Strictly Business


brian_icon.gif elias_icon.gif

Scene Title Strictly Business
Synopsis Brian seeks new lodging and runs into Elias. They (totally are not) now BFF.
Date December 10, 2008

Cliffside Apartments

//Cliffside Apartments is a bit of a misnomer, as it isn't located anywhere near cliffs at all. The apartment building is a garish beacon of color amidst the otherwise gray and brown hues of the industrial complex that is Long Island City. The entire south face of the apartments have long since been a target for graffiti artists, and finally the longtime owner 'Manny' Chavez simply gave up and let them do as they wished with the building after too many attempts to clean up the work. One side of the building — painted a bright pumpkin orange on the first floor, and more of a peach shade on the second and third, has been tagged and practically covered with a wide manner of graffiti, to the point where it looks markedly intentional. The other three sides of the building look more vandalized, with no finished paint beneath to make the "artwork" stand out. //

The interior of Cliffside Apartments makes it clear the building was once part of an industrial park. All of the three floors of the apartment building are loft apartments with concrete-block walls that were long ago soundproofed when the building didn't serve as residences. Given the economic decline of Queens, much of the Cliffside Apartments falls into an affordable range for the region, but is still considered steep outside of the New York area. Despite the relative affordability of the housing, few people have flocked to the area to live due to the exceptionally high crime rate.

It's been a rough few days for Vanguard's New York Chapter. It's been a rough couple days for Elias de Luca, or at least, rougher than usual. He usually finds himself in trouble, so the incident at the church wasn't usual in that regard. But he doesn't usually get shot either. Can't have your cake and eat it too, looks like.
But, hey, is it really that bad? He's alive, and even though his arm still hurts when the vicodin isn't working, it's nothing unbearable. It's certainly nothing that stops him from trudging down the hallways of Cliffside Apartments carrying a trash back full of generic dirty laundry (the suits? Dry clean only, baby) and some detergent. And all he really wants is a nice, quiet day to relax. Aside from a little street crime, what's the worst that could possibly happen to him?

"Yeah, I'm here for one of the vacant rooms." Comes the young voice. A voice Elias most likely would find familiar.

After a brief conversation, Brian gives a nod. "Okay, so I can go check out the room then?" A key is passed to him. "Thanks, bro." With that he turns his back and makes his way for the stairs. His politeness immediately fading as he walks away from the landlord. Sticking the key in his jeans pocket, he makes his ways up the stairs, shoes pounding against them as he goes. Just trying to find a place that he can have to himself. Away from all the insanity, away from Eileen, away from Teo, away from crazy Asians who turn into smoke. He just needs a little privacy. Can't be too hard to get that, right?

Yeah, what's the worst that could happen besides street crime? Plenty, that's what. If that actually was Brian's voice that Elias heard, at least. He probably just imagined it. But whether he imagined it or not, he elects to move into the stairwell but then wait off to the side; not a lot of space to maneuver, so why crowd? He'll wait and see if whoever is coming up stops at a different floor, and then go, or move around them after they go into the hallway.
And on the off-chance that it is, in fact, Brian Fulk, he doesn't want to have to deal with him on the stairs. That's dangerous, and someone is liable to fall and get a really bad owie.

Stepping up into the hallway, Brian turns from the stairwell in a flurry of unawareness and ignorace turns his back to the unseen Elias. "Room 302.." Brian mutters softly to himself, reminding himself. It is in fact, Brian Fulk. And he looks to be alone. At least, for now.

The moment of truth, it is. What does Elias do now? He could just ignore Brian, go down and do his laundry, and teleport back to his apartment to avoid him. But then what if Brian does rent from Cliffside? It'd only be a matter of time before he realized who else was living there. Trying to scare him off would only make him suspicious. Realistically, Eli only has one choice.
"They numbered 'em backwards," he says, "302's at the other end." And that choice is to just play it cool, and then bail on the lease. Not like the landlord will have anyone to actually chase down.

Flipping around on his heels, Brian's eyes go wide at the sight of Elias. His hand leaping for the back of his pants. But he pauses, once his hand is on the gun… He did have an agreement. He pauses, staring wide eyed at Elias. "I.." He mutters, obviously at a loss for words.
"Thanks." He finally chokes out. He bites his lower lip for a moment. "Are you going to try and kill me?"

A quick glance into the stairwell just to be certain, and then Elias replies when he's certain it's safe. "You're a funny guy," he says, "But seriously, you might want to keep that bit a secret. Nosey neighbors. Or, maybe there are, I don't know. But no, I'm not." And here's why. "I'm holding my laundry, and I know you. If I try, I'm going to get blood all over everything, and then I'll have to move, and buy new clothes, and I don't want to do wither of those right now. So… you know, let's just look at everything that happened as a whole, and call it square. Okay?"

"No, I'm no-" But Elias pauses mid-sentence. For a few seconds, he just looks at Brian, contemplating. And then, his free (the injured) hand held out to indicate 'I have no weapon', he takes a few steps towards Brian, being careful to take them at an easy pace so as not to spook the man. "What was that, that very last bit? Sounded kind of like it rhymed with, 'he pie'? Where'd you hear that?"

Brian tilts his head at the other man. He takes a moment to breathe. Considering whether or not to do quite possibly the most stupid thing he's ever done. For a moment he stares at Elias. "Eileen says hi." There it's done. His hand tightens on the gun. He knows the other man doesn't need a weapon to teleport him and push him off a roof, he's fallen from great heights one too many times.

For an instant that feels like eternity, Elias feels anger threatening to boil over underneath his cool facade. But all the time he spent in Chicago, all the time under Linderman and everything he learned from… well, we don't mention him. Elias's training kicks in almost immediately, and while it takes him a bit before he feels he's completely under control, it keeps him from flipping out and doing something unsavory to Brian right there.
"And," he begins, voice strained, "How is Eileen doing?"

"She told me to tell you she's not.." What did she say again? Brian takes a moment, searching his memory. Did she say anything? "She's okay. She wanted me to tell you that." Brian says, eyeing the man closely, his hand remaining on the weapon tensely. Deep breaths, stay calm..
"She's fine." Well she did get her nose broken.. "She didn't want to eat very much." Even though he made her AWESOME food.

It's a start. Elias notes Brian's hesitation, which would indicate that she either is just fine, or that she isn't and the multiplier froze for a moment out of sudden fear that he might make Eli even more displeased. But it's enough to convince him that her situation either isn't that dire, or that Brian isn't lying in hopes that he'll get left alone. It's enough to allow Elias to partially redirect his anger;, enough that he visibly relaxes, emphasized further by the deep breath he sucks in as he turns his gaze to the wall. "Okay," he says with a nod, more to reassure himself that it's okay than Brian, "Okay, you know what?" He redirects his eyes to Brian's face. "I believe you. I believe that regardless of her actual situation, you care enough to be at least halfway honest about it. And that's good enough to show that you're a stand-up guy."

"One of our guys broke her nose." Brian admits, as if Elias was pounding him for the information. "But.. she stabbed him. I didn't let anyone else do anything to her." Why, why is he telling all this to him? "I'll do my best to take care of her.. If you promise not to attack any of my people." He would try to take care of her regardless, but still, a deal is a deal, right?

Elias considers this a moment. "I'll do my best," he says, "The Wolf, he's sort of… he's a very angry man. A very, very angry man." As if the first time was clear enough. "With a short fuse.-" Elias illustrates by holding his fingers not mere than a quarter-inch apart. "A really, little short fuse. So, I'm just, you know, not going to tell him about any of this, because that'd be bad for all of us. So, you do your best to watch out for her, and I'll do my best to make sure your people don't get killed. Especially considering that I went looking for you and Deckard without telling him, or anything, so he'd be pretty mad already.
"Oh, also," Elias continues, having just remembered something, "We're not actually going to kill Flint Deckard. You know, I don't want to kill him. And, Shadowman doesn't… he… don't worry 'bout him. I'll handle him. Cool?"

"The Wolf." Brian repeats, with a little frown. Is he really making a deal with the mass murderers? Well, they seem nice enough.. And he does seem to care about the girl. "Ok. I won't tell.. My people about this." Brian agrees. "They'll get all whiny, anyways. Yell at me for not doing something right. Not arresting you or something." Brian says, his hand finally, slowly releasing the gun. "I'm sorry about Eileen's nose. I didn't want them to hurt her." His eyes suggest his words are sincere.
"Wu-Long." Brian corrects. "He tried to kill me." The man points out as if Elias wasn't there. "He almost did."

"Yeah, it, it was a bad day," Elias replies, "And I'm sure that for as long as we live, we'll keep blaming the other guy for it, so just to make something clear, it was a real clusterfuck, but no one died or was scarred for life. No hard feelings, right?" Elias extends his hand, the right one (the arm Brian shot him in), offering to shake. No hard feelings?

Brian watches the hand hesitantly and doesn't yet take it. He just stares at Elias for a moment. He slowly, reluctantly raises his hand. "Promise you won't teleport me into a portapotty in Alaska or something." Brian says sternly before offering his hand.

"Brian, Brian, Brian," Elias says, "And I put you in a portapotty in Alaska, who's going to look after Eileen?"

"The other me's." Maybe he shouldn't give Elias ideas. So he takes the hand anyways, shakes it, and releases, rather quickly. Taking a deep breath. "So.. Should I not live here? Since you do? How.. do these things work?"

"Brian, most of my professional experience is with the family back in Chicago," Elias replies, "Now, maybe in New York, things are a little different. But you and me being on opposite sides? That's business. And I don't bring business home. I'll bring it anywhere else except home. Or the deli. When I'm in this building-" He points to the floor; this building- "You're just another guy who lives down the hall. The locks are kind of crappy, so they stick when it gets cold. Landlord sometimes forgets to buy new heating oil, so if you have time, check on the tank maybe once a month. Do not use the washer in the far right corner. It's a black hole."

"Got it." Brian says, his eyes still a little wide. Maybe they can share a beer and watch Texas Ranger some time. He pauses for a moment then nods. "Alright, I'll.. uh.. see you later, I guess."

"Sooner or later, I'd say," Elias adds, turning and walking to the stairwell again. "Let me know if you can't get the door opened. No lock in the world can stop me."

December 10th: A Conspicuously Casual Conversation
December 10th: Exit Wound
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