Rules of Engagement


conrad_icon.gif minea_icon.gif

Scene Title Rules of Engagement
Synopsis The rules of meeting are laid out between both parties, a little more known about each other, and a promise of more possibly. That and Conrad shows that he's smarter than most think or know.
Date December 11, 2008

Small gallery in the upper west side

The Upper West Side is primarily a residential and shopping area, and not much about that has changed since the bomb. Despite bordering the region of Midtown that was torn asunder by the blast, the Upper West Side managed to survive the fires that raged out of control in the days following the destruction. It was one of the first areas hit with the massive relief effort. While the areas that did burn have yet to be recovered, that region of the upper west side has been cordoned off by large concrete barricades and Homeland Security roadblocks, preventing most through-traffic into ground zero and the affected area. Beyond that border zone, much of the charm of this upper-class neighborhood has not been lost.

The Upper West Side has the reputation of being home to New York City's liberal cultural and artistic workers, in contrast to the Upper East Side, which is perceived to be traditionally home to more affluent conservative commercial and business types. The neighborhood is decidedly upscale with the median household above the Manhattan average before the bomb, and much of that status-quo maintained by the money pumped into the neighborhood from the reconstruction effort. As one of the first neighborhoods to have electricity and water restored, this area saw a massive temporary influx of transients and refugees from the destroyed areas of the city, most of which moved on as more and more of New York was brought back to life.

Famous sites of the upper west side still remain active today, with Broadway Avenue cutting through the center of the borough. But the reminder of what happened to this city is decidedly visible on the south end of Broadway, where the high concrete barricades rise up one story from the ground, and the jagged, broken skyline of Midtown refuses to remain hidden.

The meeting had been canceled between the two, Minea sure that she'd be too busy. But in the end it turned out that she wasn't. A emssage left on Conrad's phone stating where she'd be if he ended up having free time. Some little gallery in the upper west side. No snobs here, it was statues, bodies contorted in this fashion and that, realism not surrealism, or abstract shapes proclaiming to represent a mother and child, or some emotion. Minea's inside,a glass of champagne in hand, done up to the the mid nines, talking with the artist and his manager it would seem.

Conrad RSVP'd with a text message saying he'd be there. A short time later he arrives via taxi dressed of, in all things, a suit. It's navy with a gray shirt, royal blue tie. Apparently his mom taught him how to dress himself. His black shoes tap out a staccato sound as he ascends the steps toward the door and enters that way, taking a moment inside the foyer to have a look about for his date as he checks his watch to see how long he took.

Her backs to a wall and front to the door. Habit for her, and surely a bit of a habit for Conrad. When the man enters, she lifts her glass, a wink for him. Aka, over here, come on over. "If you'll excuse me?" Her card produced from a clutch after depositing her barely touched champagne on the tray. "I'll be in touch, I believe I'll have a client for the piece we were discussing" Cheek smooch, cheek smooch, and Minea is moving away from the pair who only watch her maneuver towards Conrad. She walks in the heels like she was walking in flats. "I wasn't sure you'd make it, even after you texted. Hows your day?"

Con opens his mouth to say something, which would've been a lie, frowns. Then says with truth, "Shitty. Yours?" He offers an arm for Minea to take so they can walk together and says, "It's your show. Show me around."

"Just as shitty. No details, please. The work day is over, hopefully" She can't say what hers was like and likely, he can't and won't say what his is. "Not my show, his show. My scene though. But I've followed his career. My mother enjoys his work, and I'm thinking of procuring that one for her" That one. That one means a bronze woman who looks like she's just been spinned in a dance away from someone, arms throw out, the thing cloth twisting with it's wearer and the suggestion of a feminine form beneath. 'More realistic, she enjoys that. Not abstract. We can go though, if you like"

There's an emphatic nod at the suggestion of no details. "This is the only suit I own." explains Con with a what're you talking about tone of voice. "Where else am I gonna wear it?" He looks at the bronze and approaches it by a few steps, regarding it seriously. "You know I have a lot of respect for someone who can take a material like that. Bronze I guess that is. And make it look like it ought to be soft. Like Michelangelo, you know? I don't know a lot about art, but I remember thinking that always strikes me. He could make marble look like cloth."

"Want to know the secret?" Minea grins. "He doesn't carve it in bronze. Couldn't do that." Her steps circle the statue in question and no price is in sight. If you have to ask, then you can't afford sort of deal. "They carve it in plaster, or in clay. You perfect it, set it how you want, add, take away" Minea points to the arm, and the detail. "Then, once he has it now he wants it, then they use wax, and silicone, make a shell of sorts, then, they pour in the bronze. It's complicated, it was explained to me once. But, the wax is melted away and your left with" She gesture to the dancing woman. "Sometimes it's in pieces and it's welded and worked till you can't see the seams, but, it produces a statue that lasts for ages" One side of Minea's carmine'd lips turn up. "Completely boring, but it's how you get it. That and just plain skill. Always down to skill and passion and soul. A piece without soul is cold and invokes nothing"

"Lost wax method? I've heard of that before. I thought that was just used in the middle ages by blacksmiths and stuff." Conrad says, internally congratulating himself for watching that on the History Channel. And no, he's not gonna fess up to that being how he got it. For all anybody else knows he got sent to the middle ages and had to fight Deadites. He hmphs appreciatively and half-shrugs, "Doesn't matter how the sculptor gets it. I couldn't make that no matter how hard I tried. I guess that's the idea. "So Minnie. What got you into this?"

"Minnie?" Eyebrows rise, and she looks like just perhaps she might have a little retort. But instead she gestures over to another piece, someone giving a middle finger to an invisible person the sculptor opted not to do. "It's what I went to school for, not this form of art, but, I went through other courses. Photography, printmaking. I had a disastrous stint opening my own silk screening shop, slapping witty saying on t-shirts which failed horribly" followed by a stint in the military is the unsaid portion. "There's something satisfying about making something from nothing, capturing something you'll never see again, in the lens, and putting it on paper to remember"

"Tryin' it out. I remember you saying it when we first met." Con will let her see if she can remember what he's referring to. Shifting over to the next, Conrad gives a smile to the sculpture of the bird flipper. He points to it. "Now THAT I wish I could have." Glances at Minea. "Never figured you for the t-shirt entrepreneur type."

'Failed. I was young. Foolish. Bored with school. Bored means I didn't turn in stuff. I learned my lesson though. Now, you. You only own that one suit?" She plants her hands down on either side of the sculpture leaning down a bit to examine it. 'i think I know someone who might want that. He has a perverse sense of humor. I'll have to call him tomorrow and let him know"

"Well yeah. It's not like I need it that often. If I wore a suit every day I'd have a dozen of em." Back to the statue, Con remarks a tad defensively, "Hey, what's perverse about that? It's uhm. Expressing anger and boldness, the audacity that it doesn't care what anyone thinks of it." Glance at Min. "This is serious stuff…"

'It's all serious stuff, but at least he's not a stuffy ass who's pretentious and pretends like he doesn't care whether you buy it or not" Minea gestures to a man who looks normal, and is currently being courted by a couple in nice shirts and jeans. The crowd seems to be a mingle of those dressed nice and those dressed business casual. "Gerard has another statue, similar, not from this man, but it's a guy, who's stuck his head up his own ass. Speaks volumes. He keeps them in his private study in montpellier. I think you'd get along with him. he doesn't collect them cause their art, he collects because he honestly likes them"

"If you don't like it and you buy it anyway, you're an idiot." And that's Con's final assessment. "I mean it's one thing if you're gonna turn around and try to sell it for a profit I guess, but I don't get the impression a lot of that goes on." In spite of himself, Con can't help but scope out some of the people here. Many of them idle rich. Noses in the air. Heads up their asses. Blissfully ignorant of their belongings. Lotta nice rolexes in here and…Conrad has to shake his head to stop that train of thought. "I just wish I had a private study. That'd mean I had a house."

"So did I Woz. Come on. lets see if we can catch a movie. I've seen what I need to to know what he has. He's sold a couple, I've put my name in for the woman. Let me get my coat" Her hands push off gently from the pedastal, making her way over to some black suit garbed woman, fishing a ticket from her clutch to pass over. She's done this before. So many times before. When she comes back, it's with a charcoal grey wool trenchcoat with what might, honest to god, be a fox fur collar. "Or Dinner?"

Con's waiting for Minea at the door and he blinks. "You make me think I just stuck my hand in the wrong pocket." he says with a grin. "Let's do dinner…I don't feel like sitting in some dark room and pretending it's the movie that has my attention." He holds the door open for her because it'd just feel tremendously wrong not to.

Minea leans close, her lips not far from his ear. "Just ask me where my guns are Woz. It's still me, under all the clothes" Even the perfume smells expensive. 'Dinner it is. Someplace where your suit won't go to waste but decent food. I think I know a place. I promise you won't feel out of place" With that, her heels click past him, out into the street. 'lets get a taxi. I don't feel like walking. You like italian"?

"….I'm sorry, what? Italian? It's good!" Con took a moment there to try to figure out how many guns she does have on her. Part of him says none. Part of him demands he check. Clearing his throat he follows her to the curb for that taxi hailing and says, "I got this. Watch." A cab's way down the street with its light on. It's the kind that SHOULD pass them right up. It's probably headed somewhere else. Con warns, "Cover your ears. I'm serious." Waits for Min to do that and then lets out a piercing shriek of a whistle that people can feel in their bones. The taxi driver looks directly at them and Con waves him over. They'll have a cab real quick.

Scarlet laquered nails plug her ears. Right, control of sound or something like that. Even with her ears plugged she can still hear it and it makes her smile. 'Well, i'll never lack for want of a taxi. That's for sure"

"I have my talents." Con says with a smug grin as the cab pulls up. He opens the door for Minea and says without bothering to lean in, "Go where the lady says." Somehow the cabbie doesn't have to ask him to repeat any of that. And then he's in after her.

You say, "Il Fortino's, little italy please" Deftly she slips in, duck, make room for Conrad. "Waist, thigh. I'm traveling light tonight. I don't anticipate trouble" Once they're ensconced within the taxi."

"You don't need em when you're with me anyway." replies Conrad easily. And no, he's no kung fu master. Or even a krav maga novice. "I'll ask you to show me after dinner, though." he adds by way of transparent flirtation.

"Maybe. Depends how dinner goes. Keep the front of yoru shirt clean, i'll contemplate a tour. Though, I have some rules I'd like to establish, before we delve past the realm of second date" She shifts in teh seat, looking out from the collar of fur. "You can have rules of your own, we can hammer them out. First. Don't ask me about my day further than how was it, and I won't ask you either. Good, bad, shitty, fabulous, that's all you'll get. My job ends when it ends, and when I'm out and about, that part of me is dormant. Can you live with that?"

"Woman, I live by that. I'll sign that rule with pen." remarks Con with a series of nods, looking out the window.

'Good. Second. This isn't serious. I can't afford to settle down emotionally and physically. I'm not looking for a husband or potential husbands. Can you life with that?"

"I didn't figure you for it." he says, glancing away from the window and at Minea briefly. "That one's good so long as you really mean it. No pulling your…" he hesitates to say gun where the cabbie can hear, knowing how understandably jumpy some cabbies are, "…any weapons on me if I'm chatting up someone else."

'Far from it. Same deal on this end" She looks like she means it. "If we have an arrangement, and it needs to be canceled, no getting snippy or angry. Sometimes I get busy at last moment. I promise to do the same, if you should need to cancel. I prefer an adult relationship, not a childish one. I highly doubt though that I need to be worried about you being a child Wozniak"

Con holds up two open hands, making the scales gesture. "Eh. Everybody's childish sometimes. But nah I'm good on this one. Waiting for you to come up with anything that sounds like it's a problem." Strangely it only NOW occurs to him that he could've raised a sound buffer between them and the cabbie. Dammit. A little late to do it now because it'd draw attention. Privacy really is addicting.

'You have any requests, requirements?" Nothing they've spoken should trip anything alarming. Now it's her turn for her gaze to go out the window studying the street as it passes, occasionally glancing to the rearview mirror and watching behind them.

"Not that I can think of." Con replies. "If I do I'll mention it. But for now I don't think I was planning to be all super careful with you. Call me crazy but I didn't get the impression you were put on Earth to fuck me up." He says that last with a grin, watching her.

"Stranger things in this world have happened woz"There's a half smirk at that, a huff from the woman at some remembered thought. "Stranger things. Whats your scheduling looking like, assuming you don't run screaming when you see how I eat spaghetti"

"I got all night. I'm supposed to be doing something tomorrow, but frankly I think I'm gonna bow out. And I would love you tell you all about it, because I really wanna tell somebody, but trust me it is all kinds of stupid and I just want it all to be over." Which is about as vague while at the same time providing oblique detail as one could get. Con is very good at keeping things to himself. But sometimes it's a venting thing.

"I have all night. Partner's busy tomorrow and i'm work's on hold till something's sorted out. So desert is an option. Here it is" The cab is slowing down and across the city is an Italian place. Il Fortino's. Not exactly family, but not hoity toity. The cabbie's slipped a decent tip, with a look that speak volumes in the keep your mouth shut kinda way. 'Come. we can lament out the lack of a personal life, and you can ask me all sorts of questions and I you. Then after wards, we can find a hotel room and forget about the world and you can find my guns"

"Yes ma'am…" remarks Con with a grin, ducking out of the cab easily. He can manage not to make an ass of himself with his manners, but that's mostly a function of his age and maturity and not any polished upbringing. So doors are held open and he generally comports himself as someone respectful of his company. Once outside, he mentions something else. "This isn't a rule, but you can talk about my ability all you want. It's not even a secret. I just don't want you thinking it's off limits."

Standing on the street Minea regards Conrad for a moment. 'Just because I don't speak about it doesn't mean I'm trying to spare you the stares, or think it's off limits, it's.. not that important to me woz. It's like.. your hair or your feet. It's another part of you. If you use it, you use it, if I wish to talk about it, I'll talk about it. For the record, I'm not evolved. I have no special ability. Nor do I ever wish for one. Seems to bring more trouble than good these days. I don't much care for the Linderman Act. I thinks it's an utter crock of shit. But I also think, that there are people out there with very dangerous talents, using them to do very nefarious and improper things, and they need to be caught and hung by their toes" Her clutch tucked under her arm, she gestures to the restaurant.

"Well that's a whole lot more than I was really getting at, but okay." he says, grinning wider. "I was just making sure you knew it's not like I'm in the closet." Con goes for the restaurant, pacing Min. "You know I'm probably the least uptight person you'll ever meet. Here, at least."

"I'll try to remember that. Though I hope it'll be like that later" They start across the street, Minea starting to undo the sash of her coat. "Lets just enjoy the night, and let tomorrow slam it's head into ours when the sun rises. I might be castrating someone tomorrow, and i'd like a little fun before I do that"

"Ooh. Enjoy tonight what you'll destroy tomorrow. Ah well, so long as I know which one I get to be part of." Con points courteously at the curb as they approach it so as not to have any chance of catching Min by surprise. Not that she's not graceful, but everybody trips sometimes. "So how long you been in New York? Or I guess how often do you come?"

'Ummhhhh once before, passing through, but my brother Edward has been often. Likes to bring his wife for the shows, they live out in Connecticut. made sure i knew of a few places that I would enjoy. How long have you been here?" She steps up easily, despite the thing high heel, every part the consummate art consultant. Looking very much at ease with this facet. As home in this as in the leather and jeans. "I've only been here a little over… a week and a half"

"Oh I've lived here about seven years now. Used to sell cars. Surprise!" Sarcasm. Con knows how he comes off to most people. At least he has the humor to capitalize on it. "Honestly it's just this place is so easy to melt away into. I couldn't take a community that really looked at what everyone does with their lives and scrutinized them too much." For a crook he's rather honest all right. The door to the restaurant is held open, true to form, and he suggests, "I could use a drink."

'As could I. Selling cars. You have the personality for that. Crazy woz's house of cars" Minea slips in easily enough. "What would you have done with my poor little Malibu.." She pauses just inside, waiting a moment for the hostess to notice them "2, near the bar, in the back please" Then her attention is back to Conrad. "You would have done something to my hearing if I hadn't taken my keys and left you alone, wouldn't you have?" Not accusation, just curiosity.

"…no." comes the answer after a brief moment. "You sure you wanna know what I would've done?" Con asks, seriously.

"When we're at our table. Then I'll tell you what I would have done after you" The black clad hostess is motioning. It's a cloth tablecoth kind of place, but there's people in all manner of dress present and not the snooty kind. Eventually though, they're led to a quiet corner, seated, watered and napkin'd.

Con waits until they're seated and waiting and relatively private before he asks, "Remember the dumpster? The one in the alley with us."

Minnea nods, getting settled in. cutlery pushed to the side. "Yes, I remeber it"

"I would've made a sonic boom shock wave to knock you on your ass, then fired the dumpster through the fence and run." Con says matter of factly, taking a sip of his water. "…I really don't need to carry a gun."

"Obviously" Minea's finger traces the rim of her water glass. 'How's your groin?"

"Fine, but you're welcome to check." he suggests with a grin. "See uh…my big thing is never hurt anybody. Because if I did that, I'd deserve to be put away. And because I've got y'know…this." Con clenches a fist, perhaps to symbolize what he can do. "It kind of pisses me off when someone else is too willing to do the hurting. I guess it's like, I have restraint, why don't you?"

"Notice I didn't pull the gun till the end. I've been in a few situations, none pretty. I've not always done what I did. Sometimes I'm placed out in the public. Photography skills and all. I have a passion to relying on my own hands before I rely on a weapon. Weapons are part of the job. You also caught me on another shitty day. And don't worry, I intend to check" Incoming waiter, bearing an order pad, and a smile. "You can order for me again. No chicken please"

"I feel like a simple plate of Linguine Alfredo. But you probably want…" Con looks to the waiter and orders eggplant parmesan for Minea. No appetizers. But he also orders a glass of red wine for himself and says to Min, "You order your drink. That part I'm not guessing."

"Red will do as well. Thank you" The menu's left untouched and gathered and she goes back to circling the top of her water glass. "Well, in truth, you have the ability to defend yourself with more than just your hands. I would have gotten my jacket dirty, cursed you and then run for my car and waited to see if you show'd up. Mo more harm than a bruised ego"

There's a nod to all that, "I figured. Which is what I would've counted on. And there's no shame in that. It would've made me feel bad though. My ideal situation was just see what I could get out of you. Really your keys did me no good. I didn't know where your car was. All they have is the little Chevy symbol on em, it's not like they say Malibu. But when you pull the bump and grab you have to scoop the pocket and take what you get. It's part of the move." Con rests his chin on the heel of his palm and watches Min do that thing with the glass. "Something about you doing that is very sexy."

'Is it? I tend to do it. On a better glass I can make it sing. I would do it for my parents, put on shows with their wine glasses, have my little brothers help me. What about it though, makes you think that Woz?" She doesn't stop, just keeps it up, though she leans against the table, her elbow coming to press on the cream tablecloth and rest her chin in her hand.

Con's eyes are glued to Min's glass. "I dunno." he says at first, kind of copping out on answering. "No. I think it's." distracted, "Watching what you do with a finger. Gives me imagination food. Food for the imagination." He tears his eyes off of that and sits up straight. "Desert!" he declares, not talking about food.

"Dessert. Food first, then dessert. Your place, or another place?" getting the details out of the way. Another interruption as the wine is brought, inspected, the whole nine yards, but not by a sommelier. 'To a night. Away from jobs" Minea lifts her glass towards him.

"Let's do the hotel." suggests Con, lifting his glass in turn. "To any time away from jobs." He touches the glass to Min's before taking a sip. "It just goes to show that even if she's pissed at you, kneed you in the nuts, and you tried to rip her off, it never hurts to ask a beautiful woman out."

"Makes for an interesting story none the less" She clinks and sips herself, settlingin for what should be an enjoyable dinner.

December 11th: The Price of Charity
December 12th: Risky Business
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