Welcome Mat


cat_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif

Scene Title Welcome Mat
Synopsis Plenty of room at the Hotel California.
Date February 19, 2009

Village Renaissance Building - Fourth Floor Safehouse

There had been a boat at the pier on Staten Island, which Cat used to bring the four of them back to Manhattan, and a car which was used to get most of the way here. She'd put the group in units on this, the fourth floor, and left them to sleep in their respective locations.

The units are furnished with the basics in appliances, including washers and dryers. Nothing hugely expensive, but not so cheap as to be at risk of easily or quickly breaking. The refrigerator and cabinets have food of varying sorts, and there's materials to cook with. The one Delilah was put in has two bedrooms, the entire thing seems the size fairly standard for middle income New York City apartments.

Just before eight a. m. Cat slides her keycard into the door slot and opens it, making her way inside. She expects the girl is probably still asleep, it being a fair bet in her mind that although Delilah appears just short of eighteen she wouldn't be rushing off to attend classes at any high school. She wouldn't expect scholastic acheivement to be the priority of minors who journey to Staten Island alone.

Delilah might be asleep if she had not had trouble getting to that state in the first place. She is curled up in one of the beds, pulled into a cocoon of blankets save for her face framed in a hole. If she was sleeping, that's not the case anymore; she faces the room with her eyes open under the rim of the blanket, the silence almost deafening. Teo's coat is lain across the foot of her bed, and her black dress folded beside. Though it is warm under here, when the light steps of new feet can be heard, Lilah pulls back the blanket from her red hair(sufficiently bedheaded) to peer around better. Strange place, strange people- she seemed to trust Cat only because of Teo.

The steps of those feet don't approach a bedroom, no; they go instead for the kitchen. Sounds follow them, perhaps of someone starting to cook. Smells follow soon after, what might well be sausage and eggs are under preparation, coffee too. Cat's voice follows, a rich and strong soprano in the vein of Ann Wilson, Pat Benatar, or Joan Jett. Not loud, but loud enough to be heard. It's a tune Delilah in her youth may not even recognize.

"Every time that I look in the mirror, all these lines in my face getting clearer…"

Delilah sits up blearily, the blanket being pulled down past the slip she wore underneath of her dress. Bringing the folded garment closer, she begins to pull it over her head in a haze. There is a woman out there in the kitchen, and she is singing Aerosmith. Such a thing must be investigated! Even if it means when Dee crawls out of the bed to stand, she only sits back down to pull her arms through the holes of the dress.

Eventually, she is able to wander to her bedroom door, hair smoothed down and brown eyes peeking around corners before she makes her way out. Dee only tries to be mousy here, because she hardly remembers where she is anyway. Somewhere in Manhattan again. It was a blur, sort-of.

And in the kitchen is the woman who led the group back from the Island the night before. No name was shared. Cat flips a few sausage patties in the pan over, and watches as the eggs approach being ready. "Dreeeeam on, dreeeeeam on, dream until your dreams come true." Her eyes glance briefly over at the coffeepot as it continues to fill, and then toward the kitchen doorway where her red-haired guest of name also not yet shared might appear. Cat doesn't seem to have any problems with being caught singing alone.

Rubbing at her face as she enters the kitchen doorway, Delilah first regards Cat with the usual curiosity and a covered yawn. She keeps her hand on her mouth for a few seconds after, studying the kitchen past a dreary set of eyes.

"So um." Dee is hesitant to disturb the song, if just because the brunette seems to be having an okay time with it. "…Hi. Again. G'mornin'."

The song was near its end, and finishes just some seconds later, after which Cat lets out a brief chuckle/ "Morning," she greets. "Hungry?" Her work on the food continues, that seems close to being done as well. She nods in the direction of the coffeepot. "Help yourself, Miss. There's a mug or two in the cabinet just over it."

Delilah is watched briefly. "It's not often I come across a girl taller than me." She's five feet, eight inches.

"Just a lil'bit." After taking her hand from her face, Dee takes in a deep, waking breath in through her nose, smiling over at Cat before meandering closer to the kitchen cupboards. "I never meet many girls I can look in the eyes." The redhead chuckles for a few seconds while she gets out a pair of coffee mugs, setting them down with a pair of clinks to the countertop below. "Have you got cream?"

Overall, Delilah finds this to be… a bit new- getting coffee there in a strange place with a woman she's never met more than once. It's a more intimate type of situation than say, finding drunks out in the open, or meeting people at a party.

"Over there," Cat answers, nodding toward where the cream is. "You seem to live an interesting life." The food finishes, she sets it onto two plates and holds one up for the redhead to take. "Not that any life lacks interesting qualities in Nuked York City." The heats are turned off, Cat leaves things where they are and turns to face the almost but not yet woman.

If anyone was worth being called a woman already, it might be Delilah. She's more of one than numerous other counterparts. She puts the cream and sugar into her mug just in time to accept the plate from Cat's hand. "Thanks for everything." For the food, first of all. And the place to stay. "Do I? It's not that interesting to me, I think- maybe cause it's me. I find everyone else more interesting…" She laughs again, taking her coffee and plate over to carefully set them at the table. For the moment after, she gazes back up at Cat.

"You're very welcome," Cat answers, "and yes. You're seventeen, maybe eighteen, you're bold enough to wander Staten Island alone dressed like that, you know Teo…" After handing off the plate she takes her own to the table, then goes back for coffee. If observed, she likes two spoons of sugar and enough cream to make it a mocha color. Then her eyes flick over Delilah again, drawing a quiet comment. "That's a unique tattoo, on the back of your neck."

The redhead has taken a seat there at the table, but for now only sips at the coffee in her hands. "Does it matter how old I am?" Physical age means nothing to her. She says nothing much about the dress, or knowing Teo from before. "Hm?" Brown eyes blink up again from her coffee to Cat at the mention of the 'tattoo'. "Oh. I guess so. I actually- I dunno where it came from. I was probably drinking or something." Maybe she wussed out two strokes into a real one?

"In the eyes of the law, yes," Cat answers calmly. "At eighteen you're an adult. It opens up a range of things you can legally do, except for drinking alcohol, that takes age 21. Essentially, at eighteen you're no longer legally under control of a parent or guardian, or subject to being placed in the child welfare system if you're found on your own. Unless you've got court papers saying you're an emancipated minor, of course."

She doesn't ask if any of those situations fits Delilah, they're just spoken as a legal rundown of the difference between seventeen and eighteen.

"You're a right wikipedia, aren't you." Delilah is suddenly watching Cat with the wariness she might a nonsense-mumbling person on the street. Mhmmmm. "I'm more of an adult than some people ten years my senior." So to her, she is an adult. Screw the legal system! The statement sounds decisive, so Dee does see herself as older. Maturity is relative.

A slight smile settles onto her features, and Cat replies cryptically. "I've collected some knowledge of many things here and there." A fork makes contact with one of the sausage patties, collects a portion of it, and enters her mouth to exit empty as she chews carefully. While doing so, she glances at the younger one's food as a quiet gauge of whether or not Delilah seems to be often hungry.

She is, just taking her time. Lilah only woke up not five or so minutes ago. Soon, she does put down her coffee and pick up her fork to spear some of her eggs. In a new moment of self-consciousness, her other hand does reach back to rub at the mark behind her neck. "My name's Delilah."

"Good to meet you, Delilah," Cat replies. Her eyes rest on the teen, expression ad eyes entirely calm. She opts to not yet share her own name. "We're both, I sense, women who prefer to be careful about giving out details. I won't ask if you have a place to go, or where it might be. I'll just say there's room for you here if you choose to stay, and if you want I can find a way you can make a decent enough living, in time. What you choose to share, or not, is entirely your option."

After speaking she partakes of eggs, mixing some of them with another segment of sausage patty. Her table manners suggest a possible society upbringing, training in that sort of thing.

"I'm not too guarded about myself." Dee smirks just a little. "But I try to keep a handle on my honesty." Even if it fails. "I guess I don't really give stuff away- I'm just too up-front when I do." Is that the right set of words? She's not sure about that, either. Instead of something else, she puts a bite of eggs to her mouth.

"What do you mean, a decent living? I'm from the trailer park, and I work at a diner. I think a lotta things could qualify."

"Something like forty thousand per year," Cat replies. "I from time to time have guests here, and I like my privacy. I also like their privacy. The thing would be helping to keep things here up. Make sure the units have food which doesn't quickly expire, that they're generally clean and stocked, don't ask questions, and don't draw attention to the place. Part of the deal is you having a place here on this floor."

Cat tests her coffee to see if it's cooled enough to drink from without scalding her mouth, then goes for more of the eggs and sausage.

"There's a bigger catch, isn't there? Do I have to sign in blood? Join a cult?" 40k for keeping house? That's all Delilah seems to do, and this looks too good to be true. Where does this lady get that much to spend on housekeeping?

She responds with another slight smile which spreads out. "Bigger catch? No. As I said, I like my privacy, and I like my guest's privacy. Call me eccentric. That means you don't let on you stay here, don't ask questions about the people you see come and go, and don't give out details." Cat is, essentially, seeking to secure help in managing the floor, offering what she believes is enough pay to be discreet as described, and hoping the link between Delilah and Teo is enough to justify even this level of trust.

Eccentric, eh? Delilah seems wary enough to let Cat know without a word that she doesn't know Teo extremely well. Just on a personal level. And enough to make off with his coat. Lilah is smart enough to know that maybe she's getting this because she knows him, and because this woman must trust his judgment in people to trust Delilah in turn. She is, after all, a virtual stranger.

"I must admit, it doesn't seem like such a bad offer. Even if I'm getting some heebie-jeebie vibes." There's something going on here, and she doesn't know what!

She's entirely calm as she continues to eat, and quiet in doing so. Nothing prevents her, she knows, from asking Kinson to 'persuade' Delilah to be loyal in that regard and not expose her if she chose. Not that Cat will say or let on anything about that. She's just eating and enjoying her breakfast. "It's up to you, Delilah," she states between bites with her mouth empty. "Do you accept?"

Delilah chews on her food, peering over at Cat as if she's waiting for something to happen. Nothing does. Is an accident really ever this lucky? Never for her. But to hell with it, it's here now, which leaves a smile on Dee's face all of a sudden. "Okay. I can do it."

"Excellent," Cat replies. She remains a mysterious employer, still choosing not to share her name with Delilah. The voice remains entirely calm and businesslike. "I'll soon bring you the keycard to get into the various units and your first payment, in cash. This unit is yours, if you want it, makes sense given you're already here. But you could pick another." Mentally she calculates. Forty thousand divided by fifty-two weeks… "Remember the rules. You don't ask questions, you don't tell people you work here, and don't draw attention to the place. Privacy for me and my guests is sacred."

And she finishes her breakfast, then drinks the coffee. It's Cat's intent to empty the mug, then depart, and leave Delilah to clean up.

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