To Serve In Hell


ling_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title To Serve in Hell
Synopsis Melissa recruits Ling to help with some hair issues, and they end up having some serious conversation about hell, business, and wolves.
Date July 8, 2010

Little Green House

It's evening, and things are still, for the most part, quiet. Not a whole lot of excitement goes on in the Little Green House. Well, aside from bodies in the basement. And people climbing on the roof. But aside from that, nothing. Not a thing. But now Melissa has dragged some stuff into the kitchen to give herself more room, and an old towel spotted with various colors is draped around her shoulders. A long look at it, and she moves to the stairs, calling up them. "Ling? Can ya come down here and help me with something? The guys'd be useless for this." Because, clearly, none are as fabulous as Raquelle.

It's only a moment before ling walks into view, just much more properly - formally - than she did in the morning. Not too formal, but at least closer to her tastes than what she had. Her arms cross as she stops at the top of the stairs, eyeing Melissa carefully for a moment. "And what might that be?" She asks, taking cautious steps down the stairs. Not that she had much else to do. She had simply been sitting on the futon in her room, thinking.

Melissa smiles. "You ever dyed hair before? Or helped? Or hell, seen it? Since I got my hair turned back blonde," not bleached, not dyed, but turned, "I haven't bothered putting in the streaks. Wanna do a rainbow sorta effect, but it's hard to get the streaks just right by myself. Especially when I'm going with different colors. It's pretty simple," she says, giving a hopeful smile. "I'll share brownies. And make pina coladas," she adds, trying to sweeten the deal.

Ling quirks an eyebrow at the odd request, stepping slowly down the stairs. "Once or twice. It's a less than enjoyable experience."A finger points out at Melissa. "It's messy, and problematic." She stops just short of the bottom of the stairs, eyes narrowed. "I'll help you, but I'm not doing it myself."

Melissa grins and nods. "It is, yes. And you won't be doing it yourself, I'll be doing some of it. And some of the best things out there are messy and problematic. Want another shirt, just in case, so that one doesn't end up polka dotted? And I'll get the drinks made real quick. Found some really good pineapple rum that makes them oh so delicious."

"I meant," Ling says, tapping her foot, "That I won't be dying my own hair." With that, she turns, trudging back up the stairs. There's a bit of a grumble, but largely she's compliant. It's only a few minutes before she returns back down, once again dressed in the somewhat crappy clothes (to her) she'd been wearing since yesterday.

"Honestly, with hair like yours, I don't know why you'd wanna dye it anyway," Melissa says when Ling comes back downstairs. "Okay, maybe some dark red or blue streaks, but the pure ink black works," she says, offering a freshly poured glass of pina colada, then moves towards the table. "So what I'm thinking…not quite a rainbow, since I don't want green and yellow would sorta be redundant. So…can you see me with dark red, blue, black and purple?" she asks, glancing back to the other woman.

Ling takes the glass with only a little bit of caution, a sip before setting it back down. "I will need to get you some asian spirits, if I'm staying here. Nothing against this," she says with a motion to the pina colada. "It's quite good. But nothing matches the subtley and strength of asian alcohol. Or some Lychee wine, if you'd prefer something sweeter." It's spoken very matter of factly, Ling's arms at her side as she speaks. "A very dark rainbow," Ling comments on the colour choice.

There's a laugh and a nod. "Gimme the names of the alcohol, brand and type, and I'll see what I can do. We can have an asian alcohol tasting party," Melissa says with a warm grin. "And yeah, I guess it is a dark rainbow. But then, most of my clothes are black, so dark is sorta my thing," she says, plopping down in a chair, and sipping at her pina colada.

An amused chuckle follows. "Now, that sounds like a good way to spend an evening," Ling comments. Reminded her of business parties, almost, and other gatherings she used to go to. "It's been a long, long time since I've done anything like this. Remind me what to do."

Melissa laughs and nods. "Yeah, I can think of worse ways to spend a night. We'll add a movie or two to it, and it'll be nearly perfect." She grabs some of the stuff and starts mixing up dye as she explains to Ling how to mix and apply the various colors to her hair. "I'm wanting two streaks of each color, with a bit of blonde between each."

Ling wrinkles her nose at the mention of movies. "I don't watch very many movies. They bore me. Their either vapid, empty feats of testosterone, and mindless, unrealistically happy stories of needlessness." This seems to be her blanket description of most movies, despite the numerous varieties out there. Ling's arms cross again, watching the dye mixing. "Will this take long?"

That opinion has Melissa gaping at Ling, totally shocked. "Oh honey! You've been watching the wrong movies! I'll introduce you to Mel Brooks or Princess Bride, something funny, and you'll change your mind forever!" She glances down at the dye mixture and shrugs. "Not really. Putting the color on doesn't take long, then I can do the rest. It's just waiting then washing it out."

"I've seen some… Mel Brooks. I had a co-worker at Rapture who swore by him. I was unimpressed." Once again delivered very factually, Ling rolls her eyes. "Which colour do you want where?" She's eyeing Melissa's head, as if evaluating placement and options, analysing.

"Stop, you're gonna make me cry," Melissa says, looking almost pained, but there's a sparkle of humor in her eyes. "And let's see…Red here and here, purple here, black here, and blue here," she says, pointing out the areas for each, then giving Ling a questioning look. Another girl's opinion never hurts. Even if it's one as uptight as Ling.

Melissa's reaction elicits another roll of Ling's eyes and a disapproving shake of her head. She mutters something quiet to herself in Chinese. When Melissa looks up her, that look indicates a question of opinion, and this makes Ling give her a disbelieving look. "You're seriously asking me? The men must really be useless." Thinking a moment on Melissa's indications, she nods. "It should be fine. It will match your wardrobe at least."

The Chinese muttering has Melissa laughing again. "Since you're staying here…think you could teach me some Chinese? I've always wanted to learn a second language," she says, grinning. "And the men can be useless, yeah, but I want a girl's opinion. Only girls and gay guys are any good at this sorta thing. Besides, I think we could be friends, and friends ask their friends' opinions." Which seems to settle that in her mind, since she hands a bowl of dye and a brush out to Ling.

"Mmm. Perhaps that would be a good use of time while I'm here. But I'm no teacher, Melissa." Ling takes the brush and bowl, eyeing the two for a moment. The idea of being friends with Melissa is equally foreign to her. She has associates. That's it. "I could certainly try."

"Well, I've heard that a lot of times it's easier to learn a language when you hear it spoken, yeah? Or even just a few words here and there, slipped into conversation so you pick things up a bit at a time?" Melissa suggests, shrugging and taking her own bowl to start mixing the next color.

"I don't know any particular way of teaching, much less a language. So, that's as much of a start as anything else." Ling glances down again at the bowl and brush, eyeing Melissa's hair. "Shall I start, or do you want to finish mixing?"

"Go for it. I should be done with this by the time you're ready for the next color," Melissa says, sitting as still as she can while stirring. "And everything needs a good starting point. Like…here, we can start simple. What's hello?"

«Hello» Ling states simply, beginning the process of dying Melissa's hair. "That one is simple enough, «Hello»." Ling nods slowly. "Is there any particular reason you want such a … colourful hairstyle? I don't imagine one can get away with that at work." Not any respectable work.

Melissa laughs. "I'll blend in just fine at work. Well, one of my jobs. I run a goth club. I also work at the Suresh Center, but even there I'm just a volunteer so it's not a huge deal. As for why…well, I like looking different, I like change, and I think it'll help cheer me up." A pause, then she slowly repeats the Chinese a few times until it feels more natural rolling off her tongue. "That one isn't so hard," she says with a pleased smile.

There's an audible groan from Ling at the mention of a club. A goth club at that. What a waste of time. "I was a waitress at a club for a while. Not by choice, mind you. Horrible experience," she says rather frankly. A moment of silence, and then she speaks again, in Chinese. "«Home»."

The new word is repeated much like the first one was, until it's comfortable and she's not stumbling over it. "What's that one mean?" Melissa asks. "And yeah, can't imagine being a waitress would be. I know I don't wanna be one. Which is why I manage the place." A pause, then she snickers softly. "Better to rule in hell than serve in heaven," she murmurs with a grin.

"Home," Ling replies, thinking nothing special of it. She'd had an instinct to lie about it, for some reason. But what was the point in that, in this situation? "Manager. At least a position of some power. In that, you have some of my respect."

Melissa laughs and she shrugs a little. "Only the owner can overrule me, and he's usually too busy to bother. The employees got a problem, they come to me. I do the hiring and firing, the running of the whole damn place. And I enjoy it. I get to boss people around, or I can stay once work is done and drink and dance. Made some friends there, too. And the grand opening was a blast. I auctioned off people for dates."

Ling quirks an eyebrow. "Auctioned off people? How… archaic." She'd shrug, or make a motion with her hands, but they're fairly occupied at the moment. "It almost sounds like you might as well be the owner," Ling intones, a devious smile creeping up on her face.

Melissa laughs. "Well, sort of. But I only auctioned off volunteers, and just for one night, one date. It was a lot of fun for everyone involved, and the proceeds went to charity." She grins, shifting the bowl aside, and grabbing the third to mix up the purple. "And yeah, I guess, but the owner makes more money than me!"

After a moment, it seems time for a thing of dye, and so the appropriate switch is made, Ling turning around Melissa as needed. "To charity? What a waste," Ling says quietly, but audibly. "That, dear, is my point," she replies to Melissa's observation. A pause, and Ling shakes her head. "I am amazed there are people willing to sell themselves out for dates. I believe there's laws against that." It's spoken very dryly, as close to a joke as Ling gets.

There's a soft snickering. "Hey, what people do on nice, casual dates is their business. If they got freaky, I don't know about it," Melissa says, sounding highly amused. "And I was kind of surprised too. I mean, I might've gone up there if a few things were different, and I had a few people surprise me by agreeing. Bu tall in all, it was a good night. Maybe I'll start doing the auctions like once a month or something. Who knows."

"If you have something that's a successful venture, use it to your advantage. If this… date auction really bring in people and money, leverage that." This, finally, is something Ling can talk about with either feeling like it's a waste of time, or that she's largely indifferent. "Make these events common enough that it's a signature event, but not often enough that you dry up your pool of volunteers."

Melissa mulls that over for a moment before she grins. "That's it exactly. Hell's very own auction. That could work. Since it was done opening night, a lot of people already associate it with the club and vice versa. Ling, you're a genius. If I was into girls, I'd kiss you." But instead she just starts mixing the last color.

Once more, Ling scoffs and shakes her head. "It seemed pretty obvious to me," Ling remarks, seemingly unwilling to let a compliment just be. "This is exactly what I have spent a large part of my adult life doing, Melissa. Matters of business and marketing, meetings and conferences." She falls silent for a moment, still tending to Melissa's hair, thinking as she works with the brush.

Melissa grins, and if her hair weren't being tended, would no doubt look back at Ling. "Want a job?" she asks, probably joking. Probably. "And it may be what you've spent your life doing, but it's not what I've spent my time doing. I'm great with bossing people around, and I know what people look for in a club, but I'm still fairly new to the actual business aspect of it all."

If Melissa could see Ling, she'd see that she looks genuinely surprised - and a little confused. "I somehow doubt that the work your club would need is exactly what I am used to, Melissa. Technically, I am… already employed, in a manner. It's been some time since I did any actual work. If you ever do need business help, I might be willing to…" Her face contorts into a sneer. She hates the word she's about to say. "To consult."

The sneer in those last two words has Melissa's brows arching. "Do you not like consulting, Ling? 'Cause I do my best not to make or convince people to do things they don't want. Big on choices and all that. And don't get me wrong, the club isn't doing bad right now, but better is always…well…better, yanno?"

"Business consulting is a long fall from what I wish to be doing," Ling replies. In China, and even when I worked here, I worked on the upper floors, with high powered executives and marketing gurus." Her eyes narrow. "I don't know why I'm telling you this. But I haven't had those opportunities in years."

There's a small shrug from Melissa. "Maybe you just feel the need to talk to someone about yourself, your life, and I'm willing to listen. No man is an island, or however that quote goes. But you wanna be one of those high powered execs, huh? Hmm…Sure we can find you a place here, if you want to stay in New York, that'd jump at the chance to take someone with experience."

"You would think that, wouldn't you?" Ling replies, with a distinctly bitter tone. "I ended up at Rapture because no place would take me. Not after the last company I worked for went under after the bomb."

Melissa looks confused. "Why would that affect you though? A lot of places went under here after the bomb, didn't they? I mean, it would make sense. The city was devastated and a large chunk of it just fucking destroyed."

"It… is hard for me to explain," Ling admits, wrinkling her nose at Melissa. "Perhaps being involved in a business that went under so quickly puts black marks on resumes. I am not entirely sure. I just know finding a similar job since has proved fruitless."

Melissa wrinkles her nose and gives a faint nod. "People can be stupid sometimes. But we'll find ya something. There's always something out there, just sometimes it's hidden at first."

Ling is silent for several moments, brow furrowed, gaze slowly moving down the Melissa. "Why are you so intent on helping me, Melissa?"

The question has Melissa going quiet for a moment. "I guess it's just what I do," she finally answers with a small movement of her shoulder. "Something I've been doing for a while. And you…you've had it rough. Beyond just the last however long since the whole deal with the men in white. But beneath that and this…shield…you've got up against the world to protect yourself, I really do think we could be friends. I don't have that many friends really, and I wouldn't mind another one."

"Hmph." That's it, at first. Ling gives no scathing comment, no cynical reply, no comment of confirmation. Just… "hmph". Silence reigns for a few minutes, and then a long, drawn out sigh. "Friends do not exist where I come from. There are associates, co-workers, and the unsavoury types in lower positions. Work to better yourself, everyone else be dammed. Be a wolf in a pack of dogs."

"Oh, I do, trust me, but the two aren't mutually exclusive," Melissa says with a faint smile. "Wolves are pack animals, after all. They hunt together, live together, find comfort in big puppy piles. And sometimes I like to go over to a friend's place and eat ice cream and watch movies. Or invite people over to just hang out, listen to music and get drunk. We all need a release valve, and I guess for me, friends are mine."

A grin forms on Ling's face, her head tilting, considering this idea for a moment, one so blatantly foreign to her. "I suppose we will see."

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