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Scene Title Spiral
Synopsis Isabelle uncovers the first of the missing five Brill Paintings.
Date February 20, 2009

Sheung Wan Kitchen

It's not just the large selection that makes Sheung Wan Kitchen special - it's the quality, the sights, the atmosphere, and the friendly service. This is a very small restaurant with only a handful of seats in front of a large, flat counter where meals are prepared in full-view by some of the Rookery's more knowledgeable chefs. Stacked high against the far wall are wicker baskets full of dried sea creatures, mystery animal parts, deer antlers, wine with whole king cobras, heaps of herbs and twigs and tree barks. Although these are meant to go into the dishes that are served here, it is not impossible to haggle for them.

A large chalkboard behind the counter advertises the kitchen's special menu, though some items are more difficult to read than others. Most popular is the Tree Lizard Soup - cooked with yams, Chinese dates, ginseng, medlar, and something called tragacanth, which is reported to be good for asthma, colds, lungs and the heart.

Six thousand dollars and some "recreation" time was Liu Ye's final offer for the Brill painting.

All in all, a small price to pay for a glimpse into the future.

It isn't the glamorous and sultry tones of a brothel's twanging sitar music, but rather the clattering of pots and pans in the back of the Sheung Wan Kitchen that finds Isabelle coming to meet with one of the most influential crime lords of Chinatown. Here in the Rookery though, Liu Ye is just one of many shady faces in the Island that America forgot.

The kitchen of the Sheung Wan is quiet this close to midnight, only a handful of cooks cleaning the last of the dirty pots and pans, mopping up the floors and emptying out the grease traps from the deep fryers. This leaves Liu Ye's leather-clad silhouette to be backlit by the paper lanterns hanging in the kitchen. Seated on one of the steel tables, the Chinese mobster quietly focuses on the cigarette burning between his fingers, watching the smoke trail up towards the fan spinning overhead.

At his side, lays a cloth-shrouded picture frame, three feet by four feet in measurements. Behind the plain brown cloth, lies a painting with the power to show a window into the future.

But what kind of future can it possibly show?

A macabre one, if Liu's judgment is trusted.

"My don't we look sexy?" A female's cool voice calls out and in walks a woman with long auburn hair. Her eyes lock onto Liu's and she smiles. Ahh, that man. Izzy wears just a black tank top and dark jeans, her boots thud on the floor. In her hand is a metal briefcase. Money perhaps?

She eyes the cigarette and then arches an eyebrow, another moment goes by and she shakes her head. "Nahh I won't do it."

"Appreciation on not turning me into a matchstick," Liu notes with a crooked smile, sliding off of the table as he slips the cigarette into his mouth, drawing in a smoky and warm breath before flicking what little remained of it into a murky bucket of kitchen grease. His dark eyes move to the metal briefcase, then slowly back up Isabelle's slinking form. "You make me wish I dropped the price just a bit more," he says with a crooked smile, motioning towards the painting, then an empty space on the steel table beside it. "A formality, I assure you," he taps the tabletop, "Let's see it."

Presumably he means the money, after all there's other people in the kitchen.

She licks her lips as she winks, "I would never do such a thing." She states sweetly and lays the case on the table. It's opened and there it goes, all the money. Isabelle looks up at Liu, "You know, we could 'negotiate some more." Just a little flirting. The woman's eyes fall on the painting. "Mind unveiling it?" she asks and places a hand on her hip. She tilts her head and looks around the kitchen.

Hands on the money, first and foremost, Liu picks up a stack of hundred dollar bills, rifling through them before motioning to one of the cooks, "«Take this out of here, count it. If even a dollar is missing, you call me.»" His orders are barked out in Mandarin, one hand waving towards the cook as he slaps the case shut. Dark eyes lift up to Isabelle, and Liu raises one hand to trace a finger along her chin, "My darling firecracker, I think you and I might actually have some business opportunities in the future."

Reaching for the painting, Liu pulls the cloth off slowly, revealing a simple black lacquered frame with a glass cover, shielding a startling and abstract picture from harm. The painting is, just as Liu described it, macabre. A painting depicting a spiral of some kind, with a young child seated at the top of the picture, eyes wide in terror, with some monstrous silhouette creeping up from the bottom of the spiral, all of this overlaid over a spattered field of blood on a black background.

"Signed by Thomas Brill himself. The notation on the back has it titled, Spiral." His dark brows rise up, and he tilts the painting up for Isabelle to see, "It's yours now, my firecracker."

Teeth snap at Liu's finger playfully and she grins widely. "Why I would hope so." Isabelle looks Liu up and down and when he shows her the painting. "Hmm, nice work." Isabelle looks at the painting, she can try to decide what it mean later with Rupe and the rest of Shedda.

Izzy leans forward to give Liu and quick kiss. "You have no idea what this means to me." She says and the possibilities of what is now in Shedda Dinu's hands are racing through her mind.

"I can think of a few things it means to me," Liu notes, lips crooked up into a smile as he slides the painting towards Isabelle, eyes closing partway at the brush of lips against his cheek. "I might give you a call, some time soon, Isabelle. There's a few… things, keeping me from being out here on Staten Island right now, most of them all revolving around some," his nose wrinkles, "Family troubles." Looking down to the painting again, Liu leaves his eyes to linger on it as he continues to speak.

"Your employer," because there's always an employer, when that amount of money and something like this painting is involved, "I think he and I should talk sometime, about… sharing resources." Liu's dark eyes flick up to Isabelle, watching her carefully. "I think, with your talents, he and I might have some… similar goals."

"Family trouble is the worse kind." Not that Izzy would know, because she doesn't know her family. Her fingers run over the edge of the frame and she nods to Liu.

"I will talk to him and arrange a meeting sometime soon." At the mention of talents, a dark grin crosses her face. "You haven't seen nothing yet." Isabelle runs a hand through her hair and picks the painting up.

"Don't forget to call.. I can get.. very impatient." She leaves that for Liu to interpret what she gets impatient about, but really.. what /doesn't/ she get impatient about? Her hips switch slightly as she begins to walk away. "I look forward to working with you further."

"As do I, firecracker." Liu's lips creep up into a smile as he reaches inside of his jacket, withdrawing a cell phone, "Best of luck to you and your new piece of artwork." He adds in a sly tone of voice as she makes her way out of the kitchen and through the back door. Once it closes, Liu's brows lower, and his lips retain that smirking expression, bringing the phone to his ear as he turns away from the door.

"«Uncle.»" He murmurs in Mandarin, "«I think I have a creative solution for our problem.»"

February 20th: Whatever The Case May Be

Previously in this storyline…
Favour For An Old Man

Next in this storyline…
Perfect Circle

February 20th: Jonathan Carmichael's Sins
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