Truth In Eight Words


bebe_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Truth In Eight Words
Synopsis Her thoughts are worth more than a gold florin.
Date March 19, 2009

Fresh Kills Harbor

Situated at one end of the Arthur Kill, this small harbor has clearly seen days of better and more frequent use. Though it's little more than a network formed by a few creaky docks and causeways, it's still more than suitable to tie up for those who have business on the Island. Invariably, at least one of the ports is taken up by a houseboat covered in seagull shit. A thick, greenish layer of bilge scum floats on top of the water and clings to the hull of every passing vessel. Welcome to Staten Island. If you have baggage or cargo to unload, there are usually a few layabouts at the Angry Pelican, which is just a short walk away. Just be sure to ask for a clean glass and keep one hand on your wallet at all times.

Fucking cold again, but at least it isn't raining. The runoff squelches underneath Teo's boots, a sound that he copies and assigns to the feel of alcohol flip-flopping around in his stomach with the splotch of greasy dough he had for lunch.

Gabriel hadn't lied: his arm is getting better. The gradient to sickly gray is fading down the skin and the veins underneath seem to be going green again. Still weak as fuck, though. The locking mechanism on the men's room door had been rusted over, and his experimental grip and effort to turn it had ended in scrabbling failure.

He has a boat to catch, a boyfriend to explain stuff to, a Federal penitentiary to infilitrate or blow up or whatever, an absence of rolling blackouts to enjoy. He trudges toward the docks, both hands in his pockets, shoulders up, hood pulled forward over his raggedly scruffy head. Decaying garbage sweetens the smell of brine in the air and the piercing calls of seagulls wobble in and out of his hearing.

The liquid courage he drank doesn't feel like that, exactly.

It's infrequent that a whore can catch time off and so when the opportunity to spend some time outside of the Dagger presents itself in conjunction with weather that might actually qualify as decent for the season, Bebe's quick to flee and seek out the harbor in search of a perch to occupy off by herself in order to sort through all of the terribly serious thoughts that her twenty-year-old brain can come up with to mull. That… and she's hopscotching rusted bottle caps one over the other with her brain.

That's why she looks so pensive and serious when Teo just so happens to shuffle by. In fact, in the waning light of day, one might actually manage to mistake her slightly vacant stare affected with brows knit together for something somehow nefarious or ill-tempered in nature. This expression is quickly interrupted when she suddenly experiences a mild coughing fit and both bottle caps evacuate the area with expediency, flinging themselves haphazardly into the Italian's shoulder at a tactile velocity. Is someone throwing things at him??

Yes! Someone is throwing things at him! Holy shit, guys. And at first he thinks he's under attack, which is why Teo wheels around with such violence. Pale eyes skin sideways, locate the hooker with celerity that belies the dragging weight of his mood and befuddlement of alcohol. He hadn't drank that much, of course. He's trying to behave himself today. It's in his diary under 'Goals.'

Bebe. He doesn't get a gun out, but his right hand does emerge from hiding: his good hand. There's a fist. It loosens after a moment, doesn't open. He stares at her, listening to the bubbling lick and click of surf dozens of yards behind him.


Bebe takes a moment to engage in some slightly unsavory behavior by spitting out whatever it is that she just coughed up onto the ground opposite the side occupied by the irritated Italian sausage smuggler. When she lifts her head to acknowledge to salutation — accusation? — she's wearing an expression of surprise dotted by slightly slick eyes and a subdued notion of recognition written just above her demure brows.

"Hey," she echoes cautiously, an unsung inquiry kept beneath her tongue until the time is right.

Dessicated fingers grate against one another inside the close confines and concealment of Teo's pants pocket, sort of rote, morbid fascination manifesting itself in a fidget.

He watches the whore watching him, ostensibly; in actual fact, the better part of his attention is spread out along the pavement, storage buildings, the distance to the pier. Obscurely wondering if he's about to get. Like. Shot. By two hundred and fifty pound bouncers. Or at the very least, shaken until a wolf-head cane falls out. He's only smuggling Italian sausage today, though.

There is no apparent attack forthcoming for either of them. No. What comes instead, after a moment's blank consideration, is a wink-wink of copper through the air, tracing a parabola that follows the flip of Teo's thumb and gravity over to the girl's lap. "For your thoughts," he specifies, pointing at her, in case she had forgotten where she was.

Ooh! Shiny! Ack! Incoming! Never let it be said that wee Bebe's reflexes aren't in peak condition once all considerations for age and occupation have been made. She catches the coin in her lap and then, plucking the penny up between two totally typical digits, she indicates the donor with a fingers-crossed and prize possessed, announcing, "Ah, I get it." Penny for your thoughts. "Very clever."

With a flick of the wrist she sends the coin hurtling back in an inverse arc and proclaims with what pride a whore might muster when showing off her price tag to a prospective customer, "Save up. I'm worth more than that." Worth more as opposed to costs more; take a minute to mull the word choice. She's smiling sweetly and not smugly, for what it's worth

"I wasn't trying to insult you." Teo does look sorry that he might have been construed that way, though he realizes she might well just be teasing; that would have been pretty rude after all. He opens his hand, elbow fetching out a few inches sideways and back, catches the coin in the grasp of his fingers. The full depth of her meaning escapes him for like two seconds. On the third, he catches up, eyebrows jumping up before landing in an inquisitive configuration.

His other curse, he'd told Gabriel. Curiosity. Suddenly, he smiles, lopsided. "That was worth more than a penny," he offers, agreeably.

The slightly glassy-eyed gaze that Bebe bestows on Teo belies her tentative tenderness and apprehensive sensibilities; she's attempting to feign the iron-clad armor of disinterest in a man she's shared a bed with and yet hasn't actually slept with — er, well, actually she has and that's what makes him so subtly fascinating — in order to present a slightly smaller sweet spot to peg. Now if only she could muster up the effort to look away, he might actually be tricked into buying what she's selling and wander his own way.

"What're you doing here?" she wonders aloud unabashedly. Wanna lay a wager on how much she knows concerning Teo's insistent portrayal of the pricking thorn currently lodged in John Logan's ass side?

This island's going to have to be big enough for both of young Eurotrash, as a matter of business and convenience. They're both criminals, the likes of which many would like to see subject to multiple, consecutive life sentences; Staten Island is what little haven they have left here. Teo's eyes close and open again.

"'M leaving for the night," he says, clearly. It might pass for reassurance: she doesn't look like she wants him to be around, or at least like she wants to look like she doesn't want him around, which amounts to the same thing, if more complicated and confusing. He does not especially want to disturb anybody's solitary simplicity. Penny in fist, he rubs his forehead with his knuckles. "You remember what I asked you the other month?

"I have to go…" There's a vague arc of a pointing finger to go with the vague words, indicating the wrinkling gray stretch of sea, sailors, the big rust-red cargo ship dozing at the western end of the pier. Manhattan, further away. "Fix that."

Believe it or not, Bebe actually has to stop and think about that; a lot's happened over the course of the last forty days, what with being gutted by broken glass and experiencing a real, live laying on of hands while contending with intruders and infiltrators and a cranky Cockney cyclops who likes to put on airs. She's slept (with other people) since then.

When the memory of their morning after finally makes the highlight reel, Bebe lists her chin and then turns her head obediently to look in the direction of the mainland, as if she might actually be able to see who Teo's looking to tweak waiting patiently on the horizon. "I take it you figured it out, then…

"…feel like sharin'?"

With a complete stranger? Easier than most of the alternatives, Teo is aware. He winds up squinting his right eye, shuttering the sensitivity of his cornea and retina against the slow swing of the afternoon sun. His expression is too bleary to register as explicit skepticism. Compartmentalization is sometimes crucial to survival. Other times, it doesn't— really— matter.

Decompartmentalization seems proportionally inconsequential. He is quiet for a very long time. Then, "I don't think I figured it out." He shrugs with his forehead first, shoulders second, an uneasy flux of quizzicality through the whole of his frame. Glancing at a dripping spigot behind her, his mouth finds a mirthless line. "I keep coming back to why people don't. Everybody knows the fucking reasons not to, right? I guess it's a logical progression to think, we cheat when those reasons aren't enough. So—

"I'm an asshole, I guess. 'Nd that's about it." Within his pocket, Teo curls his fingers in his palm, feels dead skin slough off under the bite of withered fingernails.

Bebe gives the barest hint of an invitation to sit by scooting over fractionally on the bench and offering the subconscious suggestion that her relatively insignificant form isn't occupying the entirety of the seat and therefore Teo might feel free to play counterweight a little more literally. I mean… what are the odds of Jack's ship coming in right at this very moment and the captain disembarking just in time to witness another man putting the proximital moves on his literal little lady? As if to contemplate this possibility, Bebe slings her gaze temporarily out over the early evening waves but the river gives her nothing but empty grief. Slim, son, slim. Take a seat.

"That's a pretty cheap cop-out, don't you think?" Big brown eyes inspect the silhouette of scruff on the Italian's chin with one lid pulled down lower than the other against the glare of the setting sun.

"It's a cop-out if it's an excuse," Teo replies. The words are implicitly defensive. His tone isn't, nor the hazed crook of his grin. He drops himself on the bench a few feet over, his butt hitting the wooden planks with a solid impact of muscleweight. It kind of hurts his desiccated wrist, keeping it in his pocket and bent like so, but it's better he's sure than pulling out a partially mummified limb.

This is weird.

"What," he says. "You have a better theory?"

If the baby doll down the way has picked up on anything unusual in regards to Teodoro and his disguised limp wrist, she can't be bothered to mention it. Not yet, anyway. Instead, she shifts her weight and hangs a bent elbow on the back of the bench and crooks a knee on the wooden seat in order to face the fallacies of her… new-found friend?

"I think that if you'd really bothered to put any thought into it, you could have at least lied to me and come up with something better than that. Your shoulders aren't wide enough for you to be a martyr for your entire sex…" There you go. How about a little Christ complex? And, hey, she's inadvertently made an allusion to something Jack once told Teo, too. The Italian can't be Jesus because Jack's already got that bit covered, eh? It's only funny if it occurs to you randomly at a much later date — until then, it's just ironic inched over on this side of trite.

"Give me something else to work with."

Jack's more of an asshole than Teodoro. Who knew? The Sicilian's features crease briefly with mirth, eyes closing, a chuff of laughter exhaled underneath his breath. "Probably says nothing good about me or my intelligence, that I have no idea what you're asking for."

Whether because of the alcohol percolating through his veins or because he's crazy or some other, subterranean condition exists, Teo's shoulders fall into oblique angles of relaxation then. He looks at the street, at the trickle of people moving toward the various and sundry ferry services available there.

He'll be joining them soon. "I'm not saying I'm the sole representative of either category. I know plenty of assholes. And guys." He blinks wearily against the sharp bright of the sun.

"Says an awful lot about the level of your self-esteem, though, doesn't it?" One chipped fingernail is brought up to Bebe's lips and she begins to gnaw on the peak of her fingertip ever so gently while averting her eyes upward to watch the sea gulls circling and turning with the tides of the air not too far overhead. She's subconsciously striking a pose that oddly mimics what has long become stereotypical of someone who's supposed to be lost in thought. "You know what they say, though," she murmurs while still munching on the dregs of skin that might have once been quick or cuticle before she remembers herself and very carefully puts her hand back into the pocket of her short, black overcoat before revealing the rest of the sentence:

"…can't love anyone else until you love yourself."

Those words resonate at such a frequency that if Teo were made of more consistent material he probably would have broken into three hundred pieces and splashed gunk on her pretty little shoes.

Fortunately, 'consistency' isn't something that the Sicilian has ever been known for. Violently tempered and gentle by turns, hopelessly enamored of his own problems at one point and incapable of releasing his lock-jaw on anybody else's, the next. Bebe's shoes remain pristine — or at least, in as pristine a state as she had taken her perch with. Teo isn't smiling anymore, not even a little.

"I'm pretty sure love has nothing to do with it," he answers, dully.

Bebe can be serious, too. She's got a srs bsns face that she wears with the best of them and, given the shadow now overhanging her little brows, she's apt to put it on any minute now. "Love has everything to do with it," she declares without the reservations that someone else who'd been hung out by the neck until dead by something that once called itself love might be inclined to stumble over. She's so unabashedly sincere. It's almost sad.

Bitter amusement slants Teo's mouth somehow without harshening his expression. He'd make a very poor bodhisattva, mind you, but the Buddhist fascination with obsession with tranquility in the face of mortal evanescence and the indifferent cruelty of circumstance draws from the same sorrow that Catholicism lends itself to so easily. He looks, for a moment, serene, and that's pretty fucking sad, too.

"Before I cheated, the last person who gave me that kind of declaration just did it to get into my pants." There's no real rancor left in Teo talking about that. About Alexander. Their disasterous entanglements are overshadowed by other things, and that which remains is a husk of a sentiment; resigned. "I figure you don't have to put up with that kind of bullshit as often. Wouldn't go looking for it, if I were you."

Too late. However, those aren't the words that eventually find their way out of her mouth; she purses her lips initially before allowing them to contort into a sad little smile as she says, "Thanks for the advice." Bebe then bobs her chin in a vague gesture toward the ferry quay. "You should get going… before it gets dark." And all of the wild things crawl out of the woodwork in search of some small and personal piece of Teo they might be able to pry free from his flesh and take home for their very own. And, hey, who's to say that wee Bebe isn't one of those terrible creatures — succubus — in it for his jaded green soul and pocket soil.

"Try not to fuck anyone between here and home, hm?" she adds belatedly and with a much more obvious degree of sarcasm sung in her voice. She has a way of making the profane sound perfectly innocent in that 'fuck you, too, sugar' sort of way. Seriously. How could anyone think sweet Bebe was ever anything less than sincere? She's the most forthcoming and all-around honest whore on Staten Island. What a dubious distinction.

"That's a misnomer, ma'am," Teo replies. Despite his disagreement, however, he is getting up. Whatever small part of him that her earlier observation had managed to shatter makes no noise when he redistributes his weight across his feet, no crisp tinkle or sandy rasp of particles tumbling over and around particles. It continues to reside neatly inside him, carefully concealed and contained by layers of inscrutable personal armor and inconsistency. "There's nothing in the dark that there isn't in the day.

"Not out here.

"You take care of yourself too, all right?" He casts a hand up. His good hand. Kicks past the ridged metal pips of the discarded bottle caps, her erstwhile playthings. He starts to walk off in a lazy, lazy way that Hana would not approve of nor see fit to mention, the soles of his shoes dragging the concrete with enough careless weight to hear.

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