window rasps open, he looks over—a brow raising as that leg slips through, then the rest of her. "Hey," he offers casually, "How's it going, babe?"

"I know you brought some fuckin' cheesy poofs this time, you goddamn mooch." Why hello to you too! How are you? Great, good to see you. Etc. Pearl skip that part. "… I take is Princess Uterus is our begging baby daddy to get legal." She turns to close the window behind her, and flings the curtains closed after. "What's with the face?" She ducks to slide the strap over her bag over her shoulder, and chucks it at the foot of the couch as she crosses the room toward the kitchen.

"Yeah, although I don't know why she bothers… y'know, she tried to offer me a b-j once?" A snort of breath from Cardinal, gaze swept back to the television as he clicks to the next station, "Even I've got fuckin' standards, though." He's silent for a few moments, then just comments quietly, "Been a bit've a week, s'all."

The trek to the kitchen is short, given how small the living room is in this apartment. It's pretty fuckin' small for two people, especially when one of them is going to spawn in a few short months. Pearl pulls off a scarf, and tosses that onto the counter. Though it's not cold, there IS a chill in the air, and she's pretty fond of low cut fashion. She skips a beer cap across the counter and into the sink as she yanks a bottle of beer out of the fridge and opens it. "Every week's a fuckin' week. What, your favorite kitty get kitty napped? You forget how to hotwire completely? From what I saw you were almost there on your own last time…"

There's something about the familiar taunting that brings a smile to crack Cardinal's expression, his head canting a bit as he looks back and over to the kitchen, calling out, "Grab me one while you're in there, eh?" He turns hs attention back to the television, flipping through to see if she gets any of the good porn channels. Or at least skinemax. Because it'd probably annoy her.

There's a long moment before Pearl returns to the room, moves into Card's field of vision, and drops to sit on the couch. She has an opened beer in one hand, and shoves a beer at him. Which basically means she throws a cold, sealed beer down into his crotch. The bag of poofs under her arm crinkles as she opens it, and shoves it into her lap, moving to pull her legs up on to the cushion indian style. She does get porn. Yep. Hiked right off her neighbor, too.

It's only by the swift jerk of his body back and up that he avoids getting that beer slammed right into his balls. Hey, he needs those! "Thanks," he drawls, leaving the remote laying on the table as the slightly-fuzzy reception fails to cover up the scene on the telly. The spanish lilt to the words spoken are proof that it's not even in English, although to be fair the actors seem to be a lot more into it than most cable porn. The beer's popped open, and he asks absently, "So, you ever see that brothel down'n the Rookery? Happy Dagger?"

Pearl doesn't seem to think he needs his balls. She makes no allowances for male bits when flinging beer. "Yep." That's her version of 'you're welcome'. At least it's not laced with colorful language. She reaches a hand into the bag of crunchy, cheesy poofs, and shoves several into her mouth. "Prob'ly." Her head tips a little as she eyes the screen. "That shit's dangerous." Pause. "Why, you gonna suggest a whore for me?"

"Only if you don't wear a rubber," Cardinal contradicts. Of course, they're probably talking about totally different things. The cap's tossed over to clatter onto the coffee table, and he brings the bottle in his fist up to his lips. He swallows several times, the apple of his throat jumping with each, then thumps the beer down against his thigh, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "Mm. Owner's Evolved. Makes a habit've grabbin' people off the street for new employees."

That gets her attention. Pearl looks away from the love fest on the tv, missing out on all the smurf sex. Blue body paint is just not that intersting for her. "… He what?" You can almost hear her mentally sharpening her knives. "Why's he still alive?" Well, that clears up her stance on the whole thing.

A faint smile touches his lips at that, though it doesn't go anywhere near Cardinal's eyes as he looks over to her with a sidelong glance; reddened and bloodshot even more than usual, there's a hint of shadow under them as well. Someone hasn't been getting much sleep. "We're hitting the cells tomorrow," he says in quiet tones, "In, kill any motherfucker that gets in our way, an' out."

There's a pause as Pearl looks at Cardinal. It's a silence laced with far too much honesty and reality for her comfort, so she looks away. "Yeah, so someone you know get snatched?" She brings her beer to her lips to take a swig, doing her level best to ignore the brief silence that falls.

"Yeah." Cardinal's taps his fingertip against the side of his beer bottle, not looking at her as she looks at him, "Good girl. Too good, really, should've been a fuckin' nun. She can heal. They're usin' her to keep the other poor bastards they capture healthy, after they toss 'em into that blood-sport ring they've got."

That brings a frown to Pearl's lips. Her eyes return to the tv, her hand goes back into the poofs, and she crunches a few. "… That's a giant emo fest waiting to happen. You'll save her, she'll blame herself, etc." She tips back against the couch. "Happily, you can fuck up a bunch of people on the way out to dissaude them from further tampering in the natural order."

A faint, rough expulsion of breath from Cardinal at that, nostrils flaring a bit. "Fortunately, she's got plenty've people t'fucking lean on for that particular emo fest, so I can duck out," he observes, head tilting as he tries to figure out just what position those people on the screen are getting into, "There's some shit that even I won't fuckin' stand for, though. An' this is me talking."

"From what I seen, you ain't big on standards, but I'm right with you on this particular issue. Slavery is fucked up. And when some people can't stand up for themselves, people like us get involved." Pearl uses 'us' vaguely in this sense. It doesn't really sound complimentary. Something about the situation's got her a little riled. It's all in the way she crunches the poofs.

That tone brings a flicker of his gaze over, settling briefly to the profile of her face. "Us?" A casual question. Very casual. He sips his beer.

Pearl takes a long moment staring at the television. Either she's trying to figure out what oriface is in play, or she's picking her words carefully. "Morally grey with a pretty strong sense of self preservation." She glances over. "Though that doesn't explain what you're doing in my apartment again."

It's a tough question. Will he answer it honestly?

Cardinal suggests, deadpan, "Booty call?"


The response to that is a smack, the sound of it sharp in the small apartment. Given the tenor of their recent conversation, it's probably unexpected. But maybe it's not. "Try." She takes a breath. "Again." Sip.

At the crack of palm against cheek, Cardinal's head gets pushed to one side—it wasn't too hard, though, so he just brings a hand up to rub against it, giving her a dirty look out of the corner of his eye. Despite that, he smirks, just a little. "Worth a try," he mutters, switching hands to put the cold beer against it. "Mnm. Just. Didn't feel like sittin' in my empty hole've a place all night when I'll probably get my stupid ass shot tomorrow, s'all."

"Oh." She gives that the consideration it deserves, takes a pull from her beer, than says, "That's sad." She looks over. "That's really sad." It's like poking him with a stick, except without the stick. Or the actual poking. "… You don't have any friends, do you?"

"Fuck off," Cardinal replies offhandedly, the hand wrapped about the bottle extending the middle finger in her direction. Then he draws the beer down and away, tilting it to his lips to take a swallow, eyes closed as he lowers it again. "Prob'ly drank too much tonight, too. Fuck."

Amusement fills her expression as Pearl notes the finger flashed her way. "You're really worried." It's not question. She doesn't even give him the courtesy of pretending not to notice. "You really were in for tax evasion." Yes, mock the stressed, buzzed ex-con. "Did you take up gardning in there, or were you always into horticulture?"

"You're pushin' it," Cardinal observes rather darkly, leaning forward to thump the beer bottle on the table and tilting his head to look at her, eyes narrowing to bloodshot slits.

"What are you gonna do? Watch me have a shower?" Pearl finishes off her beer, and tosses the bottle to the floor by her feet, rather unceremoniously. She'll get it later. Maybe. Crunch, crunch go a few poofs. "Shut up and drink your beer."

"Why, you likely t'go take one any time soon?" A dry response, though there's a hint of something darker in the criminal's gaze as he watches her for a few moments.

Peal absolutely senses that in his eyes, and she turns to face him. There's a sense in the room that would probably send anyone else in it to leaving. Luckily, or perhaps not, they're alone. Her head tips slightly, hair trailing against her cheek. "No. It's not."

A few moments of silence pass then, and calling them 'awkward' wouldn't be entirely correct. Tense, however, yes. Neither, likely, able to tell what the other is thinking as gazes meet in the darkness of the apartment and the flickering phosphor-light of bodies writhing in carnal knowledge upon the television screen. "Mm." A sound, finally, "Pity."

"You have your porn. Nothing I do in my shower is that interesting," Pearl replies, without missing a beat—probably given the fact that Card waited for a while before speaking himself.

"Who said," Cardinal observes with the slightest twitch of his lips, "I was plannin' on spying on you?" A shake of his head, then, calves tensing as he pushes himself up from his sprawled posture in a single easy movement, bending forward to grab the shades up from where he left them on the coffee table.

"The scene from Psycho is too played out," Pearl replies, transferring the cheesy poofs to the coffee table. She rises with him, like she doesn't trust him unless she's within arms reach while he's inside her apartment. "Leaving so soon?"

"If I was lookin' to get insulted all night," he replies, the shades dangling from his fingers as he takes a step closer to that window. Of course, that means he's stepping even closer than arm's reach, since she was seated closer than he was, "I could get that down the block."

Pearl's hand enters Cardinal's personal space. So does her arm. Since it's, you know, attached. Her palm presses to his chest, just below the inner curves of his collar bones. Her fingers touch the bottom of his throat. It's not nearly enough to stop him if he wishes to get by, but it's certainly invasive and suggestive that he stop moving. "You done?"

Cardinal's brought to a halt by the press of those fingers against his upper chest, his chin tilting down just enough to let those reddened hazel eyes find hers. She can feel his heartbeat, a quick and steady rhythm of blood's chorus beneath her palm. He doesn't say anything, though, merely regards her expectantly. To move, or to say something, hard to say.

Pearl lets him wait, her attention on the rhythm of his heart under her palm. Her eyes stay on his, her chin not even raiseed, just her eyes. "I'm going to be a jackass and make assumptions when you don't provide information." She smiles suddenly. "Besides, I got you to feel something else. Stop watching porn and get some fucking sleep."

At the first words, Cardinal's tired eyes narrow ever so slightly, lines creasing their edges. At the smile, and the second words, he suddenly exhales a rough snort, lifting a hand to slide over hers and pull it down, off, and to one side. "Jus' put it on to see your reaction," he admits, while there's admissions going on, smirking a bit. "Bitch."

"Porn?" She doesn't even glance at he television. "Seriously?" She takes her hand back, brushing it briefly over her own upper chest, fingers skimming her collarbones and dragging a few strands of dark hair there across in a tangle. Her fingers pause on her neck, then sweep down to her side as she drops her arm again. "I'm not afraid of you, ex-con. Nothing's ever going to change that. Something in my brain's broken that way. So keep it real with me, and I'll try to resist the urge to punch your buttons too often."

The proposal's considered with a forty-five degree angle tilt of his head, watching her face for signs of duplicity as she speaks… and then he actually smiles, if just a bit, and crook'dly. "Ain't we all broken in our own way," he murmurs, mostly to himself. The hand that brushed hers away lifts, curling his fingers to scratch at the side of his neck for a few moments, falling then down to his side to curl a thumb into an empty belt-loop. "Deal."

"Good. You can take the trash out when you leave tomorrow." And just like that, it's settled. Funny how keeping it real comes with chores. Pearl also notes, "I bought some man deoderant and put it in the medicine cabinet, so stop fuckin' using mine before you leave. I found a long ass pit hair in it the other day."

"What can I say," observes the thief, deadpan, "I just love smelling like lilacs while I'm out on the job."

"It's fuckin' peaches, you ape," Pearl snaps back, before she picks up a pillow from the end of the couch, and flings it over for him to sleep on. "Preggo did the sheets for you. Laundry basket. Along with your socks." It's like having a girlfriend without the sex. HaHA.

The pillow's caught lightly, and Cardinal twists slightly to toss it back over to land at the head of the couch. "Hey," he asks, casually, "Don't s'pose you have any useful talents aside from bein' a huge bitch to perfectly innocent assholes, do you?"

"Yep." Pearl grins, and heads across the room toward her room. "Buy me lunch sometime, instead of raiding my fridge, and we'll discuss them. My favorite is Thai, and I like it on the roof."

Cardinal kicks out of one shoe, then the other beside the sofa. The shades are tossed back to the table, and he drops himself down to sprawl on the couch, one arm reaching back to pull the pillow behind his head. "Deal," he offers, "Thai it is."

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