Tangled Heartstrings


elisabeth_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title Tangled Heartstrings
Synopsis That double date brought up a bit of concern for their friend.
Date September 26, 2020

Raytech Apartments, Richard and Elisabeth's Place

“I don’t like him,” says Richard as they get home, shaking his head as he walks into their shared suite and bringing both hands up to undo his tie, “He’s possessive, jealous, and smug about things he has no real understanding of. He’s not the innocent travel agent he’s pretending to be, but he thinks everyone believes it.”

He’s scowling in a way he (mercifully) kept himself from doing during the date itself.

She was quiet on the ride home, her hand resting casually on his thigh the whole way back as she rested her head against the headrest. But now, in the privacy of their home, she allows her own unease to creep through. "Well…" She tries to be diplomatic here. "I have to admit that the whole bending the truth to sell a story roused my instincts," Elisabeth admits. "But maybe tell me what besides the testosterone poisoning that bothered you?"

As she steps out of her high heels, she pulls the hairpins from her hair to let it loose. Those strappy black sandals are to die for, but they're killer on the feet. "I'm concerned from the other side of it — she likes him because he's not involved in the crazy that is our lives. The probability that she will get drawn back into the crazy is pretty high, so if she stays with him, he's likely going to get involved too. Which… not sure how I feel about that." Elisabeth would have liked to have given Richard more time to interrogate the man but Dessa had been determined not to leave the guys alone.

“That club’s a d’Sarthe property,” is Richard’s admission, head shaking as he finishes undoing his tie and shrugs out of his suit jacket, dropping both on the back of the couch casually. He tends to just throw clothes around like that. “And the ‘travel agency’ that he works for? Also a d’Sarthe property. And when I mentioned Gideon he just got all oh-so-innocent about things, I just…”

He grimaces, “The guy just rings all the ‘career criminal’ bells for me. I mean, I’m not one to judge, but…”

The soft snicker from his wife holds a wealth of amusement. She pads on bare feet over to him to slip her arms around his neck. "Love? I mean, for a really long time, you rang all the career criminal bells, including running security for a d'Sarthe thing a time or two." But Elisabeth's blue eyes on him are curious. "Do you not like him because his criminal involvement could seep over onto her or because he's not good enough for her?"

“There are criminals, and there are criminals…” A sigh as he leans in closer, Richard’s arms sliding around her waist, “…and I’m worried about her backsliding. You know how she is. She’s… easily led into shady bullshit if she doesn’t have someone keeping her on the straight and narrow. I don’t want her to end up back in jail.”

He tips his forehead against hers, eyes closing, “Also, I want to punch him in the face. Not because of Des, but just because he has a very punchable face.”

Laughing softly at him, Elisabeth acknowledges, "I suppose he does have a punchable face. Although Dessa would have been horrified." Nibbling the edge of her lower lip, she adds quietly, "I have some concerns on that front myself. When I mentioned Silas's theater venture, she kind of gave me a subtle signal to not continue on that train of thought."

Resting there with her face turned upward and his forehead to hers, she admits, "Silas's doppelganger" the one who stabbed Silas "worked for d'Sarthe, if I remember right. It's a recipe for disaster that she's out on Staten at all." A grimace accompanies her words, worry for the other woman obvious.

“Did she?” Richard hesitates, “I’ll… mention the d’Sarthe connection to her in passing. The club, first, so it doesn’t look like I’m attacking her boyfriend. See what she says.”

Poor man. Her hand strokes the back of his neck as she chuckles. "Richard… no matter what you say it will sound like that. How about you let me corner her a little on it? It won't look even a little bit strange after the wave-off."

“Okay. Go for it. It might look more natural from you, too, since you’re LEO…” Richard looks down at her, then, and he grimaces; a hand coming up to stroke along her hair, cradling her head in against him as he breathes out a sigh. “I’m sorry, I just… you know me, I’m always worried about the worst.”

"And they used to call me Chicken Little," Elisabeth retorts with a soft sigh. The sound of his heartbeat against her ear is reassuring in its own right, and as she plays idly with the soft hair at his nape, she murmurs, "I have to admit, something about him felt oily. Snake oil." She deals with enough of it — lived with one of the best ones out there, thanks so much, K-Mart — that it's not like she could miss it. "The double-speak was pretty telling. I hope she knows what she's doing. I don't want to have to take on d'Sarthe and have her get caught in the crossfire."

“d’Sarthe never used to be interested in expanding his reach,” Richard murmurs, his fingers caressing her hair, keeping her cradled in close, his own eyes closing, “I suppose the war changed plans for a lot of people, though. I’m sure that his operation took a lot of damage… and yeah. Same, love. Same. I just don’t want her to get hurt.”

"In that flash I saw coming home… He had enough power that Donovan was worried about what he'd do in retaliation for that Liz's interference in his business." There's a small shrug of her shoulders and Elisabeth adds, "At least that's what it sounded like to me. But, you know, maybe in that world he was the good guy?"

Yeah, sure. That's feasible!

Pulling in a long breath, she does lift her head from his chest to look up again. "You should maybe think about your stance on him and that whole situation." Her smile quirks upward just slightly. "I thought you'd be the one who would bring trouble home. I didn't really count on it being me."

“Don’t be silly.” Richard leans down to steal a soft kiss from her lips, a smile crooking to his lips, “I’m hoping we don’t need to deal with d’Sarthe at all, I mean— we have bigger problems to deal with. There’ll always be organized crime. I’d prefer it to be the sort that cleans up after itself, at least.”

The smile fades, “Of course, if he has come after our friends— well. We’ll deal with that bridge when we come to it.”

She gives him a look through her lashes — Aurora is good at it too. The one that weighs whether he's leaving something out of that thought. The soft kiss is returned with a nuzzle of her nose to his cheek and then Elisabeth smiles faintly. "Okay. I shouldn't necessarily be dealing with organized crime much anyway, so… hopefully it's just something to make sure Dessa is steering clear of. Do you think he's just low-level management, or do you think he's a bigger problem?"

“I don’t think he’s a mover and a shaker. If he was, he’d have known that I wasn’t just some… nosy executive,” Richard breathes out a chuckle, “I gave him plenty of hints but he wasn’t picking them up. I think he thought I was just jealous of him, or something…”

A little shake of his head, “Maybe just talk to her, say you noticed the club on a list of d’Sarthe properties at work… probably not necessary to mention that he works for Gideon too.”

“Ugh,” he wrinkles his nose, “I could just go ask him what he’s got planned for New York, but…”

Elisabeth nods. "It's an easy segue anyway — 'Dessa, what the hell was the wave-off all about? And why did you look like you were scared to death that someone was going to say something wrong?'" She rolls her eyes, laughing. "Part of it was, she really wanted you to like him." Her hands slide down from around his neck and she toys with his collar. "I think your opinion is far more important to her than you realize." When she looks up, there's no jealousy… there is simply worry. "I'm selfish as hell to hope that he's not what you think and she'll be happy. Not because of her feelings for you or yours for her but because… I hate the thought that she'll resent us even though she drew the lines."

“I hope so too,” Richard admits softly, “I hope I’m wrong.” He’s usually not, though, which is why there’s worry there. “I just want her to be happy, is all. She deserves it, after everything.”

His gaze hardens a little, “And if he hurts her…”

"Aww… well, that's a given, lover," Elisabeth teases. There is a much darker side to his wife than there used to be. She doesn't act on it, but she definitely often thinks about the nuclear option before she settles down to think about the more mundane, acceptable ones. Her smile holds that edge of wicked.

"Now…" She slides her fingers on his shirt. "You never did tell me what you thought of the dress…"

At the oh-so-smooth change of subject, Richard breathes out a low chuckle. “Well, you look amazing in it,” he observes, hands sliding to rest lightly on her hips, “Although I suspect you might look just as amazing without it, too…”

A playful glint in his eyes as he leans in a little, “Maybe we can test that theory?”

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