The Other Sister


barbara_icon.gif jessica_icon.gif

Scene Title The Other Sister
Synopsis Barbara arrives at the Speakeasy with the intent of visiting her sister. She instead finds her sister's other sister.
Date November 30, 2010

Speakeasy Hotel and Casino

The interior of the casino has that curious, old smell. Stale beer has been absorbed into the thick red-patterned carpet and absorbed through the walls over the years. There is brass railing, permanently dulled from a hundred thousand touches and countless layers of dirt. The lighting is poor and low. The brightest illumination in the entire establishment comes from the row of new video slot and poker machines that fill up a whole corner. There's twenty or so machines in total, many with different themes and with varying costs and payout.

The Speakeasy used to be one at one time. Its jazz influences can be seen in the colour scheme and a large chandelier hanging over the old wooden billiard table. Both the table and the chandelier are decidedly art deco in appearance. The class of the place is decidedly faded around the edges. It has the feel of a place that is far past its prime, and the previous owners tried to keep the look updated, but either ran out of money or desire to. The place does not serve food, though there are bowls of peanuts on the bars and tables and vending machines that pop out chips and candy.

The drinks are cheap, but seating is limited to three tables and the stools along the bar. Clearly the establishment encourages gaming over drinking and socializing. Along the side of the bar are a bank of five TVs that usually show different sporting events when the season is high, or all the same one if there's a big game on. One monitor displays the current odds for betting on various sporting events and bets can be placed with a bookie on-duty during high times or with the bartender when things are quiet.

Twice a week, there is a poker game. The game on Tuesdays is low stake with a hundred dollar buy-in. The Sunday night game is higher stakes, with a five hundred minimum. On Saturday nights, there's two blackjack tables and a roulette table with dealers and chips.

It had been closing on nearly a month since Barbra Zimmerman had last set foot in New York City, not since the riots several weeks before had she even dared walk it's streets again, and even then it was only a temporary measure. Still, today's trip into the very much changed city wasn't without purpose. She had some errands to run, some people to see, and supplies to gather, all on behalf - or at least intended to be on behalf of - the Ferry.

But first and foremost, she had returned on account of matters relating to Family.

The first on her list had, of course, been a planned visit to see Niki, entirely on surprise. She hadn't seen ehr sister since their last excursion out to Las Vegas, meaning it had been over a month since they had last had any serious contact, and with things as they are, that's somewhat worrying. More was worrying was the lack of any response when she came knocking on Niki's door at Hamilton Heights. A phone call had cleared that up rather quick, however.

That was Barbara had come to find herself at the Speakeasy. Really, it worked out perfectly - she would need a hotel for the evening, likely, wary as she is about immediately heading back to her place for the evening. There's a bit of a chuckle as she pushes her way through the doors, the welcome warm air welcome even if it's not that cold outside today. Raising teh brim of her had and tugging the sleeves of her sweatshirt up a bit, she lets her hands slip into her jeans pockets, scanning the area for her wayward sister (Or is she the wayward sister?)

Barbara's twin (triplet?) raises a hand when she enters the Speakeasy's casino area. It's a good thing, because the cap her hair's been hidden under and large aviator glasses she's got on makes it difficult to spot her at first glance. There's a glass of tequila on the rocks in front of the woman, and one in front of the empty place at her table.

"Niki sends her regards," she mumbles when Barbara sits down, a small smile twitching her lips. "She's a mess right now. You don't really want to see her. Sorry if I wasn't completely honest on the phone, but I thought this might be a fantastic opportunity for you and I to get to know each other." Cheap tequila passes lips and tongue. It tastes awful compared to the Patron she and Niki are used to, but Jessica doesn't flinch.

It takes Barbara a moment to really see the raised hand, but once she does she wastes no time in arriving at –Niki's— Jessica's table, a smile on her face as she adjusts the bag that hangs over her shoulder. "Heya," the redheaded triplet begins as she sets the bag down in an adjacent seat and moves to take her own. "I'm sorry I haven't called, I've been rather busy wi-"

Niki sends her regards gets Barbara's mouth to just stop mid word, the Ferryman simply blinking for a moment as she just listens, and it's only at the mention of getting to know each other that Barbara really comes to understand what she means. Her back straightens a bit, a grimace on her face as she peers at the other woman. "O-Oh, I see." She seems a bit uneasy, but can she be blamed? For her this is almost like meeting another sister.

"Then, you are…" She wrinkles her nose, trying to remember what she's been told and what she's heard. "Jessica, right? Nice to meet you. I, um, admit that I wasn't exactly expecting to meet you here tonight."

"You weren't supposed to," Jessica fires back with a bit of a smirk, watching the ice cubes clink against each other in their glass before she sets it back down on the table. "I'm Niki's sister." It's spoken as if to imply she's Niki's real sister. Like she would argue their bond is thicker than the one of blood her alter ego shares with Barbara. Her eyes challenge Barbara to claim otherwise.

"She's taking a well deserved rest," Jessica explains. "She's done more than her share of the soldiering for a while." Anyone who knows Niki well knows that the amount she's taken on that would usually be Jessica's work has increased dramatically in the past few months. "That doesn't mean you and I shouldn't get to know each other. We're linked through Niki. I'm willing to… trust you, for her sake."

The claim of being Niki's sister is met with a wrinkled nose form Barbara, even if the truth of the matter is that Jessica is likely more of a sister to Niki than Barbara is and may ever be. Still, she chooses to offer no verbal retort, if be simple fact that being caught off guard by Jessica still has Barbara a little flustered. She doesn't seem displeased, rather disappointed. And nervous.

"Ah, well…" Barbara's hands drum on the table, a moment passing before Barbara's gaze recenters on Jessica. "Well, you'll have to pass on my condolances to her. However that works. I- guess she's been going through more than I knew about." She looks down and off to the side a bit, grumble to herself, "Makes me feel bad for not keeping in contact better."

Clearing her throat, she leans back in the seat and sighs. "I'm glad you're willing to give me the benefit of the doubt. I was… mostly stopping by to check on Niki. See how she was doing after the riots. I did have something rather important I wanted to show her, though."

One of Jessica's brows arches over the frame of her aviators. "She'll appreciate your concern. It's not easy for her without Micah or D.L. - that's our son and her husband." Odd how she'll claim Micah as theirs, but D.L. is all Niki's. "What've you got for her?"

Well, so much for idle conversation. THe mention of D.L. and Micah makes Barbara wince for some reason, her memory of when Niki had first told her of them resurfacing with the mention of their names. After a moment, she leans forward, and when she speaks again, she speaks quietly. "Well, it's- I'm not sure it's anything, but… consideirng what it is, and things I've learned over the alst few months, I… didn't really feel like I could keep it to myself. Even though some folks will be pissed if they find out it I'm showing it around." Really, this may not be the smartest thing she's ever done, given the position she finds herself in now, but it's something she can't sit o any longer.

"You've heard of Issac Mendez, right?"

"Yeah. The psychic painter." Jessica's brows furrow and she leans in, too. This is sensitive stuff. Anything pre-cognitive is sensitive stuff. Though how much of Mendez's work can be predictive so long after his death? "What about him?"

Barbara leans back a bit - ill timed with Jessica leaning forward, and brings her bag up on to the table. "Someone I know came into possession of some Mendez paintings," she speaks quietly, pulling a sketchpad out from inside of it. "I… don't know where he is, after the riots. Or the paintings." A half truth, at worst. "But, I managed to get a picture of one that caught my eye. I didn't bring it with me. I couldn't."

She lets a beat pass, and then she smirks. "But I did recreate it. As best as I could. I figured that might get the least suspicion if something happened." Flipping to a seemingly random page and past numerous other pieces of art, she stops when she reaches a picture of a blonde woman banging on a door.

A picture of Niki. Or Tracy. Or maybe even Barbara, her natural hairstyle restored. At any rate, it's one of them. "I wanted to show her this."

Barbara officially has Jessica's interest. Her glasses are lifted up and perched onto the bill of her hat. One eye is darkened like she took a punch. One has to wonder what Jessica did in retaliation. "Sometimes I hate this triplet thing," she mutters under her breath as she examines Barbara's artwork.

"Niki always thought she was the artist between us," the elder sister remarks absently. "She used to take my sheet music and draw lines between the notes like it would connect the dots and she'd suddenly find a hidden shape." She huffs a soft breath of laughter. "She could make a monkey of Mozart. Obviously you're the one who got the artistic talent."

Jessica sighs and shakes her head, "Not familiar to me. I'm not sure if it's Niki or I. It could be Tracy…"

Barbara tries to hide a small double take when she sees Jessica's black eye, and fails rather obviously. She chooses not to comment about hating the triplet thing - the last person she wants to start a fight with is Jessica, from what she's heard. Instead she furrows her brow, giving the other woman - she's hesitant to readily identify her as her sister, in a sense - a look.

"My- our father made sure I knew how to draw at an early age. I'm not so much sure it's… talent as necessity. I'd probably go insane if I couldn't draw. Because of my ability. I can't really process it all without an outlet, and making sense of it leaves me at a loss for words. I could probably get by without it for bit, but… it would be nerve-wracking, I imagine. Thankfully, I've never really had to deal with it."

Looking back down at the drawing, Barbara sighs. "The person who showed it to me wasn't sure, either. I'm guessing they knew you. Or of you, and Tracy." Still no names given, not in public. Not with Scott arrested and Cat missing. Vagaries are required for the moment. Here's hoping Jessica doesn't start demanding them. "I don't think it's me. I've kept my hair dyed for… a long time now. The owner said the they figured Tracy would just… you know, freeze the door down. So…"

"You should see the other guy," is a cliched response, but it's none the less murmured darkly, a hint of a smirk to Jessica's lips. If she feels the need to apologise or clarify what she meant by the triplet thing, she doesn't show it.

"Our father," Jessica's real father, "made sure we knew how to duck a flying bottle, or a clumsy punch." She snorts derisively. "Must've been nice that you got the the real old man." Jessica may not put a lot of stock in fate or destiny, or give much thought to the past for as much as she lives in the moment and has plans for the future, but even she has to wonder why Niki was placed with Hal Sanders. What did the infant child do to deserve that upbringing?

"It could be Niki or I." The drawing is slide back across the table to Barbara, figuring it best to stow it fairly quickly. "Pounding on locked doors is certainly something she and I have been known to do." Almost as an afterthought, she adds, "Thanks for showing us."

"I should've done it sooner. I've known about it for a bit now. I'm just hoping, whatever it is… it isn't anything too serious." But knowing what she saw in the other paintings, there is absolutely no way either of them are that lucky. "But the fact that it doesn't seemed to have mattered yet is kinda comforting. Maybe it won't at all."

She leans back again, crossing her arms. "Just be careful. Both you and Niki. I'd hate to think what could happen to have you two pounding on a door like that. Much less having it not splitting in two. I've seen Niki in action, and I've seen other people with… you all's ability. That door should probably break if you guys are pounding it." She closes her eyes for a moment, before adjusting her. "I'm worried, really. That was why I came by."

"On Niki's behalf, I should thank you." Jessica lets out a deep breath as she puts her sunglasses back into place. "And thank you." Presumably from her. She leans back in her seat, a thoughtful frown creasing her lips. "What's he like, Niki's father?"

Barbara beams, nodding a bit. "With how things are, it's best to be wary, that much is obvious. But… having seen that and with everything that's going on, I figure it's incentive to be extra careful." The last comment, however, makes her expression dip a bit, the redheaded sister looking a bit off to the side. "Hardworking. Determined. Caring. Trustworthy, even if he did lie to me about… so much. If I saw him again, I'd probably welcome him with open arms." She looks back at Jessica, giving a weak smile. "He sent me away almost twenty years ago. Protection from The Company. I haven't seen him since. I'm not even sure he's still alive. Our mother…" She trails off her, looking down at the table and shaking her ehad.

Jessica nods and nudges the glass of tequila in front of Barbara forward as if to say drink this, you need it. She brings her own glass back to her lips. "Blessings can be hard to count sometimes." She feels like she should follow it up with dollar bills are easier. The moment feels too honest to Jessica. This isn't her sister.

But she is Niki's family. And while protecting Niki has always come first, protecting Niki's loved ones has always been Jessica's second priority. "You be careful too, okay? Niki doesn't need someone else dying or falling off the radar on her." Which segues neatly into, "Heard anything from Niklaus lately?"

A hand reaches up and rubs Barbara's eyes, a pre-emptive strike at even the hint of any tears that may have formed, thinking back on her parents. She shakes her head again, a more shallow motion this time. "Yeah. If he hadn't sent me away… Lord, this is probably better than the alternatives, knowing what I do about The Company. And the Institute." If Barbara were an angrier woman, the world "Institute" might have been accompanied with a snarl. As it is, there's a noticeable bit of anger in the word.

"I'll be around, don't worry. I may not always be reachable. In fact, I probably won't be for a while. But I'll be around, and largely safe. I'll be sure to keep in contact." Because really, the last thing Barbara needs either is to lose someone else, much less newly found family. "And nothing. I plan on knocking on Richard Cardinal's door tomorrow morning until he answers. He still hasn't even afforded me the opportunity to speak to him, and if I didn't think better of it, I wouldn't believe he is even there."

"If there's an emergency, call Redbird Security," Jessica tells Barbara. "I'm not using Niki's cell on a regular basis, but they'll be able to get in touch with me if you're in a pinch." Whether not giving Barbara that number is something born of distrust, or just the practicality of the fewer people know, the better is debatable.

"You may want to try Liz Harrison instead of Richard," Jessica offers. "She's running the show right now, and may be more able — or willing — to give you answers. But she hasn't tried to let Niki or I know anything, so I doubt there's anything to report." Or at least there had better not be, or Jessica is going to twist some arms.

"Liz Harrison?" Barbara repeats, finally reaching forward to her glass of tequila and taking a drink - it's a welcome addition to the evening, really, even if she doesn't often have drinks. "Mmm… I don't believe I've had the pleasure of meeting her. I'll keep that in mind, then, hopefully she'll be able to let me know what he's up to. Or finally arrange a meeting. I know Richard had intended to before, but I imagine he got swept up in things. Hopefully, Ms. Harrison will be to work it out."

"That's one way of looking at it." Richard getting swept up in things, that is. Jessica drains the last of her tequila and moves to stand. "I have to get going. Your drink's taken care of. Try not to hang around too long, just in case someone thinks they've found me instead." She pats a hand on Barbara's shoulder as she passes by on her way to the door. "Take care of yourself, Barbie." Niki's nickname for her. Maybe this is a good sign.

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