Shoulder Angels


emily4_icon.gif joe_icon.gif leo_icon.gif raquelle_icon.gif squeaks3_icon.gif

Scene Title Shoulder Angels
Synopsis After some eagle eyes spot Leo, he finds himself in the company of several aggressive shoulder angels.
Date February 16, 2019

A soup kitchen in Williamsburg

Joe got a hold of some stuff. A fair bit of some stuff. A quick request of someone who owed him a favor and there's a truck, one of the big box vans with the roll up doors like a garage door. Well not huge but big enough. Joe maaaay have used his criminal contacts to get a hold of some food. But inside the back end of the truck is three pallets of food. Some of it boxed, some of it canned. Almost all of it is that white labeled relief food. No brand name, just a white label that says what's inside of it. There's a pallet of canned food, a pallet of boxed foods, and a pallet of … bagged… food? It might not be a ton, but it's what he could get a hold of to help. And also he ate at the soup kitchen a few times after getting back to the city. In this endeavor he's recruited some friends to help. Either to help organize, or to help carry stuff. The pallets have been unwrapped and cartons of the food are being pulled off by kitchen staff with Joe handing them down from the back of the truck. He's trusting Squeaks to keep watch and make sure no one dangerous is coming close to try and steal the food. "Sooo I saw Magnes." Joe comments at Squeaks with a sly but not at all sly look on his face. Joe does not have a poker face. At all.

"I saw him too," Squeaks answers as she sits on the back bumper of the truck. She's out of the way, and watching all of the things happening while swinging her feet back and forth. And of course she saw Magnes, because she was in New Mexico when he was, and also in Missouri at the same time. "Not since getting home though. He was helping with the Raytech project." She angles a look up at the older teen, eyes a little squinty, because that's what happened no matter what they actually knew or remembered.

"Yeah, I gave him your phone number and Elaine's," Emily says offhandedly, distracted by the reinforced cardboard box she's carrying. She shifts it back and forth in her hand as she walks off the back of the truck and onto the platform. "Did he actually call like a normal person?" She seems to be struggling under the weight, but determined to work her way through it for the sake of being helpful. No box truck of canned and boxed foods will be besting her, no.

"I know." Joe responds back with a not at all subtle smirk on his lips to Squeaks' confirmation that she saw him. "He told me. I mean I already figured. Cuz you know how chalk I get about stuff. But he did confirm it. Said he couldn't have me running around asking everyone what was going on." Joe flashes one of his big grins at his littlest sister. "Well, I was heading out to go visit Hailey when he kind of just swooped in. I may have ambushed him with all my theories and ideas and he tried to play damage control. I think I won the bout though. Now he understands why the adults used to get so frustrated with him though." Joe not apologetic at all. Not one little bit. Not even slightly. He continues to unload boxes from the back of the truck, passing them down the line.

He winks at Squeaks at her comment about the Raytech project, and then stage whispers, "I getcha Squeaks." He cracks a grin. Joe is not the Keeper of Secrets. "But yeah no. He swooped down on use. It was cool. Did you know…." Joe trails off, tilting his head to the side and pondering a moment, while still passing cases. "I guess I can't really mention any of that in public." His cheeks puff out for a moment or two before he shrugs his shoulders. "It was cool though, to know that my theories were right. We had a pleasant conversation over tea. Geneva was pretty angry about being turned into a bird though."

"He was just helping with some project." That point Squeaks isn't going to let go of, and that's all she's going to say about it anyway. "There isn't anything else to talk about, so you shouldn't talk about it." She looks up when Emily appears again, head tipping to one side, curious. Does Magnes not usually call people? She doesn't get the chance to ask because then Joe is saying something a lot more interesting. "Geneva's that girl you know? How did she get turned into a bird? That's actually for reals a thing that can happen?"

Nearby at the corner of the loading zone a young hooded man peers around the corner. His eyes study the faces of the people unloading the food, the distance to the door from the truck. His stomach growled, paintfully reminding him that he hadn't eaten a decent meal in about a week and a half. Surviving off small cans of out of date sausages he'd found in a deserted gas station. His hands were cold and he felt rather weak. How hard could it be to lift a few bags of food? The man pulls back from the corner and out of sight from the people on the truck and headed into the building.

So, coming around the corner is an individual clad in a pair of dark jeans, black and blue doc martins, dark blue band t-shirt (silvery cursive) under a black zip-up hoodie…Raquelle's hair today is black with a hint of blue in there, carefully styled for today and a pair of sunglasses resting perched on his head. Glossy dark blue nails and black fingerless gloves he idly holds a clipboard as he is jotting something down, humming to himself some 80s pop hit that could be really any of them.

"Of course he did," Emily's muttering to herself about Magnes swooping in, more focused on looking for where exactly the box she's carrying needs put down. The cardboard stutters in her fingers, almost sliding from her grip after Geneva's time as a hummingbird is mentioned out loud, to the point she sets it down prematurely on some other box. She looks back over her shoulder for just a moment before shifting the contents around to ensure they're secure and becoming very preoccupied with it, but Squeaks ensures the moment doesn't pass into obscurity. "Yes, that was Gene." she confirms in that same offhanded voice as before, without any actual nonchalance this time.

She brings her hands back to herself, rubbing them roughly. "I might need to head in for a minute. My fingers are getting pretty useless." The admission is made more wearily than anything, a truth caused by the weather rather than a made-up excuse. Her eyes are wandering then, and her brow lifts in idle surprise as she spots Raquelle rounding the corner. Voice lifting, she calls out, "You're going to catch cold like that, you know!"

Joe nods his head, but he nods it in that. 'Yeah. Totally. I get you.' sort of way that you see bad actors doing in movies when they're making like lip zipping motions and stupid stuff like that. "I guess so? She said that she got turned into a bird. I've never heard of a power like that. Shape shifters but not shape shifters that can turn into animals. And definitely not an evolved that can shape shift other people. So I honestly have noooo idea what happened there. But dude she was PISSED about it. I thought it was pretty primal myself. She almost died I guess. But she didn't. And I mean how many people dream about turning into a bird and she actually got to! She didn't appreciate my appreciation though. At all." Joe's features pull into a slight frown as he offloads some food. "Geneva is one of us actually. Lighthouse Kid. She's just angrier and didn't come along till later. A lot of the kids that came along later are angrier." Joe frowns at that, thinking about it for a moment or four. Then he blinks and lets out an audible meep as he grabs more food and passes it into waiting hands.

"Auncle Raquelle!" Joe calls out to their favorite hairdressing badass. "I've been meaning to come see you! Just been busy. How are you? Your hair looks excellent today. Not that it doesn't every day, but today particularly excellent. Yes yes I'm working too. I can work and talk." The sentence flows from complimenting Raquelle to admonishing the kitchen worker waiting for more food to be passed to them. "The entrance was pretty typical Magnes." Joe agrees with Emily's muttering, his grin settling in place once more.

"Squeaks did you see the kid in the hood? Should let him know the kitchen will have food ready in a bit. He looked dodgy. Might be eyeing the supplies. Figure mebbe if we let him know there will be food in a bit he might not try and nab anything. Hey kitchen guy you ever heard of anyone being turned into a bird?" Joe of course gets a blank dumbfounded sort of stare. "Sorry." Joe laughs and passes him another case of canned goods. "You should wear gloves Em." Joe doesn't have gloves on. Joe has his jacket on, but no hat or scarf. But then… Canadian wilderness for years.

"I sometimes saw her at the shelter." But that was before she started staying with the siblings. Squeaks tosses a look at Emily, kind of squinty like with suspicion. She knows the older girl has secrets, but right now probably isn't the right time to ask more. "And the library one or two times. She's grouchy." Or maybe that's just her perception of it.

The youngest of the three teens by the truck raises a hand to wave at Raquelle, and even jumps off the bumper to go meet the man with a hug. But then Joe's pointing out the kid across the street that's got eyeballs for the food. She tips her head and side-eyes in Leo's direction before she actually starts slinking toward him.

Running his fingers across the outer wall of the complex the boy walks to the entrance of the kitchen and quickly slips inside before he's confronted. Once inside he pulls back on his hoodie releasing his unkempt hair. The boy looks around at the developing line up, his eyes dart between each person's face and body. He approaches the back of the line and slightly leans his body to check out the service staff. Searching for evidence they may carry a wallet or a loose fitting watch. Periodically checking over his shoulder he grabs a tray and gets in line keeping his head low but his eyes wide.

His mother would tell him "Miho, you know not to talk to strangers or to take whats not yours right?" This was different though. He has been alone for such a long time and was getting by doing the things his mother would judge him for. He was kinda good at it too. He mumbles under his breath and takes a deep breath. "Okay Leo, if you're going to do something do it, if not. Get your food, sit down and come up with another plan."

Raquelle tilts his head to the side and laughs, shaking his head at Emily's greeting. "Oh baby, when you're this hot that cold doesn't do anything but make you regret those piercings you got at 17." He drawls and winks before tucking his clipboard under an arm, starting to prep for his Squeak hug but she diverts towards another point of interest even as Raquelle is replying to Joe. "One day, we're going to figure out how to collect the energy generated from you running your mouth a mile a minute…but thank you kindly baby."

He does look over to the point of concern and interest for those gathered and just starts to follow after Squeaks. Ya know. Back up. Fabulous Backup.

Wear gloves says Joe. Emily only gives him a look with a sighing shake of her head before turning back to Raquelle, brow not remaining knit for long at his commentary. A soft laugh escapes her as she listens in on the comment, one cut short as someone politely bumps into her to pick up the work she's slacked off on. Nobody wants to be outside in this cold for long after all. "Sorry," Her head dips with the apology to the other volunteer. "I'm going to head in to warm up for a minute, and then I'll be back."

It doesn't take much more for Emily to start jogging after Raquelle, bumping her shoulder into his arm as they go. "Good to see you," she softly says as a more formal greeting.

"You are not at all wrong Squeakers. She is extremely grumpy. Like I mean I'm always ready to fight if I need to. But I don't like to. And I prefer not to. Her and Weasel pick fights. They're angry." Joe's head shakes slowly, maybe even a little sadly. "I don't get it. I mean I guess I do. I could have been angry about it all too. But you know… we lived. We had people that took care of us, and that cared about us." Joe grins and then reeeeaches over to nudge Squeaks' shoulder. "Soooo how grounded did you get Squeakers?" His grin grows even wider as he leans back to grab more food and pass it over.

"I could power the city. It's true. If we could harness the power of my rambling. I'm pretty sure I even made Magnes stare at me deer in the headlights style. But then I guess I do that to a lot of people." Joe's shoulders lift in a shrug and his head turns to regard those around him, eyes tracking Squeaks' progress. He trusts her to keep out of trouble. Protective brother? Yes. Over protective? Maybe. Sometimes. But not all the time. "Auncle! I need an appointment! I need a haircut and some life advice!" Joe calls out to Raquelle as he works on the food, getting the last case off of the back of the truck and passing it over. "I'll see if I can get more in a couple of weeks or so." He has to work to earn those items, though working security for a whole convoy shipping stuff in from the Midwest isn't too terribly hard.

"Wait up!" Joe calls out as he runs around to the driver after closing the door, thanking the guy and letting him know he left a few cases in the back for him and his family as a thank you. He then hustles after Emily and Raquelle, falling into step with them as they follow Squeaks and Leo into the building.

"I'm grounded from Raytech." Squeaks looks over her shoulder as she answers Joe, and looks surprised for a second to see him, Raquelle, and Emily all following her. "It's okay, because I have the SESA internship thing. And all the school things. And — " Her head swivels around to where Leo has come up with a tray. Her head tips toward a shoulder as she watches the stranger and she slows a little so Auncle Raquelle can catch up first.

"He needs a haircut," is the first thing the youngest of the group points out, and it's directed at the fashionable man beside her. Then, once she's closer to the older teenage boy, "You shouldn't steal things from people, you get in trouble that way." It's like she knows his thoughts or something. "Lots and lots of people help though, if you ask."

Leo's face skews at the abrupt accusation. He hadn't done anything wrong. Not yet anyways. Did he appear that obvious? He looks to the girl and studies her face, glancing over to the others that entered with her. "Err, uh. I wasn't, didn't steal. Uh.. I'm just here for a meal." Leo holds out his tray to grab a bowl of whatever is being served up from one of the staff, eyes staying locked on the girl from the corner of his eye as he pivots around to leave.

She couldn't have known, maybe just an off-handed comment to the homeless? Who knows, and if so kinda judgy maybe? Did she have a thing against latinos? Making his way back to one of the tables he gently bumps in to one of the other people standing in the lobby. The flash of a wallet moving from one coat pocket to the inside of his hoodie's hand-sleeve. What does she know? She doesn't understand.. he thought to himself before taking a seat.

Raquelle wraps an arm around Emily when she's within range, to give her a one-armed hug and then tilts his head back to yell towards the other volunteers. "I'm takin' the Brady Brunch in with me, let me get a snack and a break before doing some dishwashing." He sets his clipboard down on a passing surface as the stalk - no, follow Leo.

There's a soft chuckle at Squeak's being abrupt and Raq just glances over to Joe. "You know my door is always open sugar."

And there he is. He flanks Squeaks and then raises his voice. "Well well well, ain't that some timing. That's what we're here for too. We'll join you little papi." And he moves to sitting down beside Leo at his table and leans over to rest an elbow against the tabletop. "Hey." He blows an air kiss. "Fancy meeting you here."

"Yeah, speaking of the SESA internship…" Emily murmurs only loud enough for Raquelle to hear as they step into the warmth of the building. She waits through Squeaks' comment about the boy she's assessing before glancing up to the man by her side. "Mind if I stop by for a visit before the end of the month? New first impressions to be making and all."

And speaking of first impressions…

The very direct comment from Squeaks to the other teen causes the look to be wiped from Emily's face. "Jesus Christ, Squeaks." she whispers under her breath, her eyes swiftly moving to the teen she's approached in caution for what kind of reply he might have. Thankfully, nothing loudly standoffish, which is a relief. That bump into another person on the way to his seat, though…

She's not sure if Raquelle saw what she did, as intently focused on what he was doing as she was. But he takes off after them both nonetheless, leaving her standing here on her own. Not for long, though, a bowl soon cupped in her hands as she awkwardly approaches the table. A look is passed to Squeaks, accompanied by a helpless shrug, before she curves around the edge of the table to sit across from Raquelle. And the pickpocket, who she slowly takes in.

She tilts her head in a silent greeting as much as acknowledgement for what she saw before spinning the bowl around before her so the spoon's easier to take up. Emily's got little to say, after all. Everyone else will surely have that covered in short order.

Joe dips his head a couple times to Squeaks' statements. "Yeah that makes sense. But you doooo have a ton to do. And keep up with. And I have no doubt you'll continue to get up to shenanigans with the rest of us. Though I imagine there will be less shenanigans moving forwards. Which makes me sad. Much the sad." Joe sighs softly, almost wistfully, then pauses, a soft snort and laughter coming from him at Squeaks' rather blunt statements to Leo. "I know." Joe remarks to Raquelle. "Mebbe tomorrow if I get time? Or later. I dunno. Sometime! Soon. Very soon."

Then they're all surrounding a Leo. Joe well Joe isn't a loomer. To be fair he's not really tall enough to loom. So he takes a seat too. "It's not that bad Ems. We can spot our own. Those doing what they need to to survive. We've all been there. My siblings and I." And Joe clearly includes Squeaks in the whole siblings bit. "We get it." He reaches out to pat Emily's hand reassuringly. "But Squeaks is right. Taking from those that are already in need is no bueno. If you're gonna take take from those that have excess. Or ask for help. Asking isn't always easy. Hard to trust people."

"Don't take from people at all," Squeaks argues, in very typical little sister fashion. That's another point in things that she's not giving up. "It's wrong and you get in lots of trouble if you get caught. And you should give that back." That's to Leo, because she didn't miss it and she's not going to stay quiet about it either. "If you need things, there's people that help. And if you scav at all, you should scav from the dead people because they don't need it anymore." And all while she's talking, she plants herself beside Joe but not sitting like everyone else.

Well this day turned out to be a bust. He had nearly no time at all to respond to the first person of the group before being completely surrounded. Leo gathered himself calmly and takes a spoonful of the soup, trying best not to acknowledge the group. Then he's caught off guard by the statement from the young girl they're calling 'Squeaks' His brow furrows as he looks up from the bowl. "Give what back? And do I look like the type of person who socializes?" he says sharply, his body tensing as he prepares himself to make a run for it. He briefly breaks eye contact to access an escape, peering over at the door.

There are three people here who may not understand what is happening, but as everyone is doing their thing…speaking their pieces. Raquelle just narrows his eyes slightly. Its his gift that curls around his words, a caress to his tones, reassurance and calming. "Shh, first of all hombre that is not how you speak to a lady. There is no need to be uncomfortable. Eat, enjoy your food, and relax. What is your name honey?" And the volume of his voice might lower ever so slightly and yet every word is clear.

Since the subject of the wallet theft is already being brought up directly, Emily looks up from her food to take in the boy's reaction to the advice-rather-than-accusations. Tongue in cheek, she sets the spoon back down. "No," she replies shortly to the rhetorical question about his sociability. "You don't."

"You also don't look like the type of person who'd want to be blacklisted from a place like this over ten bucks and an ID that probably looks nothing like you to begin with." Emily's disapproval is plain, her tone firm even if the sharpness it could have has been curbed back — she's in the company of those who keep it muted. So when her brow furrows and the corners of her eyes soften, it has a little more impact. Her voice calms a shade further, unwittingly, after hearing Raquelle. "If you pass me it, I'll take care of it." she offers. In the hopes of not putting him entirely on the spot with being the only one to answer questions or offer information, she adds, "I'm Emily."

Joe side eyes Squeaks, cuz he remembers not too long ago having discussions with her about stealing. He doesn't say anything about it out loud, but the side eyeing is real. Joe reaches out a hand to lightly touch Squeaks's shoulder, then lets his hand drop. He's there, he's got her back. Or her side rather. "But seriously. There are people willing to help. Like us. If you need something. Food?" Joe asks, taking a swing in the well lit dark, given that he's at a soup kitchen. Though that could just be a cover. Joe doesn't appear to have seen the pick pocketing. "Everyone socializes. Hi I'm Joe!" Joe will even reach across the table to offer Leo his hand in greeting. "This is Squeaks, Emily and Auncle Raquelle." Joe's head tilts slightly to the side. "Okay most people socialize. Uncle Deckard does /not/ socialize. Quite pointedly. But he's always been a grump. I guess you'd be grumpy too if you had to see everyone naked."

Joe's head turns, his eyes flickering over to Emily. "Some of us have had to do things we don't like to survive Em. I understand where he's at." He turns his head to look back at Leo again. "My friends are right though. You gotta hand the wallet over. We can just tell the guy he dropped it or something. And if you need money, or salvage to trade for food? Or heck just plain food we can help. No strings attached. I don't do things for people and expect anything back. But people have helped me and I've been working on paying that forward." He flashes a wide smile at Leo, then looks around the group, leaning back to let Raquelle work his magic. Not that Joe realizes it's magic. He just thinks Raq is all the wise and sage.

All the eyeballs going her way are met with typical Squeaks' not understanding. She blinks at Joe and then Emily, and finally looks confusedly at Raquelle because he's not giving her the side-eyeing. Then Joe is changing the subject again and introducing people. She raises her hand when her name is given and explains, "It's what everyone calls me." Clearly it isn't her real name, but she doesn't offer one either.

"I used to live in the Underneath," the redheaded girl continues. She scoots into a seat between Emily and Raquelle. "Because I ran away during all the fighting. And I didn't have anything either so I took from the dead people. It's safer than stealing from alive people. And even here is one of the food places I used to eat at sometimes."

Leo was just about to stand and make a run for it but Raquelle's voice seemed to carry extra weight that just made sense. He slowly realized he was over-reacting, they didn't seem like bad people otherwise they would have outed him from the beginning. He sighs and slowly relaxes, dropping the spoon back into the bowl. "Look you all seem like real friendly fol-.." Leo trails off to just stare at Joe's hand before reaching into the sleeve of his hoodie to pull out the wallet. "I don't want trouble. I'm just trying to get by."

Leo drops the wallet on the table and slowly begins to get up. He stands and places his hood back over his head and slides his hands into his hoodie. He pauses and looks to Squeaks. "The dead deserve respect.. " He says with just a hint of pain in his voice. He begins to leave but stops and turns back to Joe "Anyone tell you that you over-share?" he flashes a grin. "Leo. My name is Leo, but you won't need to remember that. You probably won't see me again."

Escalation diffused, Raquelle, shifts slightly in his seat and nods slowly, a quiet empathy with Leo as he glances between Joe, Emily and Squeaks with a hint of pride. But his attention goes back to Leo. "Leo? Hablas espanol?" He asks, his accent does not seem learned but a natural as he continues in Spanish. "«I am Raquelle. If you are in the Safe Zone and you need help? Come by my salon any time. There's lots of work for people here if you are willing to work. But we all work very hard for what we get here. There's no easy pickings or people who deserve it. We're a community, we're a family. You are now part of that family too.»"

Then he switches back to English, looking back to the other younger people and then back to Leo. "He's so skinny, if he's not careful, a basic bitch will kidnap him and try to make him filler for her lashes." He drawls and shakes his head. "You need to eat more. Come see me at the Salon. Also, make sure you get some food, there's some snacks that you can take with you." Then back to the others. "Somebody said something about internships before we all gang-friendlied this honey drenched sticky fingered little hunk-a-chunk?"

The wallet is swiftly swiped underneath Emily's offhand before she takes another bite of soup, planning on not making a big deal out of the exchange. She can't dissuade Leo from leaving if he's too spooked on being here, and she makes no attempt to convince him to stay. She's been there. Specifically in the sense of being bewildered at how much Joe talks.

So she can't help but laugh out loud, involuntarily, at the comment Leo passes. "Jesus fuck, yes," she tells him with a poorly suppressed smirk. "I think he knows, too, he's just too social to give a shit." The amusement reaches her eyes as she glances up at him again, one that persists given Raquelle's commentary on how poorly Leo looks. Not at his expense, but rather the imagery invoked. She shakes her head before looking back down at her bowl.

"Yeah, Squeaks, Lance, and I got letters from SESA," she explains with a sudden frown. All the better to shift topics away from Leo scrutiny, even if it's one that threatens to set butterflies in her own stomach. She's set in her choice to pursue the opportunity, even if she doesn't feel comfortable about it. Not really. "The two of them got recommendations. Mine came… randomly. I fit 'specific criteria'," Her eyes become heavily lidded, sounding unamused even if she jokes, "I'm half-thinking mine will get revoked once they realize I saw a healer at the end of the year." Her shoulders lift in a shrug to brush the matter off, at least for now. She can wonder more aloud on that 'criteria' later, in different company.

At home, preferably with Julie to talk her down if she gets too frustrated about it.

Joe nods his head a couple of times at Squeaks' talking about living in the underneath. "Survived on her own for a long time. But she has people now. Support. Family of her own choosing." Joe smiles aside at Squeaks, then looks back at Leo. "I was extending my hand for a hand shake, not for the wallet, but thank you." Joe's hand drops to the table, and his face still bears a pretty big smile. "Yup. All the time. I talk too much. I over share. Get told that all the time. You get used to it though." Joe smirks at Leo's last comment. "Yeeeeah. You know I heard that. And then I run into people again. And again. And again. It's odd that way." Joe does not speak Spanish so Raquelle's words go over his head, but he at least gets the tone of what he's saying. Reassuring and understanding. Sooo Joe's head nods along like he understands, even if he doesn't.

"I mean… I care that I annoy people but I also… don't? LIke it's just part of who I am. If someone is going to get annoyed with it then they're not gonna last long around me yah know? Most people get past it, even if some of you do still end up with that same deer in the headlights look Magnes had. Sometimes you forget how much I can talk and then I do and you're all." Joe makes a face, eyes wide and crossed before he breaks down laughing and grinning. "Yeah. They're all looking at SESA. Aaaaand my plans is what I wanted to talk to you about. Over a haircut. Cuz I need one." Joe is getting a little floofy. His hair is disheveled from working at the moment as well, though it's usually mussed to some degree or another. "Probably has something to do with something else. Your f-" Joe shows some discretion though. Because his mouth closes and his eyes widen. He was just about to mention that maybe Emily's father had something to do with it. But that would be a bad bad thing to mention. Right?

For her part, Squeaks follows the conversation pretty carefully. She knows Joe talks a lot and even giggles into a hand when it's pointed out by Leo. She even follows Raquelle's explanation about work and the salon, watching Leo with a tilt of her head. "Auncle Raquelle lets us all work for him sometimes," she adds, but in English instead of Spanish. "I used to run errands for him, and he'd pay me with food. And that helped me to get better things."

As the subject changes, the younger girl folds her arms on the edge of the table and rests her chin on them. "Maybe SESA just saw your test scores and thought you were way smart," she suggests with a flick of her eyes at Emily. "You have more qualifications than I do. I'm not even graduated."

These folks were proving to be insistent. Leo sighs defeated and sits back down, he felt the danger was gone. He looks to Raquelle and nods. "Un poquito. Mom taught me some but I grew up in Harlem. Also you have a Salon?" his eyes span across each member at the table, they all seem to respect Raquelle a good bit. "I don't really have anything for trade at the moment for food, but if its like you said. I am a pretty hard worker." Leo runs his hand across his chin at the growing scruff, his eyes looking up at the ragged, tangled mop of hair on his head.

"I don't want anything to do with SESA, I'm not even evolved." this was a lie but he would never say otherwise, trust was something that took a lot to gain from him. The wall he put up long ago was still as strong as ever even if he was starting to warm up to the group that randomly joined him for lunch. That said his guard was still lowered to a point that he began scooping large spoonfuls of food into his mouth.

Sometimes, Raquelle forgets that Joe was conceived and created just to prove the world that there is somebody that can talk more than Raquelle. And it gives him pause sometimes, a well groomed eyebrow raising a fraction before the hairstylist just flashes a grin and shakes his head. He gently squeezes Squeaks' shoulder and leans over to kiss the top of Emily's head after he gets to his feet and nods slowly, taking in all the information. He distractedly checks his watch and then swears softly. "You all come and see me then, we'll talk it over. I'll make you look like less of an extra from Newsies. I'll make sure you put walk up on there like 'My name's Emily, bring it bitch'. And you my dear, can come and see me anytime for dumplings." He replies to Joe, Emily, and Squeaks respectively. Then a look to Leo as he nods firmly. "I will see you around. I don't forget names or faces." He winks and then turns to start sauntering off, appointments never end. He turns to walk backwards for a moment though to blow kisses and then turns back the right way and heads out.

There's a notable pause as Joe nearly slips and finishes his theory for why Emily was afforded the internship invitation. Eyes still down on her bowl, arm frozen in place while she waits out what he says. Finally, she takes the bite she'd been holding, grabbing a hold of the small, tough roll the soup had been served with. It's torn apart with a quiet grunt, the seconds it takes to work through chewing it giving her ample time to tone down any overreaction. "See you, Raquelle." is the first thing she says, his invitation and plan-sharing shaving away some of her withdrawal from the conversation.

After he goes, she glances back up, taking stock of where things were left. "Maybe that's it after all," she comments mildly back to Squeaks, tearing off another chunk of bread from the roll to toss it in the soup to let it soften. She nods to Leo after. "Raquelle has a big heart. He'll figure something out, if you're willing to give it a shot." Her brow lifts just a tick. It does take that, after all. her look says. The being willing part.

"He let me sweep up and clean up around the shop when he gave us all haircuts and we didn't have income. He also bought us food and I worked to pay that off too. Brynn also might have done his sign. So that helped. Taking handouts is hard. Auncle Raquelle gets that. One of the few adults who does." Joe's head shakes a little bit. "What better way to keep an eye on SESA than from within it?" Joe winks at Leo conspiratorially. "But really it's good work and people can do some good from there. Like Squeakers and Emily and my brother Lance. SESA has their good people and their bad. And there's Agent Rhys. You should have heard his whining when he was in the sewer while we were hunting for William's ghost. Heh." Joe chuckles a little bit, his eyes drifting over Leo's shoulder a moment, then snapping back around to the others. "Back to work for me. You guys have fun! I gotta go feed some hungry people." He flashes a grin at them all and hops up from the table. "Nice to meet you Leo!"

Not having grabbed any food, there's little reason for Squeaks to stick around when Joe heads off and it's just Emily and Leo left. So she gets to her feet and follows after him, shoes scuffing the ground as she catches up.

Emily, for her part, has lapsed back into an easy silence. She lifts a hand to wave as the other two head off, perhaps a whole half-minute of quiet passing before she looks back across the table to Leo. "It is always like that with them," she answers a question she feels must have been going on unspoken. "But they mean it — their kindnesses. Every last bit of it."

Half-turned, Emily looks across the eating area set up to spy the man with the navy-blue arctic coat that Leo had bumped into earlier. She slides the wallet off of the table and maneuvers it underfoot, taking a moment to wait before kicking it back as hard as she can in the man's direction. It slides to a stop, practically unnoticed over the other noise of the serving area.

"I'm not sold on SESA either," Emily confides to the stranger across her, her head tilting slightly as she comes back to the conversation, not looking to see where exactly the wallet ended up. "But not many people offer to both pay your tuition and pad your resume. So." That seems to be that, as far as she's concerned. "And it's not locked in forever."

Clicking her tongue, she segues absently, "I'm going to head back out to help them here in a minute." Taking another bite, she adds, "If you stick around, we can show you by Raquelle's so you know where to find him. Think he's busy today, but his door's almost always open otherwise." The offer is conveyed with another glance back up to him to judge his interest on it.

Leo finishes the last bit of his soup and sets the spoon into the bowl, his fingers pocket the roll for later. "I'm not against hard work and you people haven't really set off any alarms other than being pushy." Leo smiles at Emily and leans across the table talking lower. "If it pans out to a full stomach and a decent haircut.." he pauses for a moment reassessing everything that just went down. His eyes moving to the wallet on the ground as the man in the arctic coat bends down looking embarrassed and puts the wallet back in its original home. "…I'm in. I'll see where this takes me, but don't expect me to trust everything you have to say." his face turns solemn. "No one is that friendly without wanting something in return." he says standing up from the table and readjusts his hoodie. "Thank you for not ratting me out to everyone here.. I'll see you outside when you're all finished."

With that Leo turns and disappears out the lobby door to wait around outside to contemplate what just happened.

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